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February 22, 2006 Meeting Notes for BIP #9: Public Involvement

  6:30PM-8:30PM
Metro, Room 270, 600 NE Grand Ave.
 
 
1.  Greetings/Introductions/Announcements
 
Members Present:  Art Alexander, Bryan Aptekar (for Gay Greger), Eileen Argentina, JoAnn Bowman, Lynne Coward, Sue Diciple, Brian Hoop, Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong, Sandra LeFrancois, Karen Withrow.
 
Members Not Present:  Laurel Butman, Christine Egan, Tim Hall, Beth Kaye, Mary Jo Markle, Rick Williams.
 
Guests: Paul Leistner, John Ryan, Jonah Willbach.                   Staff:  Maija Spencer.
 
Announcements:
There are two citywide budget forums coming up: Tuesday, February 28th (Housing & Community Development, Public Safety )& Wednesday, March 1st (One-Time Monies).  For more information, www.portlandonline.com/communitybudget .
 
Maija also announced that as part of Women’s History Month, there is a blog on the City’s website about women and their experiences in Portland.  All are invited and encouraged to submit stories about women who have made history or who are currently making history.  To read the blog and add a story, go to www.portlandonline.com/diversity.  Please pass this information on!
 
2.  Notes from January 25th
JoAnn moved & Karen seconded to approve the notes as they stand.
 
3.  Public Comments
John Ryan shared that he is working on a paper to share with the group and will talk with Eileen & JoAnn about how to share this information.
 
4.  Status Check – Eileen
Eileen reviewed the progress made at the last meeting.
A discussion began about the decision to remove boards & commissions from this team’s work.  What about advisory boards?  Where do they fit in?
 
  • Should BIP #8 address them, since they are focused on how the public interacts with government?
  • Advisory boards are a public involvement tool.  Boards/commissions have a legal status.  Bureau advisory boards are different than project-specific advisories. 
  • There should be a review of why bureau advisory committees disbanded, as they were a common public involvement tool in the 1970’s & 80’s.
  • Our scope presumes that the city is the initiator.  There is a need as mentioned in the past about how we incorporate the public’s ideas.  There needs to be a citywide recurring regular process for citizens to input ideas & see them tracked. 
 
It was suggested this committee could make a recommendation for future efforts to look at advisory boards, along with other boards/commissions.  This issue may not fit into this team’s scope or timeline.  We are focused on projects that are already in the hopper regardless of where they came from.  This group can create a tool kit and recommend that some issues will need further work.
 
A list of “parking lot” issues to be dealt with later on or incorporate into this team’s recommendation & tool box was created.
 
Parking lot issues:
  • Bureau advisory committees (standing)
  • Bureau budget committees
  • Neighborhood needs assessment
  • Project identification process
  • Community small grants project
  • Boards & commissions
  • Follow-up on public involvement
  • Stakeholder/community of interest (who identifies)
 
5.  Discuss Criteria & Questions/Review list of common city activities
 
The group looked at a chart about types of projects made by Laurel & an excerpt from the PDC’s manual.
 
Discussion focused on the PDC model:
  • The PDC chart helps as a filter – although nothing will catch everything.  It has a clear process to go through.  Users will still have to be open to the possibility of mistakes and be ready to fix them.
  • It also seems flexible.  A member tried to set the IAP2 spectrum onto the matrix presented by Elizabeth, but was concerned that it may not work for all projects.  For example, a federally-mandated project might have huge implications, but it may not make sense to have a huge public involvement process.  The PDC model is more helpful, as it doesn’t put projects into specific types. 
  • It was asked how long the PDC has been using this model and how well it has worked for them.  Christine was not present to answer this. Who researches the answers to these questions? Who answers them? 
  • It was also asked what would prompt someone to pick up this document & use it.  This is one page of a huge manual for creating a public involvement plan, which gets reviewed. 
  • These questions need to be shared with stakeholders.  It was responded that stakeholders are often involved to give feedback & inform filling out something like this.  Not all stakeholders would be known at this point.
 
Looking at the PDC’s list of questions, the group began a brainstorm of what questions are missing or need to be re-written.
 
Brainstorm of questions:
 
1.  New questions for level of public involvement
  • What is the possibility of broad public interest?  (re-write of media question)
  • What is the potential of the public being able to affect the outcome?
  • Will this project create inequity?
  • To what extent does this project create a disparity in impact on traditionally underrepresented communities?
 
2.  Stakeholder Questions;
  • Who are the most impacted?
  • Are there language barriers?
 
3. Tools (how you will reach the public)
  • What about projects that reoccur? 
  • Some projects should always be a certain way every single time. For example, budget forums would always be public involvement processes.
  • Maybe there is a 2nd step of questions that asks what kinds of tools are needed for projects.
  • Does a public involvement plan exist?  Does it need revision?
 
Possible steps: Step 1 – Characterize the project.  If it’s a certain type of project, skip ahead.  If it’s not, go to next step.  Step 2 –select level of public involvement.  Then, there would be a list of the appropriate tools to use.  In the PDC manual, the stakeholder identification exercise is in step 5, but maybe this should come earlier.
 
Question: What is the process for identifying stakeholders internally right now?  Is there a database?  How does it work? 
Answer:  It varies bureau to bureau.  The databases are hard to maintain – some use the  neighborhood system.  Some bureaus such as BES, BDS, & Planning have mandated standards.
 
Stakeholders:
  • It is a limiting statement to say who the stakeholders are.  A better term may be who are the people most impacted by this decision? Make people think about who will be really impacted – community-perspective, not just the usual people you call.
  • It was pointed out that “communities of interest” is the newer term used that has less of the proprietary sound of stakeholders.
  • Maybe bureau advisory committees could play a role in identifying stakeholders.
 
Other Comments:
  • What about cost/benefit? Length of time of project or length of impact?
  • The Warringah model is useful for specific process steps.
  • Maybe certain types of projects will always have public involvement procedures.  The questions could be used for those projects that do not fit into neat categories.
  • We should review questions from the January meeting (scope, impact, etc.) & compare to this list of questions.
  • It would helpful to send out more context for the PDC model – maybe the table of contents.
 
Homework assignment: We have started developing 2nd level of questions: stakeholder questions & 3rd level: tool questions.  Bring any additional questions to add or any questions to subtract to the next meeting.
 
Next meeting: Wednesday, March 29, 2006 6:30-8:30pm
Metro, Room 270, 600 NE Grand Ave.