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Summary Meeting Notes: November 15, 2012 for the Community Involvement PEG

Summary Meeting Notes

Community Involvement Policy Expert Group

 

Date: November 15, 2012

Time: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Location: City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Avenue, Portland, Pettygrove Room

PEG Attendees: Glenn Bridger, Polo Catalani, Nickole Cheron, Greg Greenway, Paul Leistner/ PEG co-lead, Morgan Masterman, Linda Nettekoven, Sara Schooley, Marty Stockton/ PEG co-lead, Desiree Williams-Rajee, Robb Wolfson

Staff/Presenters: Dante James/Office of Equity and Human Rights; Desiree Williams-Rajee / Bureau of Planning and Sustainability; Deborah Stein / BPS

Facilitator: Deb Meihoff

View the original agenda, including materials, for this meeting.

 

Key Points and Outcomes 

  • PEG members explored a shared understanding of equity issues and how they apply to the Comprehensive Plan update.

 

Welcome, Meeting Overview and Introductions

Presenter: Self-introductions.

Updates and Announcements 

Presenters: Paul Leistner, Office of Neighborhood Involvement and MartyStockton, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability / PEG Co-leads

Summary:

  • At the November meeting, the PIAC Comprehensive Plan Work Group developed a draft work program and timeline to coordinate efforts on policy drafts, community involvement for their work and the work of the PEG, and for developing a ‘white paper’ to accompany the final draft of the Comprehensive Plan update.     
  • The CI-PEG’s community survey has been released and over 150 responses have been received.  While a robust response to the survey, participation has not included a racially or ethnically diverse sampling. On the other hand, participation among those who self-identified with disabilities is above average. Therefore, BPS is extending the survey deadline to December 31, 2012 and increasing its outreach to community organizations that can help to spread the word to communities of color. The PEG agreed with this approach and offered assistance to connect with IRCO staff among other networks.

 

Handouts and related materials:

  • Draft PIAC Comp Plan Workgroup work plan timeline [insert link]
  • Draft PIAC Comp Plan Workgroup meeting notes [insert link]


Racial Equity Overview

Presenter: J. Dante James / Office of Equity and Human Rights

Summary: Dante James discussed why racial equity is important in the planning process, equity in the Portland Plan, and strategies for moving forward. The makeup ofPortland’s citizenry has changed rapidly in the past five to ten years and will continue to change and become more racially and ethnically diverse.  It is critical that the City and its community partners consider what this diversification means for community involvement processes now and over the next 25 years, raising consciousness about who is being included or not yet represented. The group participated in an exercise exploring issues the prevent Portlanders from talking about racial equity.

Facilitated Discussions - Community Involvement Issues through an Equity Lens  

Facilitator: Desiree Williams-Rajee / BPS 

Summary: The PEG broke into three smaller groups to discuss equity considerations, using the N/NE Quadrant Plan as a case study to understand recent community involvement experiences under the Comprehensive Plan and test ideas and theories that have been discussed by the CI PEG for inclusion in the new draft goals and policies. The facilitated discussion centered on the process and resultant recommendations from the N/NE Quadrant Plan (completed earlier this year). Groups explored responses to three questions: (1) What challenges might communities of color have faced in this process? (2) What could be done to improve their involvement? (3) Are there policy implications that can be applied to the Comp Plan?

Key themes from the facilitated discussions:

  • Equity is not an add-on - it is integral to the work that we / the CI-PEG members do.
  • The ‘government’ language used in plan documents prevents people from understanding and participating in the process.
  • Processes need to maintain transparency and identify ways to build the capacity of community members to participate.  Involving the community in setting the framework for the project or the process can help to design a process that is inclusive of their contributions and perspectives; the approach affects what influences the community ultimately has on the outcomes and decisions. The draft goal and policies that support early engagement and community involvement in designing the process could help to address this issue. This does not however address the tension between inclusive process and time. What tools do we have to address this in our process?
  • Attention to quality must be paid in early engagement. Particularly with communities and residents who have not historically been involved in decision making processes. It is also important to be mindful that too many demands on the community organizations with little capacity can be draining on their resources. Identifying ways to engage that works for both parties is important in order to avoid disempowering the community representation. Communities of color should be included early on to hear about needs for each process and issues that need to be addressed in the plan.
  • One idea posed was that the City should contract with community-based organizations to assist with expanding the network, availability and readiness of community members to participate. City managers and supervisors, as well as leadership, need to allow for the time necessary to build new relationships and get the right people to the table.
  • The community involvement process should not only seek planning outcomes, but also strive to build more community capacity to participate and solidify relationships between the community and City government.
  • Voting processes can quickly marginalize new and/or individual voices that represent ‘minority’ opinions, which can isolate and invalidate the contributions of communities of color and other groups.
  • The community has provided a lot of feedback on previous planning processes. The CI-PEG should review previous evaluations, listen to the feedback, and look for ways to incorporate into the PEG’s work.

 

Related materials:

 

[There were no guests / public comment at the meeting]

 

Follow up and Next Steps

  • Staff will extend the CI PEG survey deadline to December 31, 2012 and will work with community organizations to include a greater level of participant diversity.
  • PEG members are encouraged to send the Community Involvement PEG survey link to members of their networks. Marty will report out results of the survey at the January meeting.
  • December CI PEG meeting will cover a review of draft Comprehensive Plan policies (all chapters), results to date from the PEG’s and PIAC Comp Plan Work Group public outreach, and discussion around best questions to be explored at the public workshops in early 2013.

 

PEG Check-in

 

Meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.

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