Maybe it’s just growing pains, but these days everyone in Portland is talking about how this city is facing down big issues as its population climbs.

The skyline is getting crowded, there’s a critical lack of affordable housing, and street parking fees spike as road congestion swells. Portland’s demographic is increasingly made up of young, educated, hip transplants who are gentrifying neighborhoods, and thousands of homeless sleep on the streets. We have one of the tightest rental markets in the nation. There are a backlog of unfunded infrastructure improvement projects.

The upsides: a booming startup scene, a plethora of artists, neighborhood renewal projects and the increasing sense that Portland is a mecca for future-thinking people. And, of course, we have the best airport, for the third year running, according to Travel + Leisure.

Portland is changing, and there’s no stopping that. But are we poised to become an even better city? Or will the challenges of massive growth erode our little green city into a metropolis that’s no longer recognizable as “Portlandia?”

Join us on PRP this Friday between 1-2 p.m. for our Biz503 episode, “The Portland Brand: How Authentic?” Co-hosts Rebecca Webb, founder of Portland Radio Project, and Cindy Tortorici, of The Link, will lead a discussion about how our city’s “brand” aligns with reality. They’ll ask a distinguished panel about livability and progress, and how our city’s image is impacted by the challenges we face.

Joining us this week are the following guests:

Ethan Seltzer, Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University

Randy Gragg, Director the John Yeon Center for Architectural Studies and Editor at the Portland Monthly

Will Aitchison, Attorney and Author at Labor Relations Information System

Brad Malsin, President of Central Eastside Industrial Council

Carl Alviani, Designer, Writer and Editor

Jeremy Pelley, Principal and Creative Director at The Official Manufacturing Company 

Chris Czarnecki, PDX Terminal Business & Properties Director at Port of Portland