Better Block PSU: a Partnership Program

Better Block PSU is a partnership program between the volunteer-led group Better Block PDX and Portland State University (PSU) - encouraging everyone to imagine what spaces could be when they are designed for people. These projects promote equitable placemaking, community building, and active transportation advocacy. The Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at PSU has adopted this program under our umbrella of transportation initiatives, and it is integrated into PSU planning and engineering classes.

Call for Technical Advisor volunteers: We're currently seeking three transportation professionals to serve as Better Block project volunteers. Although classes begin April 1, 2021, we're still accepting inquiries on a rolling basis. Learn more about volunteering for Better Block PSU here. The three projects include:

  1. City of Independence Neighborhood Greenways: This project will help create a low-stress biking and walking network through Independence connecting local schools, businesses, and parks.
  2. Community Green Space for Parkrose: This project plans to create a pathway from the Parkrose neighborhood to the Columbia Slough to increase access to green space and community knowledge of the Slough.
  3. Arleta Triangle Sliplane: This project will transform a dangerous slipway into community space including a skate park, basketball court, and electric mobility hub, which have been identified as needs from the community.

Learn more about the program: Although the 2021 RFP is now closed, you can read more about the program and access the Better Block Guide to Pop-Up Projects here. Stay tuned for an announcement of the accepted projects!

Want to be notified of future RFPs? Add your email address to this once yearly list.

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What is Better Block PSU?

Through the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University, this program connects planning and engineering student expertise with community advocates. This exchange of knowledge is also an opportunity for students to tackle a real transportation and/or placemaking challenge in the local community. The Pathway program provides a practicum experience for PSU students, increases capacity for community organizations, and has been successful at influencing policy and leading to permanent changes in Portland’s streetscape — most notably the Better Naito project. A total of fifteen projects have been shepherded through the Pathway since 2015, including four that will be built in the first phase of the City of Portland’s Central City in Motion plan that kicked off in Summer 2019.

Who is Better Block PDX?

Better Block PDX is a volunteer-led effort encouraging everyone to imagine what spaces could be when they are designed for people. We partner with community organizations, Portland State University, Portland Bureau of Transportation, and you to create inviting and interactive places through tactical urbanism “pop-up” projects. "Most close watchers of the Portland transportation world have heard of Better Block PDX," BikePortland's Jonathan Maus wrote in February 28, 2019. Better Block PDX won the "Spirit of Portland" award in 2017.