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Neighborhood Involvement

Building inclusive, safe and livable neighborhoods and communities.

ONI Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204

Standards for Neighborhood System

IV. District Coalitions

 
A.  Basic Requirements of District Coalitions
 
Except as otherwise stated, the working and procedural relationship(s) among Neighborhood Associations, District Coalitions, and District Coalition staff shall be determined by the groups involved, and these relationships shall be respected by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
 
B.   Goals and Procedures
 
A primary role of a District Coalition is to develop the organizational capacity of Neighborhood Associations to consider and act upon issues affecting the livability and quality of their neighborhoods. 
 
District Coalitions should provide training, orientation, information and consultation to Neighborhood Associations and to neighbors according to the policies and directives of their respective boards of directors.  It is the role of the staff to be a resource to neighbors who in turn advocate a particular position on an issue. 

1. Administrative Procedures

a. Annual Action Plan
Develop an annual action plan as directed by Neighborhood Associations and submit to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. 
 
b. Reports to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement
File "performance indicators" as required and an "annual narrative" report at the end of the fiscal year with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.

2. Operational Procedure

a. Communication

The following policies apply to District Coalitions and Neighborhood Association sanctioned communications including print and electronic media:

i. Neighborhood Associations and District Coalitions are responsible for the content of their respective communications.
 
ii. All positions taken or recommendations voted on are matters of record and may be reported in newsletters or reflected in official communications.
 
iii. Neighborhood Associations shall not take positions in support of or opposition to any political candidate or party.  They may take positions on ballot measures and referendums.
 
iv. Neither City supplied funds nor private funds shall be used for communications in support of or in opposition to any political candidate.  City supplied funds may not be used for communications in support or in opposition to ballot measures or referendum.  Private funds, however, may be utilized regarding ballot measures and referendums.

v. Communications presenting personal opinions of a citizen must be identified as such and the name of the author must be included.
vi. Communications should not include statements that could be considered libelous or defamatory.
 
vii. A copy of each District Coalition or Neighborhood Association newsletter should be on file at the respective District Coalition. Neighborhood Associations not affiliated with a District Coalition should file a copy of each newsletter with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.  (Also see Section VIII, O: Retention of Records.)
 
viii. Mailing and membership lists are the property of the Neighborhood Association and are not subject to public records requests.  (Also see Section III, A, 2: Membership.)

b. Inclusion and Participation

In the interest of addressing the need for participation and inclusiveness in Neighborhood Associations and increasing diversity in public involvement the District Coalitions support the participation of Portland's diverse communities in the Neighborhood Association network including communities of  people of color, renters and low-income individuals, working families with children, immigrants and refugees, seniors, students, young adults, people with disabilities, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gendered people.  The District Coalitions shall incorporate into an annual work plan action steps taken to: 

i. Build partnership and outreach efforts with Portland's diverse communities and organizations which lead to community and trust building activities.
 
ii. Provide opportunities for Neighborhood Associations to increase their effectiveness in recruiting, training and retaining volunteers and leadership from diverse constituencies to participate in neighborhood activities.
 
iii. In partnership with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, provide resources and assistance for making Neighborhood Association meetings and communications accessible to constituencies or individuals where assistance is either culturally appropriate or requested.  This may include providing language interpretation of meetings and translation of meeting fliers and newsletters for those whose English is a second language, identifying childcare options, seeking transportation solutions and meeting locations which are accessible to people with disabilities.
 
iv. Encourage the participation of businesses and Business District Association representatives in activities, meetings, and participation on governing bodies of the District Coalition and various Neighborhood Associations within that District Coalition's boundaries.

C. Unique to Non-profit District Coalitions
 
 
Each non-profit district coalition is represented by a board of directors which is primarily composed of delegates duly selected by member Neighborhood Associations and any at-large members provided for in the non-profit District Coalition bylaws.  This may include representatives of Business District Associations within that District Coalition's boundaries.  Non-profit District Coalitions represented by boards of directors are the neighborhood-based contracting agents with the City, which support citizen participation services and provide crime prevention linkages. 
 
As the contracting agent for the coalition, each board must ensure that the non-profit District Coalition meets the following requirements:

1. Organizational Status

a. Incorporation
Be a non-profit corporation in good standing and registered with the Oregon Corporation Commissioner.
 
b. Tax Exempt
Qualify for exemption from corporate taxation under either 26 USC 501(c)(3) or 26 USC 501 (c)(4).

2. Bylaws
Maintain a current copy of the Non-Profit District Coalition bylaws with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.  In addition to the Articles of Incorporation required for non-profits by the State of Oregon, develop bylaws which also incorporate polices addressing:

a. Non-Discrimination

District Coalitions shall not discriminate against individuals or groups on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, legal citizenship, national origin, income, or political affiliation in any of their policies, recommendations or actions.
 
b. Grievances
Procedures for addressing grievances with a District Coalition and appeals from Neighborhood Associations or individuals.  (Refer to Section VII, D: Appeal and Grievance Procedures with a District Coalition).

3. Administrative Procedure

a.  Personnel Policies

The staff hired by each non-profit District Coalition board of directors is funded in part with monies from the non-profit District Coalition contract with the City.  The staff serves the non-profit District Coalition and is accountable to it.  The non-profit District Coalition is the employer--not the City.  The staff is subject to the non-profit District Coalition personnel policies, and staff performance should be measured in light of these policies and in furthering the activities set out in each non-profit District Coalition annual action plan.
 
All personnel issues relating to these employees are the responsibility of the non-profit District Coalition board.  It is recommended that each board clearly establish the supervisory relationship between the board and staff and among staff members themselves in order to have positive communication in both directions.
 
b. Affirmative Action
Have a policy that includes a statement of non-Discrimination and receive certification from the City of Portland Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program.
 
c. Hiring Procedures
Selection of non-profit District Coalition staff shall be the responsibility of the non-profit District Coalition.  Non-profit District Coalitions may request the Office of Neighborhood Involvement's representation on its hiring committees and shall notify ONI of hiring and/or termination of any staff.
 
d. Staff Salaries
Each District coalition shall compensate staff paid for by Office of Neighborhood Involvement funds based on its own salary policies while keeping equity among similar positions throughout the neighborhood structure in mind.

4. City Contract
Administer all City contractual funds, develop non-profit District Coalition budget, and negotiate City contracts in accordance with the procedures established by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and in line with standard accounting and business practices. The scope of the Contract shall encompass the following:

a. Program Goals

The Contract shall include a statement of Program Goals.
 
b. Program Functions
The Contract shall include an itemized list of Program Functions.
 
c. Contractor Responsibilities
The Contract shall include an itemized list of Contractor Responsibilities.
 
d. Billing and Payment Procedure
The Contract shall include a specified Billing and Payment Procedure.

D. Unique to City-staffed District Coalition
 
 
A District Coalition, staffed by City employees has the goal of improving livability, sense of community and safety in the City of Portland by facilitating public participation and self-empowerment at the neighborhood level. These employees are City personnel and their supervisor is the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.  Such District Coalitions shall have an advisory board to the director of the District Coalition to assist in the development of the annual action plan for that office.  The advisory board is to be composed of representatives of the member Neighborhood Associations within that office's boundaries.  This advisory board may include representatives of Business District Associations within that District Coalition's boundaries.
 
The director of the City-staffed District Coalition must ensure the office meets the following requirements:

1.   Organizational Status

a. As a City-staffed District Coalition, be in good standing and in compliance with all relevant City of Portland Codes and policy procedures. 
 
b. Be sanctioned by a Letter of Agreement between the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and all represented Neighborhood Associations within the geographical boundary of the respective City-staffed District Coalition.

2. Operating procedures of advisory board

Maintain a current copy of any operating procedures approved by representatives of at least 2/3rds of all represented Neighborhood Associations within the City-staffed District Coalition.
 
3.  Memorandum of Agreement
Administer all City funds through a Memorandum of Agreement.  Each Neighborhood Association in that District Coalition shall sign the Memorandum of Agreement. The scope of the Memorandum of Agreement shall encompass the following:

a. Annual Action Plan

The Memorandum of Agreement shall include an annual Action Plan.
 
b. Program Goals
The Memorandum of Agreement shall include a statement of Program Goals.
 
c. Program Functions
The Memorandum of Agreement shall include an itemized list of Program Functions.
 
d. Grievances
The Memorandum of Agreement shall include procedures for addressing grievances with a District Coalition and appeals from Neighborhood Associations or individuals.  (Refer to Section VII, D: Appeal and Grievance Procedures with District Coalitions)

E. Process for change in organizational affiliations of Neighborhood Associations and District Coalitions
 
Change in organizational affiliations for Neighborhood Associations and District Coalitions is a major issue which entails considerable time, communication and dollars.  Such action must not be undertaken lightly nor as a result of momentary problems or personality disputes.   Such action will require extensive coordination and communication between multiple Neighborhood Associations and District Coalitions.   In addition, such action may result in disbanding of an existing legal non-profit corporation and/or the formation of a new one. Many things will be affected and will have to be addressed including, but not limited to, the following: fiscal, corporate, and fudiciary considerations and consequential matters such as changing maps, brochures, and mailing lists.

1. Process for the Creation of a new District Coalition

a.   A minimum of six (6) adjacent Neighborhood Associations must determine that there are substantial positive reason(s) for creating a new District Coalition.
 
b.   Creating District Coalitions in which Neighborhood Associations do not share boundaries is not allowed.

c.   Each Neighborhood Association must determine a substantial positive reason(s) for moving and document deliberations for such reasoning in meeting minutes.
 
d.   Neighborhood Associations must pass a motion requesting a specific move to a new District Coalition by a super-majority (2/3) of the members present at a general membership annual meeting.  The required quorum must be met.
 
e.   Passage of the motion must be recorded in minutes of each of the respective Neighborhood Association meetings.
 
f.   Each Neighborhood Association will send a letter to the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement requesting approval of the move and creation of a new District Coalition.
 
g.   If necessary, the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement or designee will facilitate a discussion (or series of discussions) at which he/she determines if the request was properly dealt with by the Neighborhood Associations; if it is warranted; if it is acceptable to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement; and likely to be acceptable to other affected District Coalitions.
h.   The public shall be afforded the opportunity to provide comment.  A public meeting shall be held allowing for input.
 
i.   If the above conditions are NOT met and the Director of ONI feels further discussion will not lead to resolution; s/he notifies the Neighborhood Associations and the affected District Coalitions --in writing--that the request has been denied and the reason why.  This decision is final.  Reapplication to create a new coalition can occur a year later.
 
j.   If the above conditions ARE met, creation of a new District Coalition and subsequent move of Neighborhood Associations to that District Coalition may proceed according to the approved timetable.
 
k.   The Office of Neighborhood Involvement shall provide in writing to all affected parties a decision regarding the request. 
 
l.   If approved, new District Coalition boundaries will be implemented effective the succeeding July 1.
 
m.   The new coalition will be subject to following the applicable City Code and Office of Neighborhood Involvement Standards.
 
n.   Approval for the creation of a new District Coalition does not automatically guarantee City funding commensurate with other District Coalitions. 
 
o.   The new District Coalition shall be reaffirmed by a vote at the respective general membership meetings of 3/4 of the participating Neighborhood Associations and be re-approved by the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement one year after its original approval.
 
p. A new District Coalition structure representing its respective Neighborhood Associations must meet the following administrative requirements:

i. Maintain liability insurance for Neighborhood Associations comparable to that of those involved in the existing structure;
 
ii. Acquire a federal tax ID number as necessary for the transfer of funds;
 
iii. Incorporate under the laws of the State of Oregon if necessary for legal or financial reasons;

iv. Develop and sign a letter of agreement for operations with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, including an annual Action Plan; and,
 
v. Meet all requirements of District Coalitions as set forth in these Standards, except those specifically referring to service delivery structural issues.

2. Process for newly recognized or unaffiliated Neighborhood Association to affiliate with a District Coalition
 

a. To become affiliated with a District Coalition, a newly recognized Neighborhood Association that is currently not affiliated with a District Coalition shall obtain a letter of agreement with the appropriate District Coalition board and inform the Office of Neighborhood Involvement no later than the end of the current calendar year.  
 
b. Affiliation shall become effective at a time agreed to by the District Coalition board and the Neighborhood Association. (Same as Section III, C, 6: Newly recognized or unaffiliated Neighborhood Association's affiliation with a District Coalition.)

3.  Process for an existing Neighborhood Association to move from one District Coalition to join another

a. A Neighborhood Association must determine a substantial positive reason(s) for moving and document deliberations for such reasoning in meeting minutes.
 
b. Realigning a Neighborhood Association with a District Coalition with which it does not currently share a boundary is not allowed.
 
c. A Neighborhood Association must pass a motion requesting a specific move to a new District Coalition by a super-majority (2/3) of its general membership present at an annual meeting.
 
d. Passage of the motion must be recorded appropriately in the minutes of the meeting.
e. The Neighborhood Association sends the request, in writing, to the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement requesting approval of the move from one District Coalition to another.
 
f. If necessary, the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement or designee facilitates a discussion (or series of discussions) at which he/she determines if the request was properly dealt with by the Neighborhood Association; if it is warranted; if it is acceptable to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement; and likely to be acceptable to other affected District Coalitions.
 
g. If the above conditions are NOT met and the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement feels further discussion will not lead to resolution; s/he notifies the Neighborhood Association and the affected District Coalition--in writing--that the request has been denied.
 
h. If the above conditions ARE met, the process may proceed.
 
i. Each District Coalition shall discuss the move at a regularly scheduled board of directors meeting.  Official action by the board shall be taken on the request, results noted in minutes, and copies of minutes sent to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the other affected District Coalition and Neighborhood Associations.
 
j. The Office of Neighborhood Involvement shall provide in writing to all affected parties a decision regarding the request.  If approved, new District Coalition boundaries will be implemented--effective the succeeding July 1.

4. Changing from a City-staffed District Coalition to a Non-profit District Coalition and vice-versa
 
Changes to the structures developed for the delivery of Neighborhood Association services must meet the following criteria:

a. Shall be proposed in writing to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement at the request of a minimum of 3/4 of the recognized Neighborhood Associations within the same District Coalition area at the time of the request.
 
b. To join such a request, any Neighborhood Association shall have previously ratified its approval by a vote at a duly scheduled, publicized, and conducted general membership meeting.  Unless the bylaws of a Neighborhood Association state differently, the vote shall require a simple majority.
 
c. A public meeting shall be held allowing for input.  The public shall be afforded the opportunity to provide comment.
d. Shall have the concurrence of the Director of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement or her/his designee to ensure compliance with City policies and procedures.
 
e. Shall be capable of delivering comparable or better services--in kind, quantity, and quality--to those being delivered at the time of the request and/or contracted for at the time of the request.
 
f. Shall assure the Neighborhood Associations' continued and on-going compliance with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement Standards;
 
g. Shall be cost-neutral, unless additional funds are specifically provided by City Council or other sources.
 
h. Participating District Coalitions must:

i.  Maintain liability insurance for their Neighborhood Associations comparable to that held in the existing structure;
 
ii.  Acquire a federal tax ID number as necessary for the transfer of funds;
 
iii.   Incorporate under the laws of the State of Oregon if necessary for legal or financial reasons;
 
iv. Develop and sign a letter of agreement for operations with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, including an annual Action Plan; and,
 
v.  Meet all requirements of District Coalitions as set forth in these Standards, except those specifically referring to service delivery structural issues.

i. Shall be reaffirmed by vote one year after its original approval, at a general membership meeting, of each of 3/4 of the individual participating Neighborhood Associations and be re-approved by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement Director.
 
If reaffirmed following a one-year period, the new structure may not be substantially altered for a minimum of three additional years unless "unusual circumstances" (as decided by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement with advice from the Bureau Advisory Committee) arise.   Any such subsequent change(s) must meet the criteria of the original change, with the exception of changes due to reductions in funds or other emergencies.