Advancing Places

Portell Works guides and manages inspiring projects that make everyday life better for all.

For too long, city building has been about “bigger is better,” attracting big players with big developments designed to maximize profit. While this infusion of wealth is often welcome, it can change the local character of a community by diluting its uniqueness and displacing existing residents and businesses.

Placemaking and livability.

Portell Works pursues a different approach to placemaking, one that makes sense locally and enhances quality of life for everyone. Large developments can be part of the solution, but so can adaptive reuse, small-scale development, inclusive placemaking, workforce housing and safe, accessible street design. We study the local context and work to move urban districts forward in ways that create more opportunities, partnerships and leveraged funds. Development is informed by the community’s vision, instead of the other way around.

Downtown and district champions.

Portell Works is a consulting firm advancing urban districts, downtowns and development projects. With decades of experience both on staff and as a consultant for public- and private-sector firms, we are your partner on the leadership team – strategic thinkers who can manage the details of bringing a place to life, while never losing sight of your vision. And we can draw on a network of experienced specialists, depending on your project needs, including:

• Strategic Communications
• Marketing strategy & graphic design
• Urban planning & design

• Economic development & housing
• Economic analysis
• Pedestrian safety & mobility

Hilarie Portell Portell Works Portell Works
Verve, energy
and attention to detail.

Portell Works


  • Englewood Downtown Matters. Created a strategic downtown plan and new downtown development authority for the City of Englewood’s central business district. Working with a multidisciplinary team, led successful campaign communications, stakeholder engagement and the project steering committee through Covid-19 pandemic challenges.
  • Colfax Mayfair Business Improvement District. Formed and directed a business improvement district on Denver’s iconic Main Street. Led economic development, business support, placemaking, advocacy and clean/safe initiatives. Led a streetscape/mobility plan and secured $55 million in general bond funding for corridor and district improvements. Served on city steering committees for East Area Plan and Colfax Bus Rapid Transit; helped create a place-based economic development strategy including affordable housing incentives, small-scale development and a new adaptive reuse program.
  • Lowry Redevelopment Authority. Served on an executive team to direct marketing, communications, issues management, placemaking and mobility projects for the award-winning 1,800-acre, mixed-use urban community in Denver, Colorado.
  • Downtown Marketing. Spearheaded branding and marketing strategies for downtown Colorado organizations in Castle Rock, Brighton, Lamar and Wheat Ridge.
  • Affordable Housing. Efforts include branding for Mariposa, Denver’s award-winning, sustainable, transit-oriented district, plus strategic communications for Boulder Housing Partners, Colorado Community Land Trust and national developer Gorman and Company.

Professional Involvement

  • All In Denver, Denver Streets Partnership
    Denver Economic Relief & Recovery Council
  • Downtown Colorado, Inc.
    Strong Towns
  • International Downtown Association
  • Urban Land Institute
Portell Works


  • Colorado Economic Development Council, economic development certificate
  • University of Colorado at Denver, Master of Public Administration
  • University of Utah, bachelor’s in political science with honors

“Hilarie Portell does excellent work in urban planning, new development and improvement districts. She is highly skilled in non-profit management and has a keen understanding of sustainability issues, especially as they relate to transportation and community revitalization.”
- Stuart Anderson, Executive Director, Transportation Solutions

“Hilarie defines the problem, understands what is needed, researches, analyzes and formulates a game plan with recommended actions. She is industrious and interacts effortlessly with all disciplines, entities, agencies and staff.”
- Montgomery Force, Executive Director, Lowry Redevelopment Authority

“Hilarie Portell is quick to assess and provide counsel on a variety of topics, and does so with professionalism, integrity and clarity. She also understands the importance of a place to call home for our residents and equips our team with messaging tools to help us better serve our community.”
- Penny Hannigan, Director of Organizational Excellence, Boulder Housing Partners

Portell Works
Portell Works