A few words about me so you have an idea who I am.
I am an urban planner who got here in a very roundabout way. I started out as a geographer trying not to be a teacher. At the advice of a wonderful teacher I then studied politics in the most interesting/wonderful/beautiful city I know – Belfast, Northern Ireland. I specialized in Cultural Identity, European Politics and Ethnic Conflict. My masters thesis was that increasing regionalism and devolving appropriate powers would reduce nationalist/ethnic conflicts. (Pity the European Union chose to expand instead.)
I got out of college and a job in my field (whatever that is) seemed to be so far away and need experience in the real working world. I ended up working in a law office and learning land use law at the feet of an expert. Planning was certainly something I had prior knowledge of and plenty of interest in, but her enthusiasm and the intricacies of the Oregon system got me hooked. And I found a job and I worked at it and I was going somewhere. And I loved working the counter and helping people understand code and find the best solution for the individual and the greater public.
And then the economy took a beating and those of us who work in a development related field often found ourselves not working. I was lucky enough to keep working though it was not as a planner . But I got to make maps. I love maps, my college dorm rooms were plastered with maps. And I learned so much about the software and about expanding the place in my brain that looks at things and distinguished pretty from not pretty, and sees the wood for the trees, and know what needs to be in the picture and what doesn’t.