Planning and Sustainability Internship Opportunities – City of Portland

Planning and Sustainability Internship Opportunities – 

The City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) is currently offering several internship opportunities. The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) develops creative and practical solutions to enhance Portland’s livability, preserve distinctive places and plan for a resilient future.

Equal Opportunity

City of Portland (also referred to as the City) is fully committed to the concept and practice of equal opportunity and affirmative action in all aspects of employment.


Wages range between $15 and $16/hour, depending on experience.

All positions are classified as Community Service Aids, and limited to no more than 1,000 hours per calendar year. This is a seasonal/casual classification. Casual/Casual Other employees do not accrue vacation or sick leave, service credit, and are not eligible for health benefits.


Submit a brief cover letter and resume, by June 30, 2015. Please note in the letter which positions you are interested in. For each position review and respond to the specific qualifications in the position description and the GENERAL qualifications above. Mail or email your applications to:


The Comprehensive Plan Team, Public Testimony Coordinator

The Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission will recommend a new Comprehensive Plan for City Council consideration in the fall of 2015. There will be a series of public hearings, and we expect a large volume of public comments in the form of letters, emails, and personal testimony. This position would help project staff catalog, track, and respond to public comments. Job duties would include filing, implementing systems to track public comments, identifying common themes, and drafting initial responses for more senior planning staff to review.

Qualifications, desired skills and experience:

  • Urban planning, political science, or public administration background
  • Interest in public policy development and legislative decision-making
  • Database management, strong Excel skills
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Fluency in a second language desirable

The position is roughly 20-24 hours a week through June 2016.

This position will work closely with the Help Line Coordinator (described below), the two Principal Planners overseeing the project, and the City Council Clerk.
Contact: Eric Engstrom, Principal Planner

The Comprehensive Plan Help Line Coordinator

As part of the Comprehensive Plan Update Project, there will be several significant amendments to the City’s zoning maps and codes in 2015. Public notices will be mailed to a large number of Portland residents and property owners in late summer or fall.  A help line will be set up to handle land use-related questions from the public and impacted property owners, by phone and at scheduled “office hours” at various locations (e.g., public libraries and senior centers) in the community.  This help line will be staffed by a team of several people, with a lead coordinator.   The coordinator will be responsible for ensuring that the help line is appropriately staffed. Tasks will include scheduling help line staff, assisting with training, and coordinating ongoing check-ins with staff to identify and address process issues. The coordinator may also offer general assistance to more senior public involvement and communications staff.

Qualifications, desired skills and experience:

  • Urban planning background or interest
  • Customer service experience
  • A good communicator with a variety of audiences
  • Ability to translate complex planning and zoning related issues into plain language
  • Fluent in both Spanish and English desirable
  • Highly organized and detail oriented

The position is roughly 20-24 hours a week through December 2015.

Contact: Deborah Stein, Principal Planner

Mixed Use Zoning Project, Project Intern

The Mixed Use Zones Project will develop new mixed use planning and zoning designations to help implement the ‘Centers’ and ‘Corridors’ concepts from the Comprehensive Plan Update. Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan proposes to focus commercial activity and a majority of new household growth in mixed use centers and corridors that will serve as the anchors of convenient, walkable neighborhoods. The project will focus on revising the development regulations for the city’s Commercial and Central Employment zones to better implement the Comprehensive Plan.  Job duties may include organizing, staffing and promoting advisory committee meetings and other public events; maintaining event calendars; organizing and summarizing information for presentations; data collection and organization; research, analysis and development of zoning-related materials; writing and editing summary reports and other products such as blog/social media posts, web copy, promotional flyers, newsletters and email blasts.

Qualifications, desired skills and experience:

  • Urban planning background or interest
  • Knowledge/interest in real estate development, urban economics, zoning code, architecture/design
  • Comfort in public situations and working with community, neighborhood or business groups
  • Web and social media savvy
  • Strong organizational skills

The position is roughly 20-24 hours a week through early 2016.

Contact: Barry Manning, Senior Planner


Code Development Intern

This position would support the policy and zoning code work conducted by the Bureau’s urban planners. The Code Development Section is responsible for coordinating amendments and improving Portland’s Zoning Code, ensuring that it is user-friendly and consistent with city policy, state law, and court rulings.  Responsibilities include collecting, organizing, and synthesizing data into easy-to-read and understandable formats, researching and analyzing multiple jurisdictions’ regulatory approaches, producing a variety of outreach materials (emails, press releases, promotional flyers, newsletters, web copy, social media and blog posts) and distributing to various stakeholders, residents and businesses, maintaining event calendars, promoting events and meetings, and providing logistical support for meetings, including meeting facilitation and note taking.

Qualifications, desired skills and experience:

  • Excellent writer and editor
  • Ability to conduct research online and follow-up with other city agencies or jurisdictions to clarify regulations and program
  • Comfortable in public situations and making clear presentations
  • Experience conducting research and summarizing key findings
  • Experience writing concise reports explaining technical information
  • Web and graphics skills
  • Familiarity with Sketchup

The position is roughly 15-20 hours a week through June 2016, with possible extension.

Contact: Sandra Wood, Code Development Studio Manager


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