Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies

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Sheila Martin, Director and Professor

Institutional Setting

The Institute was formed in 1992 under the leadership of Nohad A. Toulan, founding dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University. The Institute is a research and services center within the college, but has an external governing board consisting of regional leaders and citizens.

The mission of the Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies (IMS) is to advance the economic, environmental, and social goals of the Portland metropolitan region by gathering and disseminating credible information, convening regional partners, and stimulating dialogue and action about critical regional issues. In addition, IMS provides statewide information about demographic trends through the Population Research Center, which became affiliated with IMS in August of 2009.

Indicators Initiatives

The Institute is pursuing three related indicators initiatives:

  1. Greater Portland Pulse;
  2. A regional equity atlas;
  3. Neighborhood Pulse.


1. Greater Portland Pulse (http://www.portlandpulse.org/) Greater Portland Pulse Provides a common foundation for regional collaboration and informed decision making by tracking our region's social, economic, and environmental conditionsIt educates users about regional priorities and provides information about the progress we are making toward these priorities. It does this through the provision of data, context, and by providing opportunities for dialogue.

GPP can be used in a number of ways including:

An Authoritative Source for Consensus-based Regional Outcomes and Related Indicators. Because of the process by which it was developed and the authority and neutrality of the university-based institution that maintains it (Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies at Portland State University), the GPP outcomes and indicators reflect a widely accepted vision for the region measured by the best data available;

A “State of the Region” Measurement Tool. The GPP indicator process produced a measurement tool that includes expert-vetted indicators for each of the outcomes that are available via the portlandpulse.org website;

A Repository of Regional Indicators and Data. The GPP indicators and data are updated continuously and may be used for a wide variety of purposes including grant writing, policy development, and policy assessment.

3. The Regional Equity Atlas 2.0, published by the Coalition for a Livable Future, is a major research and education project to promote widespread opportunity for a stronger, healthier, and more sustainable region.

Using maps, policy analysis, community based research, and other tools, the Equity Atlas project assesses how well different populations across the four-county Portland-Vancouver metro region can access key resources necessary for meeting their basic needs and advancing their health and well-being.

IMS participated in the development of the original Equity Atlas data and the revisions of the data for version 2.

3. Neighborhood Pulse is a new initiative that will map smaller-geography data than that avaialble on Greater Portland Pulse. IMS is working with the neighborhood organizations and with PSU's Institute for Sustainable Solutions to identify neighborhood data most useful to those organizations working to improve their neighborhoods.


Meg Merrick
Community Geography Project Coordinator; Editor-in-Chief, Metroscape
Liza Morehead
Senior Research Assistant II
Emily Renfrow
Office Coordinator
Charles Rynerson
State Data Center Coodinator
John Todoroff
Graduate Research Assistant
Sheila Martin
Director and Professor


March 31, 2015
Beginning in 1973 with the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 100, Oregon’s growth management system has relied on population forecasts as the primary tool for determining Urban Growth Boundary (... [read more]
March 31, 2015
Beginning in 1973 with the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 100, Oregon’s growth management system has relied on population forecasts as the primary tool for determining Urban Growth Boundary (... [read more]
February 13, 2015
Sheila Martin participated in the "Better Know a Community Indicators Project." The series, presented by the Community Indicators Consortium, offers an opportunity to learn more about... [read more]


May 8, 2015
Presentation - By: Sheila Martin

April 7, 2015
Report - By: Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies

March 19, 2015
Video - By: Jake Cowan| Erica Raleigh| Sheila Martin

March 19, 2015
Presentation - By: Jake Cowan| Erica Raleigh| Sheila Martin


Partner Webinars

March 19, 2015

Organizations: Data Driven Detroit (D3), Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies
Jake Cowan, NNIP alumni and consultant, presented on the completed "Monitoring Impact" guide. The guidebook frames defining and measuring performance for local... [read more]

Presenter: Jake Cowan| Erica Raleigh| Sheila Martin
April 4, 2012

Organizations: Community Information Now (CI:NOW), The Piton Foundation, Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies
Following up on the success of the Media session in Portland, we are pleased to announce “Storytelling through Community Journalism”, the first in our "NNIP and Media"... [read more]

Presenter: Charlotte-Anne Lucas| Meg Merrick| Jordan Wirfs-Brock