PlanGreen Principal, Mary Vogel, has over 20 years experience in bringing sustainability and resiliency concepts into urban planning and design. She has long worked as an advocate for environmental Justice. Today, she focuses on integrating her planning efforts into CLIMATE JUSTICE–as what the term means evolves with communities of color.
Mary works with a variety of groups to help make Portland’s downtown where she lives more resilient, climate smart and livable. She also works with city and statewide groups to help achieve the various aspects of climate justice: housing justice, transportation justice, green infrastructure and disaster preparedness.
Mary helped found a regional chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism in the Pacific Northwest (OR, WA & BC). as well as Portland, OR Small Developer Alliance. At the national level, she has been involved in CNU’s Rainwater in Context Initiative and its Transportation Task Force helping to develop a context sensitive manual for transportation engineers in partnership with the Institute for Transportation Engineers. As a member of the Correspondence Committee for LEED ND (Neighborhood Development), Mary helped to develop that rating system. Most recently, she has been involved in two additional CNU initiatives: Missing Middle Housing and Small Scale Developers and Builders.
PlanGreen’s recent successes include:
- Working pro bono for almost 5 years to help Portland pass what Sightline Institute calls “the best low-density zoning reform in US history”: The Residential Infill Project
- Helping pass Central City in Motion and the green roof requirement in Portland’s Central City Plan
- Bringing multiple resiliency and climate justice measures into the update of Portland Comprehensive Plan and Climate Action Plan
- Helping Clark County, WA to take a comprehensive sustainable development approach in its Hwy 99 Sub-Area Plan
- Helping Stormwater Partners and Montgomery County, MD’s Council to craft the first code in the nation to combine a “Complete and Green Streets” approach to future roads and major reconstruction
- Initiating and stewarding passage of the the DC Green Building Act of 2006 that helped Washington, DC become the first major city to mandate green building for the private sector
- Developing high performance infrastructure guidance for the New Urbanist Smart Code
- Portland Downtown Neighborhood Association – Land Use & Transportation Committee.
When appropriate she teams with other firms and organizations to meet the needs of her customers.
Additional Community Involvement:
- Write insightful articles, testimonies and opeds on systemic changes re: housing affordability and share them with policymakers
- Work to claim a place for the African American community in Portland through developing relationships with Black developers and entrepreneurs forming The SOUL District
- Co-administer Portland, OR Small Developers Alliance Facebook page–stimulating discussion via posting news articles related to small developers
- Follow public policy related to pedestrians, write testimony and sit on advisory committees on behalf of Oregon Walks
- Search out local non-accredited investor opportunities that most closely promote sustainability/resiliency/climate justice
- Administered Portland Urban Planning and Architecture Book Club. Now brings similar books to the two book clubs she participates in.
Mary lives in downtown Portland where she walks or bikes nearly everywhere she goes. On weekends she would like to carpool to the mountains to hike or cross-country ski. She has also been active in Native Plant Societies and Mycological Societies on both the East and West Coasts and has an in-depth knowledge of native plants and their habitats. In addition, she leads field trips to educate participants about the services provided by nature for free
In working with Mary as an intern during a very difficult period for planning consulting firms, I witnessed her enduring commitment to a sustainable future. Her strategy was to work for the people and the issues that would lead to the policies that would put her skills—and those of her colleagues—in demand for many years ahead. I learned a great deal about how to shape good public policy—and to take a stand for the world I want to live in in the future.
Former Intern from Smith College