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To imagine how Portland will evolve in 25 years, all one has to do is look at the student bodies of our schools: 46 percent of K-12 students in Multnomah County are people of color. Furthermore, 14 percent of Portlanders are immigrants from other countries. That means by 2035—the horizon of the Portland Plan—the demographic make-up of the City will be very different than it is today.
Population shifts are a given in any city over time, and Portland is following a national trend. To take advantage of this potential strength, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) is partnering with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s (ONI) Diversity and Civic Leadership (DCL) Program to engage diverse communities in the shaping of the Portland Plan in culturally appropriate, relevant and meaningful ways. This partnership is also designed to build long-term relationships between the bureau and DCL organizations. Through capacity-building grants from the bureau, each partner organization will develop approaches that are best matched to the needs and interests of their particular communities and to the strengths and missions of each organization.
The following organizations are participating:
* Latino Network cultivates the Latino community to strengthen community voice and support relationships between community members and service organizations.
* Center for Intercultural Organizing builds a multicultural, multiracial movement for immigrant and refugee rights.
* Urban League of Portland helps empower African Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment and economic security through a combination of direct services, outreach and advocacy.
* Native American Youth and Family Center works to enrich the lives of Native American youth and families through education, community involvement and culturally specific programming.
* Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization provides employment, family, senior, training, health, youth and community development services for globally diverse immigrants and refugees who settle in Portland.
Since the visionPDX process began in 2005, the bureau has been hearing from Portlanders about the importance of listening to the entire community — not just the people coming to workshops and other meetings. Because DCL works to improve the neighborhood system by fully engaging residents of Portland from all cultural, social and economic walks of life, a partnership with them was key.
“I am excited to see the Portland Plan team working hard to include the voices of those who historically have not been included through addressing equity in the Portland Plan,” said Jeri Williams, DCL program manager at ONI. “I was thrilled to see the mayor’s commitment to equity in this process. I think he is dedicated to hearing from all Portlanders.”
The Portland Plan will be the city’s roadmap for the future, guiding our direction as the city grows and changes. In response to public comments, the staff is placing a high emphasis on the issue of equity for the Portland Plan, and Mayor Adams has tasked Commissioner Amanda Fritz to ensure the Portland Plan team is fully engaging with diverse communities within the city.
Many Portlanders are needed throughout the process of drafting, refining and implementing the Portland Plan, and these community groups will help ensure that Portlanders of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds will have a hand in the creation of the plan.
“Intentional and targeted outreach to these communities through the organizations that have existing relationships to them is key to collecting valuable input and feedback,” said Williams.
For more information about the Portland Plan, visit www.pdxplan.com.