Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability director Susan Anderson is planning to leave her post in six months' time.
Anderson has been bureau director of Planning and Sustainability for nine years, but during her three decades with the city, she has also served as director of two other city bureaus—the Energy Office and Office of Sustainability Development.
Her work has helped keep Portland on the map for city planning, as well as for efforts to counteract and prepare for climate change.
Anderson is one of nine top city leaders to announce their departures in the last 14 months. But unlike some of the others others, she will be sticking around to help ease the transition. (Her departure also does not involve a severance payment, indicating she was not pushed out by the mayor, who oversees planning.)
Here's her letter announcing her departure:
Greetings BPS partners, Some of you have heard the news about my departure, but I wanted to follow up with a little more information for everyone. After much thought and deliberation, I have decided to leave the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability in about six months, and plan to consult here in Portland and with other cities around the world. It has been a great privilege to serve the City and help make Portland a national and international leader on planning, sustainability and climate change issues, and especially bring equity to the forefront of those discussions. In the past 9+ years since BPS was created, I have worked to ensure there is a new plan and solid foundation for growth and development in Portland, and a framework for climate action that will carry the city forward for the next couple decades. Most importantly, I’ve been delighted to see that the values of the Portland Plan have been infused into the strategic plans of all City bureaus, so that equity, prosperity, healthy people and a healthy environment, and resilience are the cornerstones of the City’s endeavors. All the work I have done for almost three decades here at the City has been in partnership and collaboration with so many of you, along with talented coworkers and hundreds of people from other City bureaus, businesses, non-profits, universities, other cities, counties, regional and state governments, foundations, and environmental, business, health, equity and other organizations. I have learned that in all things, when we work together, we are much greater than the sum of our individual parts. It has been an honor to be the director of three City bureaus in the past 27 years (Energy Office, Office of Sustainability Development, and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability). I have worked hard with amazing partners to ensure that these three bureaus were viewed as extremely credible organizations – respected and valued locally and around the world. When I made my decision to leave, I wanted to make sure this transition would be as smooth as possible. So during the next few months, feel free to share your thoughts, concerns, and aspirations for the new bureau leadership and opportunities for better collaboration. I will provide that information to the Mayor’s team as they do a national search. I look forward to the next six months of continued collaboration, and I will always value your leadership, creativity and friendship.