Urban Designer/Planner

Location: Portland, OR

Department: Urban Design and Planning

Type: Full Time

Min. Experience: Experienced

This position requires an independent thinker to help lead a team along with the senior planner/project manager. You will be able to guide projects, using your experience and professional judgement to craft the final outcome. Providing mentorship and guidance to staff on your teams is a key element of your role. You will have the opportunity to develop a wide array of skills whether they be technical, design, or managerial. You will be able to influence exciting projects across a wide variety of types and clients. This position will require domestic travel one to two times a month. 

About SERA      
SERA is a progressive, 100% employee-owned architecture, interior design and urban design & planning firm based in Portland, Oregon. Since 1968, SERA has been instrumental in the development of the city’s national reputation for livability. In 2015, we opened a second office in the Silicon Valley.

The SERA Workplace team enables businesses and organizations to transform their vision, culture and objectives into purposeful built environments.  Our design team employs planning frameworks and outcome-based design strategies to maximize value in real estate solutions for sustainable design, interior environmental quality and space planning principles.  We create visually and spatially compelling places that engage the workforce and create a rich cultural experience. 

Job Title: Urban Designer / Planner V
Level: UDP V / Sr. Job Captain
Supervisor: Studio Leader
FLSA: Exempt

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Guides, coordinates, plans, and reviews the work of mid-size teams (approximately 3-6 staff members).
  2. Mentors staff on project teams, cultivates a positive project experience and a collaborative team atmosphere.
  3. Prioritizes goals, scope, and tasks to meet client needs and use teams effectively.
  4. Proactively communicates staffing needs and changes with Studio Project Coordinator/Studio Leader.
  5. Works with senior planner/project manager to develop, articulate, define, and execute the project scope for a wide variety of projects.
  6. Participates in selected marketing and business development opportunities.
  7. Develops and maintains positive relationships with clients, consultants, contractors, and
  8. jurisdictional/approval agencies.
  9. Works with senior planner/project manager and Studio Leader to identify and leverage core skills and areas of interest for staff, providing opportunities for growth and development.
  10. Works with senior planner/project manager to confirm that project goals are carried out and reinforced through design, technical, and cost decisions, both internally and externally.


  1. May participate in employee review process for team members.
  2. Identifies unique goals and objectives required by the client and project team and the decision-making strategies and success metrics used to validate them.
  3. Works with senior planner/project manager to manage changes in scope, schedule and fee throughout the project to ensure project success.
  4. Works with and supports the accounting department regarding project financials including project set-up and/ or invoicing and collection efforts for projects.
  5. Other duties as assigned.

Education and Experience

  • Requires a Bachelor or Master’s degree in planning, urban design, architecture, or landscape architecture.
  • Generally has 6+ years of industry experience in a planning or design office.
  • Experience with Adobe Creative Suite, ArcGIS, and MS Office Suite required.
  • AICP, or other accreditation, is encouraged.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Knowledge of Rhino and Revit preferred.
  • Strong knowledge of urban planning / urban design best practices that can be applied to projects in collaboration with project team members.
  • Possesses group facilitation skills for use at Charrettes, community workshops, etc.
  • Established ability to communicate through verbal, written, and graphic communication formats.
  • Knowledge of available tools and best use strategies.  
  • Ability to prioritize and evaluate multiple important tasks.
  • Critical thinking skills to identify strengths, weaknesses, or alternate solutions to a problem with limited supervision.
  • Professional judgment and decision making processes to determine the most appropriate course of action.
  • Leadership skills that motivate and guide teams and projects to desired outcomes.
  • Hand sketching skills preferred. 

SERA Architects Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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