Ben Schonberger


  • Master in City Planning
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Bachelor of Arts
    Swarthmore College

Professional Memberships

  • American Planning Association
  • American Institute of Certified Planners

Professional Certifications

  • AICP

Interesting Facts:

  • Lived in Japan for a year at age 4
  • Once flipped over a tractor while working on an olive farm in Tuscany
  • Plays in a recreational softball league called the Pinecones

Ben Schonberger, AICP, is a Senior Planner with Winterbrook Planning. He engages with a wide array of clients, bringing activity to projects across the region, and offers choices to people who live, work, or play there. He specializes in educational projects for many of the school districts in the region (Gresham-Barlow School District and David Douglas School District, to name a couple), and land use permitting for institutions and individuals alike. He has been closely involved with a wide variety of public, private, and non-profit organizations, and has a broad array of analytic, research, and communications skills from 20 years of professional planning experience in Oregon and Massachusetts.

“I’m motivated and inspired by the idea of using my experience and knowledge to unlock a sticky problem.”

Ben became interested in planning before he really knew what it was. As a child, he watched the mall at the outskirts of his town explode with growth at the expense of the historic downtown. While at Swarthmore College, he became fascinated with the book “Crabgrass Frontier” (Kenneth T. Jackson), which led him down the planning career route. After joining the planning field after college, he was inspired to further his education and went on to complete his master’s degree at MIT, and later to get his AICP certification. 

When he isn’t using his wide range of experience to unlock sticky planning problems, he plays in a recreational softball league called Pinecones. He is an avid cyclist, Trail Blazer fan, and baker.

Representative Projects:

Mahonia Crossing
Ben led land use permitting for a major affordable housing project in Salem. The 313-unit, $115-million development will provide a mix of senior and family apartments. The housing is open to low-income households, and priority for people displaced by wildfires. At the center of the project is a community building and senior building that will have gathering spaces, a fitness center, a movie/game room, and a library. Permitting for the project occurred in two phases, requiring site plan and design review, numerous adjustments to development standards, and careful coordination with the design team and Salem planning officials.

PGE Integrated Operation Center
Ben obtained land use approval for a major electrical utility to build a large-scale, Integrated Operations Center (IOC) in Tualatin. The application required a conditional use review, variances, and architectural review for a 108,000 square foot building. The project included the main office building, a telecommunication tower, emergency helipad, parking, landscaping, fencing, circulation, and stormwater management facilities. The project required a careful approach to balance federal requirements for critical infrastructure with the local city development Code. Winterbrook coordinated with architects, civil engineers, transportation analysts, electrical engineers, and city staff to develop a project sensitive to the surrounding area and that met client needs.

Vanport Building
Ben obtained land use permits for a new seven-story building on PSU’s downtown campus. The building, located on a difficult site bounded by rail tracks on three sides, contains classrooms, labs, offices, and retail space. Winterbrook Planning managed a complex Portland land use review process that required design review, modifications, and adjustments. Tasks included testimony before the Portland Design Commission, negotiations with city staff, and coordinating with school officials, architects, and other design team members.