Trade/Scientific Partnership between Portland and the Brazilian city of Jaraguá do Sul
Portland’s Mayor, Charlie Hales, and Dieter Janssen, his counterpart from the Brazilian city of Jaraguá do Sul, signed a pioneer memorandum of trade and scientific partnership to exchange sustainability expertise and urban planning strategies. The event happened in late May, after a five-day visit of a delegation led by Janssen that included other authorities from Jaraguá do Sul: Benyamin Parham Fard, president of the Jourdan Institute, the municipality planning agency; Elson Cardoso, Secretary of Education; Márcio Manoel da Silveira, Director of Economic Development; and Douglas Anjo M.D., Director of the local hospital. The study tour was led by Altair Assumpção, from Brazilian consulting firm Sustainable Hub, and organized by First Stop Portland.
Located in the Southern state of Santa Catarina, Jaraguá do Sul has a population of 148,000 and an Economy strongly based in the textile, food and the metallurgic industries. Annually, it hosts important festivals, such as one of the biggest classical music festivals in the country and the Schützenfest, local version of Munich’s Oktoberfest, that also keeps some similarities with Portland’s massive Rose Festival.
Jaraguá do Sul spreads in a valley surrounded by forested mountains, but offers easy access to the port, airport and roads. The city is boosting the construction of an Innovation District, financed and incorporated through private-public partnerships, that aims to be a clean technology hub, dedicated to nanotechnologies, software development and alternative energies. The project aims to create high quality jobs and attract and retain talents.
Mayor Janssen, who took office last January, intends to enrich Jaraguá 2030, a long ranging planning effort, conceived to improve the municipality’s quality of life in the next two decades. The Brazilian delegates were particularly interested in local strategies to promote governance, urban sustainability and public private partnerships.
They learned about the city’s urban design and policies, and also about the development of new neighborhoods, such as the Pearl District and the South Waterfront , where they visited the eco-roofs and the state-of-the-art environmental solutions adopted by the Oregon Health State University (OHSU) Center for Health & Healing. The group also studied Portland’s multi-modal transportation systems and was particularly interested in the mix of light rail, bike lanes and limited availability of parking options.
The delegation had the opportunity of meeting several local authorities, including managers of the Portland Development Commission, Trimet, the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and the Rose Festival Organization. Mayor Janssen and his team are particularly interested in attracting clean tech industries to their region and open new markets for Portland-based businesses.
The study tour also included visits to major businesses headquarters in town, such as industrial power tool manufacturer AMCO, Leatherman Tool Group, and traditional Native-patterns inspired apparel and textile industry Pendleton. Plus, the delegation visited ADX Portland, a 12,000-squarefoot facility that congregates a community of crafters and designers that share ideas and tools. The Jaraguá do Sul authorities also learned about the projects developed by ZGF, one of the top environmentally oriented Architecture groups in activity. Their intense agenda also included a meeting with Tito Chowdhury, founder and director of Portland NXT, the main local fashion show, and a major display of local apparel industry and designers.
Jaraguá do Sul’s authorities also aim to build educational partnerships with Portland School System and local universities. Their intense agenda included a visit to George Middle School, where they offered the students letters sent by students from Jaraguá do Sul. Also, the Pontifical Catholic University of Santa Catarina, headquartered in Jaraguá do Sul, is already discussing a possible partnership with the Portland State University.
Sustainable Hub, which established a partnership with Portland State University, is the official representative of the city of Portland in Brazil. Its mission is to support companies that wish to do business in Brazil – and vice-versa. Study and Business trips are one of the company’s strategies to create those opportunities.