photo of Elaine Cogan

Elaine Cogan

Elaine Cogan, founding principal of the Portland, Oregon planning and communications firm of Cogan Owens Cogan, has consulted for more than 36 years with communities undertaking strategic planning and visioning processes. Elaine has been honored for her work on a variety of citizen involvement projects, including “Complete Communities for Clackamas County,” which received the American Planning Association's 2002 Public Education Award.

Between 1991 and 2009, her “The Effective Planning Commissioner” column ran in the Planning Commissioners Journal. All of her past columns (along with her new ones) are available here on

Come In - We're Hiring sign

Who Hires Your Planning Director?

What attributes should you look for in a new planning director? Columnist Elaine Cogan describes what she learned from facilitating a series community forums as part of Portland, Oregon’s search for a new planning chief.

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Retreat? Advance?

Has your commission been looking for a way to get beyond the regular meeting routine? Some tips on organizing for a successful retreat.