Jessie Gittemeier ’22 is New Youth Commissioner for Portland Planning & Sustainability Commission
Law student Jessie Gittemeier ’22 was appointed in January to serve a two-year term as Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission’s (PSC) Youth Commissioner. As the Youth Commissioner, Gittemeier will help draft recommendations to share with the Portland City Council regarding the city’s long-range goals and plans on land use and planning policies, as well as ensure sustainability practices are integrated into these policies.
PSC is an 11-member commission charged with the stewardship, development, and maintenance of Portland’s Comprehensive Plan, Climate Action Plan, and Zoning Code. The Commission receives briefings on projects and policy proposals from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) and acts as the intermediary advisory committee between BPS and City Council. “The PSC has the chance to look at the policy proposals and projects from a broad overview to confirm they are in line with our state-wide planning goals and our city’s sustainability agenda and make recommendations for improvements.” Gittemeier said.
“We are excited to welcome these new commissioners, who bring diverse work and lived experiences to the Planning and Sustainability Commission,” said BPS Director, Andrea Durbin in a press release. “They join a key body advising the bureau and the City on making the future of Portland healthy, equitable, affordable, vibrant and carbon-free.”
“I’m excited to be able to meaningfully contribute to projects and policies that will have a significant impact on the sustainability and community of our city,” Gittemeier said. “One project I’ve already had the chance to work on is the Shelter to Housing Continuum Project which reviewed the zoning code and made changes to remove barriers for shelters and affordable housing.”
Gittemeier is originally from Kansas City, Kansas and graduated from Kansas State University in 2018 before moving to Portland to attend Lewis & Clark Law School in 2019. “I came to law school to learn more about our legal system and how it operates so that I could better advance changes to our legal and governing system that produce more sustainable and equitable outcomes,” Gittemeier said.
During her gap year between undergrad and law school, Gittemeier interned for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy and for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry in Washington, D.C. “I’ve had the chance to intern with some amazing organizations, but the PSC is one of the first roles I’ve had where I feel like I can actually begin to make those changes,” Gittemeier stated.
“Some upcoming projects with the PSC that I’m excited to work on include the Spatial Justice Zoning Project to address Portland’s racist zoning history and the incorporation of low-carbon concrete as a unique way to reduce carbon emissions in city projects,” Gittemeier said.