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:

Sam Barlow High School expansion
Ben worked with the Gresham-Barlow School District on a complicated project that involved multiple land use reviews including a statewide planning goal exception. While also requiring a lot of technical knowledge, it also meant managing relationships with designers, school staff, and County planners. Ultimately, Ben presented to both the County planning commission and board of commissioners.

Fulton Pump Station
Ben worked with the Portland Water Bureau to replace a pump station on a sub-parcel in a popular riverfront public park. The project required negotiating a complex array of regulations and involved five separate land use reviews. Ultimately, the design and permits were approved, unanimously, after public hearings before the Design Commission and a Hearings Officer.

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.