Detroit leaders to meet with Portland officials and share urban change-making ideas

DETROIT - May 5, 2014 - PRLog -- DETROIT– A group of leadership professionals who are guiding Detroit’s revitalization through community and economic development efforts during bankruptcy will visit Portland, Oregon to forge a connection between the leadership and talent driving urban change in both cities.

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows will meet with leaders engaged in Portland’s city governance, transit-oriented development, affordable housing and regionalism in a series of panels moderated by professors at the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. The trip, which will run from May 6-10, will create a platform to discuss the shared experiences and differences in two cities with starkly contrasting national perceptions. It will be a unique opportunity for Detroit and Portland’s community and economic development leaders to learn from each other.

“I’m excited to speak about issues that we always talk about in our jobs but less often across bureaus,” commented Joe Zehnder, Portland’s chief planner at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. “I’m excited to hear and learn about the different perspectives out there.”

The Detroit fellows will share their work on critical community and economic development initiatives, including Motor City Mapping, a fast-tracked citywide survey of 380,000 vacant properties that has become a key tool in the fight to eliminate the city’s blight.

“Our fellows are driven, accomplished early-to-mid-career professionals on their way to leading Detroit,” said Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program Director Graig Donnelly. “They are the talented doers that make things happen, that make sense out of chaos, and who build consensus and collaboration across agencies to move our city forward. At this crucial juncture in our history, we are excited to learn and share with the talent doing similar work in places like Portland."

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program prepares talented mid-career professionals to lead Detroiters into a more collaborative and prosperous shared future. During their two years of full-time employment at organizations committed to the city’s transformation, each cohort is nurtured through professional development that includes executive-style leadership education, professional coaching and mentoring, and essential ‘Detroit Dialogues’ with other business and community leaders. Together, these emerging leaders are building a network that will connect the city’s boardrooms and street corners, while pushing essential community and economic development efforts forward.

Launched in 2011, the program has been made possible through the support of the Kresge Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Hudson-Webber Foundation, the Skillman Foundation, the DTE Energy Foundation, the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, the PricewaterhouseCoopers Charitable Foundation, Rock Ventures, and Wayne State University.

Graig Donnelly

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