In 1999, the Willamette River Stakeholders Task Force recommended that funding be expanded to develop “civic infrastructure” to create avenues for citizen input and involvement, and the creation of an institutional memory to recognize their time and commitment. Because of the large and disparate nature of the Willamette plan area, most stewardship activities will be implemented at the subwatershed level where residents are more able to make a personal connection with their neighborhood environment.
A significant difference between the Willamette and Portland's other watershed planning efforts is the lack of a watershed council that acts as a clearinghouse and repository of historical information and local knowledge. However, there are several groups distributed throughout the plan area that have a solid history of advocacy, environmental education, and stewardship. In the absence of a watershed council, outreach will likely occur through the network of Friends groups, neighborhood associations, and neighborhood coalitions.
Sixty-nine Portland neighborhood associations are wholly or partially within the plan area. There are also more than 25 separate business associations that operate within the plan area. The neighborhood associations and district coalitions are the city’s recognized structure for the participation of citizens in Portland’s civic affairs.