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October 26, 2005 Meeting Notes for BIP #9: Public Involvement

Team Members Present: Eileen Argentina, JoAnn Bowman, Laurel Butman, Lynne Coward, Gay Greger, Barbara Hart, Brian Hoop, Gretchen Hollands, Linda Hunter, Joleen Jensen-Classen, Lynn Knox on behalf of Beth Kaye, Sandra LeFrancois, Duke Shepard.
 
Team Members Not Present: Art Alexander, Sarah Bott, Sue Diciple, Christine Egan, Tim Hall, Mary Jo Markle, Romeo Sosa, Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong, Rick Williams, Karen Withrow.
 
Guests: Paul Leistner,Steve Hoyt.                               Staff:  Maija Spencer.
 
1. Introductions/Review of Agenda:
Announcements:Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong’s baby, Lucianne Chan Kennedy-Wong, was born on October 16th.  
 
2. Public Comment Time:
There will be time allotted for public comment at the beginning of every meeting, starting tonight.
 
BOARDS & COMMISSIONS: There was a question raised about whether the part of the goal addressing “boards & commissions” will still happen.  The answer was that the consensus seems to be to get the rest of the work done first, and then see if there is time for this part of the goal.  JoAnn and Eileen will check in with the Mayor’s office to get further instructions on their expectations.  JoAnn and Eileen are also planning to meet with BIP # 8 to coordinate efforts, and this may fit in with that team’s work as well.
 
3.  Approve Notes:
Notes from the September 28, 2005 meeting were approved, with no changes needed.
 
4.  Accept Revised Goal Statement:
Final suggestions included:
  • Insert “publicly shared expectations” in first sentence.
  • Change “and creating” to “to create.”
  • Part about boards & commissions – should this be changed?
The team agreed to approve the goal statement, with the above changes.  The “boards & commissions” part will remain for now, until the Mayor’s office is consulted with.  The website will be updated to reflect this new goal.
 
5. Project Classification:
The discussion focused on 4 different examples of public involvement models that were sent out prior to the meeting and are available on the website: Warringah, PDC, Moreland, & Western Power.
 
Comments from the discussion included:
  • We should start with our own set of principles or values to guide creation of a matrix, and we also should create a purpose statement that is more specific than the overall goal to introduce the matrix.
  • Based on our goal, we will clearly come up with a matrix of some sort.  The more difficult part may be determining what will be the triggers that make public involvement necessary, as this will require determining values.
  • Need to discuss typical types of projects that happen.  What types of projects are we talking about?
  • There is a public involvement manual for the City, but it is not clear when to use the different types of tools available.  It is up to knowledgeable staff to make the right decision – inexperienced staff may not, and, as a result, get into trouble.
  • Concern that these specific categories of projects may leave out essential projects.
  • Can’t get everything into this chart.  Need another step that asks “who is the community?”
  • This group was selected for its expertise – let’s get this to a certain product & then take out the public. As well, take these discussions and materials to our constituents that we work with & get their input. 
  • Consensus from the discussion was that any product from this team should be:
    • Visual & easy to use.
    • Not too prescriptive – need to encourage/stimulate thought process rather than just telling people how to get there.
    • Easily understood/transferable.
    • Needs to be consistent with principles & reflect them.
    • Integrates/coordinates with bureau operations.
QUESTION ABOUT SERVICES VS. PROJECTS:
  • It was asked whether this team is focusing only on special projects or day-to-day operations, as well. 
  • Day-to-day services may fall under “customer services” issues, which BIP #7 is working on.
  • Public involvement does happen with regular services, too.  Example: streets were not getting cleaned in NW – complaints came in, and PDOT did a public involvement process to get the streets cleaned.
  • This team’s work is focused on any changes being contemplated by the City –whether in a regular service or a new project.
WARRINGAH COUNCIL MODEL:
  • Warringah: very visual/charts/very clear & simple. 
  • Might be too abstract/vague.
WESTERN POWER:
  • Useful chart on degree of desired involvement on p. 8 (figure 2). 
PDC HANDBOOK:
  • Good part is it asks how to identify your community – to ensure that what you might see as a “light bulb” issue might be more than that.
  • Very prescriptive – almost too quantitative/numerical and directs user in only one direction.
  • Not user-friendly/too lengthy – shouldn’t overburden staff or the public trying to understand or comply with it.
  • PDC has valid, insightful questions beyond the numbers about considering the community.  
MORELAND MODEL:
  • Page 8 has a chart that categorizes different types of projects.  This would be very clear and simple for a staff member to use.
  • Moreland keeps it simple from a value-based perspective – not full of government lingo. Operates under basic principles.  It also lays out good questions.
  • Most activities would fit into the categories in Moreland, except it was suggested that “budget processes” should be added to the service planning category.
  • Will Moreland work in leading to answers? Some projects are big, yet some are small in each category. Maybe using matrix is a first step. The 2nd step is looking at the magnitude of the project.
  • Another step is to think about decision or projects that do not fit neatly into a category.
USE OF CASE STUDIES:
  • It was decided that the team should think of two projects where public involvement went well, and two projects where it went poorly (one big, one small). 
  • For now, we will start with the Moreland model, and use these examples to go through the Moreland case.  Next meeting, we will discuss what the results would have been had this model been used.
  • Submit case study ideas to the steering committee by next week, and they will pick 4 case studies to discuss at the next meeting.
  • Team members should discuss this model with people they know (members of the public/other bureau staff) and ask for their opinions.
  • Jot ideas for a values & purpose statement (like Moreland uses), as you go through the model. 
  • What isn’t working with this model? What could be better?  What do we need to make it work better?  Jot down & bring these ideas to the group. 
EARLY INVOLVEMENT:
  • It might be useful to discuss at a future meeting what “early involvement” means and what is early enough. Ideally, this process can create tools to get people involved earlier to reduce their frustrations.
  • Most of the public has little time to research pros/cons of a project.  Maybe the product can create a requirement that project info is laid out clearly and is accessible to all.
  • Civics isn’t taught in school any more – only a small amount of citizens understand what the City does & how to get involved.  Need to recognize that this is giving power to a very small percentage of the public. 
  • The City should better acknowledge receipt of public comments and show a response to them, to encourage involvement.
6.  Committee Work Plan:
 
The team discussed the work plan.
  • Clarification about what “questionnaire” means.
  • Try to reflect more time for closure in the work plan or scale back scope.
  • Put in early involvement discussion.
  • Policy template refers to any policy created by this team.  This team may ask Council to create some expectations/policy direction for the bureaus.  
  • May need to say that boards and commissions task will not get done.
  • Public outreach for this team might be merged with BIP # 1 and # 8’s efforts. BIP #1 has a small pool of money that may be available to this team for outreach.
  • There is a draft public involvement handbook that needs some feedback.  Laurel will post this online and ask the team to submit comments.   
  • The final product of this team likely will be this handbook and whatever other products we are create.
  • Eileen and JoAnn will provide an update on this team to the BIP Implementation Team meeting on December 1.  They also will be meeting with bureau directors/council members and reporting to them about the team, as well as getting their feedback.
7. PLAN NEXT MEETING/HOLIDAY SCHEDULE:
  • The next meeting, November 30th was agreed upon by the group present that this date will be fine, as it is a week after Thanksgiving.
  • The last Wednesday of December (December 28) falls the week between Christmas & New Year’s – many members would not be able to make this date. 
  • December 14th was proposed to replace the December 28th meeting – all agreed this would be fine.    
  • Please submit any ideas for locations for meetings to Maija.
  • Gay Greger will check on East Portland CC, and Linda Hunter will check on Albina Youth Opportunity School on Mississippi .