Close your eyes and imagine the Portland of 2025. Imagine … a city that attracts young people from all around the world. A city with a diverse array of business opportunities. A city with more of our students staying in school, going to local colleges and graduating to work in local jobs.

All right, now open your eyes. It’s 2015. How do we get there?

If we want a thriving Portland, a global competitor, a mecca for young people, then what do we do today to make that future possible?

Those questions gave birth to Growing Portland. This collaborative was created jointly through the office of Portland Mayor Michael Brennan and the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce. It’s gone on to become a widespread partnership, convening leaders from local colleges, local research and development institutions and local businesses.

Together, these partners have agreed to focus on certain sectors that can help to define our economic success. We’re focusing on certain key areas of promise:

 Health care informatics: Growing Portland identified this field, where health care and data analysis intersect, as a regional asset with significant room for growth. And we researched and wrote the report that forms the basis for building an informatics center here.

Marine economy: Our working waterfront is what distinguishes our city. But too often we ignore it, or take it for granted. Growing Portland started the popular Walk the Working Waterfront program.

We’re also building a network for institutional purchasers of local seafood. And we’re developing plans for an online portal showcasing the dynamism, diversity and opportunities of our marine economy.

Workforce development: The Portland we imagine includes career opportunities for all sorts of people, not limited by the color of their skin, where they were born or how much money their household makes.

We’re working with the Greater Portland Workforce Initiative to identify businesses and sectors that could be employing people who want to work and build careers, but who need assistance making the connection.

In each of these areas, Growing Portland serves as a conduit between programs “in the street” and the office of Mayor Brennan.

Why the mayor? Because that’s part of his job, as written into the city charter: “To articulate the city’s vision and goals and build coalitions to further such visions and goals.” As one such coalition, Growing Portland has become a vital link between the interests of the city and the interests of job creators.

Another coalition that the mayor has built has been the loose-knit association of organizations working on economic development. These include not only Growing Portland but also the city’s Department of Economic Development, Creative Portland, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Portland’s Downtown District, etc., etc. Together, these organizations (and many others) are starting to build the Portland of tomorrow.

You can start to see the results in the 2015 Economic Scorecard. Issued annually by the Portland Community Chamber of Commerce, the scorecard measures city and region performance against national benchmarks.

There’s always room for improvement, but this year’s scorecard notes progress in critical areas. Employment growth in key sectors, growth in our exports through the port of Portland, growth in restaurant and lodging retail sales – these are just a few of the positive indicators we’re seeing.

And it may not be in the city charter, but that’s another area where Mayor Brennan has exemplified a new spirit in City Hall: a spirit of cooperation with the chamber.

You can see it in the scorecard, which is now aligned with the city’s Economic Development Vision and Plan. You can even see it in Growing Portland itself, which was conceived with strong input from Chris Hall at the chamber, as well as Mayor Brennan.

Do the chamber and the Office of the Mayor always see eye to eye on what the issues are, or how to proceed? Of course not. But we’re fortunate to have, at both organizations, leadership that’s determined to move forward.

The projects that Growing Portland is working on today will bear fruit in the years to come. That timeline may seem ambitious, but that’s all right with us. We’ve imagined the Portland of 2025, and we’re eager to make it a reality.