Ernest R. Munch Profile

170320 Ernie HeadshotResume (pdf)

Ernie Munch is an architect registered in Oregon, Washington State, Nebraska and Virginia.

Ernie graduated from the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts in 1970, and the Columbia University School of Architecture in 1971. Although he holds two degrees in architecture, both of his thesis projects involved large urban areas: Inner Southeast Portland and the South Bronx. He was moved in that direction by efforts, at the time, to understand the underlying causes of the urban riots that shook US cities during the late 1960’s and attempts to find solutions to the urban problems that were so dramatically expressed. His specific interest was inner city neighborhoods. He sought to discover how they had grown, what values had been created and lost over time, their organization, their role in the overall health of cities, and strategies that would enhance them as places in which to live and work rather than places to drive through on the way to and from the suburbs.

After traveling as a Columbia University William F. Kinne Fellow, Ernie returned to Portland, Oregon. He joined Skidmore Owings and Merrill’s Environmental Study Team which was then in the process of writing the Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed Mt. Hood Freeway. The freeway was planned to carry traffic between Downtown Portland and the city’s southeast suburban areas. With that team he developed an understanding of the corridor neighborhoods and assisted in the development of alternatives to the freeway.

After leaving SOM, and a short stint with a small architectural firm, Ernie joined the Portland Planning Bureau in early 1974 as it was being reorganized by newly elected Mayor Neil Goldschmidt and newly appointed planning director Ernie Bonner. Doug Wright and Ernie Munch founded the Transportation Planning section of the Portland Planning Bureau.While there, Ernie was the principal author of the Arterial Streets Classification Policy which was adopted by the Portland City Council in 1977.  As a progressive transportation plan for the city, the ASCP emphasized the preservation and building of residential neighborhoods and job centers as well as the improved movement of people and goods.  This policy respected the existing urban fabric, recognized the relationship of land use and urban design to different modes of transportation and defined a hierarchy of corridors for traffic, transit, freight, bikes, and pedestrians.  It established guidelines for the improvement of those corridors within and the rights-of-way and adjoining property. Most importantly it achieved a consensus on how to proceed with transportation improvements within the Portland region during the 1970’s. That consensus was established through a program of citizen participation that explained the role of transportation planning in the evolution of Portland’s inner-city neighborhoods, the history of transportation planning, and the relationship of land use patterns to the various modes of transportation.

Ernie Munch also participated in the establishment of light rail transit in Portland. He was responsible for the initial design of several major urban arterials, the I-205, and I-84 freeways, the Eastside and Westside Light Rail corridors within the City of Portland, and several neighborhood transportation plans.  He participated in the transfer of funding from the Mt. Hood and I-505 freeways to other projects within the region, including Light Rail Transit.

Ernie Munch coauthored Portland’s first Willamette Greenway Plan, defining a city wide Greenway Trail and promoted river-related industrial, commercial and recreational uses.

After Mayor Goldschmidt was appointed Secretary of Transportation in 1979, Mr. Munch left the City of Portland as its Chief Transportation Planner to found his own architecture and urban planning firm.