County Visions

County Visions graphic, by JM

When I was on the Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee, we did a couple cool things - one was a Tri-County Citizen Involvement conference. (The George Muir Citizen Participation Conference.)

The other was a County Visions, The 1990’s & Beyond report. The report included survey data from a questionnaire, etc. It was a group writing project. There were five Visions:

The Visions report also identified Ten Strategic Issues (Two for each of the above). The format of each section was:

A fable is a story of how things could be in the future. So, with that background, here is the fable that I primarily wrote for Livable Environment.


It's early Friday morning, and Mom & Mary take a neighborhood shuttle to their community center. Mom drops a package to be mailed at the postal window while Mary greets a classmate who just arrived on a different shuttle. A small train silently arrives at the platform and empties. Mom gets on the train and it reverses, heading toward the town center, where she will take a slightly larger, faster train into the city. Mary and her friend head for the high school three blocks away.

Later in the morning, Jackson grabs a bundle he prepared the night before and tells his father ready to go! They know that the neighborhood shuttle passes by their house every 15 minutes, so they walk out to meet it. Other grade schoolers are already on board, but only a few parents. Since the shuttle driver lives in the neighborhood, everyone knows the kids are in good hands. Father & Jackson arrive at the community center, Jackson dashes into the grade school to deposit his treasure of aluminum, tin, and plastic. (Even though curbside pickup has been working well for years, children are educated by the flow and variety of recyclable materials that passes through the school). Dad takes a bus to an adjacent community where he is a contractor specializing in creating diverse housing for seniors and persons with disabilities.

Today Jackson is going on a field trip. His teacher's aide moves the class to the transit platform to board an outbound train. The children watch as containers are loaded onto the car behind them. They know that the mail is carried by the same trains that they ride, a fact learned on an earlier field trip to the regional postal center. The train heads west and soon passes through the wonderful greenbelt that was completed the year Jackson was born. They arrive in a familiar rural community and are met by a shuttle that takes them to a dairy farm, where they see the morning's milk being bottled and other dairy products being made. On the return train trip, the children view a video on the progress of the animal rights movement and then share stories about their own companion animals.

Jackson stays at the school until mom or dad stops by the community center. The weekend is coming and the family is excited about a two day bike trip they have prepared. The animal sitter stops by and joins the family talking to their neighbor who will watch their house. After excited goodbye's, the family rides off to the community center, this time to be transported to the forest. Mom & Dad comment how good life is where they live.

About the Project

I should put something here on the genesis of the project. At some point, I got the idea to pattern it after the booklet A Green City Program for San Francisco Bay Area Cities &Towns, done at this same time. See Green City Program in IDEAS.

The rest of the report probably only still exists as the many newsprint magazine we produced, and on a Macintosh floppy disk. This was before PDF's were invented. The CIC lives on however.

Office of Community Involvement

Community Involvement Committee (CIC)

About the Graphic

This graphic is based on the cover of a Portland phone book at the time (late 80's). The cover had a photo of MT Hood as seen from Portland. Everyone in the area recognizes this profile of Mt Hood. Using MacDraw, I was able to draw lines over the profile. I noticed the trees on the horizon in front of Hood formed yet another jagged trend line, so I borrowed green from the trees. I added the flatter horizontal lines and used of from the Willamette River for that trend. The shorter gray trend line follows the snowline on Hood.

I poked around in some Mac font for the icons to make the bar charts with infrastructure type things on the left, and living things on the right. I didn't think to include bicycles!

The square grid sky represents the Economic environment.

The graphic was used on the back cover of the report, and a smaller version in B&W at the start of each chapter. There was also a 8 page (?) tabloid summary produced with this snappy graphic on the cover.