Alley Allies

Alley Allies (January-June 2013) was a planning project that sought to understand the potential of residential alleys in Portland and to provide the vision, policy framework and resources residents need to carry out their own alley improvement projects. We continue to present this work to City of Portland bureaus, community groups and other interested parties.

The final products of this project were three documents: A Plan, Toolkit and Background Report.

The Plan


Click here to download (17.2 MB)

Who’s It For?

Non-profits, neighborhood associations, City agencies, residents advocating for alley improvements.

What’s In It?

How City goals can be met by alley improvements, how alleys can address the concerns of Foster corridor residents, and a plan for the future of the project moving forward.


The Plan is the guiding document for the project and sets the stage for the potential of alley re-use in the Foster Corridor. It includes: A 2020 vision statement; a project overview; context regarding the importance of alley revitalization; and our recommendations. The intended audience for this document is the leadership of the project, the non-profits and other organizations who will be involved in the project’s implementation, and the City agencies who will play a critical role in facilitating the successful repurposing of these alleys.

The Toolkit


Click here to download (21.9 MB)

Who’s It For?

Residents or groups with an interest in improving an alley or other public right-of-way.

What’s In It?

The City’s policies about alleys, a step-by-step guide for completing your own alley project with strategies to help you meet your goals for your project, information about grants, templates and other resources.


The Toolkit was designed from a six-month public engagement process with the goal of shaping the content around resident needs. The major goals of Toolkit are to clarify what can be done with alleys, who owns them, who is responsible for their maintenance, and to help residents overcome barriers for making alley improvements by providing them with the resources and tools to move forward.

Background Report


Click here to download the Background Report (14.2 MB)

Download the full Foster corridor alley dataset referred to in the Report Appendix (Excel file)

Who’s It For?

Everyone with an interest in the project, how it came together, or the state of Southeast Portland’s alleys.

What’s In It?

Examples of other alley projects and ideas about networks of alleys like the “kid grid”, details of how we involved the public and our findings, community designs for alleys, and data about the condition of all the alleys that can be used in grant applications and later projects.


The Background Report describes the development of the project during the planning phase, including the public engagement process used to develop the plan and the toolkit, and can be used as a resource for residents seeking grants, by City agencies wanting to understand the public engagement behind the project, or by the organizations leading the project.

5 responses to “Alley Allies

  1. Pingback: Alley Shmalley | Foster-Powell. A neighborhood blog.·

  2. I am so happy someone is addressing this . Alleys can become an area of beauty and charm instead of the dumps most are. There should be a competition perhaps to encourage participation. It would be nice to have an annual Alley Walk, much like the Garden Tour or Chicken Coop tour .

  3. What are you doing to help SW Trails with the new trails policy? The SW Trails network in SW Portland is basically an alley way system for quiet walks, exercise, emergency response, and transportation. Please fight the motorcycle alley way racing.

    • Hi Rick. Thanks for your comment. It does appear that parts of the SW Trails are very similar to alleys. The group looks very well organized, but we’d be happy to support them in whatever way we could. Regarding the Alley Sweeper motorcycle event, we’ve been discussing this and the best legal option is to get a block party permit through PBOT and get together in your alley that day. You can then block all other users out of the alley legally. I wrote a blog post on the topic and you can read it here:

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