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Summary Meeting Notes: July 19, 2012 for Community Involvement PEG

Date: July 19, 2012

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

PEG Attendees: Kyle Brown, Nickole Cheron, Greg Greenway, Denver Igarta, Paul Leistner/ PEG co-lead, Morgan Masterman, Linda Nettekoven, Mike VanderVeen, Robb Wolfson

Other Attendees: Sandra Wood, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability/observing for Marty Stockton (BPS); Lee Perlman, community member and reporter for the Southeast Examiner

Facilitator: Deb Meihoff

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


Key Points and Outcomes 

  • Identified Elements of Good Public Involvement for Land Use Planning and Development Review (first draft) that will frame development of updated comprehensive plan policies
  • Refined PEG work plan to organize by community involvement element
  • August meeting will include presentations on how the various planning and development processes guided by the comprehensive plan work today and will begin to discuss existing and potential new policy language for a two of the priority elements
  • The PEG survey will be finalized, including questions about a few of the key public involvement elements, and distributed through community networks prior to the next meeting.


Welcome Introductions, and Announcements (10 minutes)

Presenter: Self-introductions.

Groups working on Community Involvement and the Comprehensive Plan Update (15 minutes) 

Presenter: Paul Leistner, Office of Neighborhood Involvement and PEG Co-lead

Summary: Reviewed roles and relationships of the PEG to other groups working on community involvement with relationship to the Comprehensive Plan update:

  • Community Involvement Committee (CIC) - appointed by the Planning and Sustainability Commission with the legal mandate to oversee community involvement in the Comprehensive Plan update; members are sitting on all of the PEGs and report directly to the Commission.
  • Public Involvement Advisory Council (PIAC) - the PIAC was appointed by City Council to improve the quality and consistency of public involvement across City government and to create guidelines for how City government engages with the public on the decisions that impact them. The PIAC is guided by the Council-adopted Principles of Public Involvement; some members of the PIAC sit on the Community Involvement PEG. PIAC reports directly to City Council.
  • PIAC Comprehensive Plan Work Group - The PIAC has created a subcommittee to review and support the update of the Comp Plan Public Involvement goal. Many members of this PIAC work group also are members of the CI PEG. The PIAC Work Group members will meet monthly between the CI PEG meetings and will work on assignments that support the work of the CI PEG. All work of the PIAC Work Group will be shared with and reviewed by the CI PEG members. The PIAC Work Group will not make any decisions or policy choices for the CI PEG. CI PEG members are welcome—but not required to--attend the PIAC Work Group meetings. PIAC Work Group members will keep PIAC members informed of the work of the CI PEG.


The CI PEG co-leads are working with the CI PEG and PIAC Work Group to develop and implement a community outreach strategy to obtain community input on gaps in public involvement in the current system and ideas for improvements. The first element in this CI PEG outreach strategy is a community survey.

The CIC is developing and, with staff assistance, will carry out a broader community outreach program for the Comprehensive Plan update, as a whole.

Some key steps in the formal review and approval process for the CI PEG’s draft Comp Plan goals and objectives include:

  • Formal public review and comments on the Comp Plan update “discussion draft”
  • Additional work by the CI PEG
  • BPS staff preparation of a final draft
  • Review by the Planning and Sustainability Commission
  • Review and approval by City Council.


Our (updated) process going forward (5 minutes)

Presenter: Deb Meihoff, facilitator

Summary: At each meeting, updates and next steps will be outlined for the PIAC work group and PEG outreach efforts. Summary meeting notes will be sent out with agendas at least 1 week prior to each meeting. We will check in at the end of each meeting to determine needed adjustments, progress, issues, process improvements, etc. PEG members are always welcome to contact Deb, Paul, and/or Marty between meetings and we will check in with PEG members along the way.

A CI PEG member commented on the recruitment process for the CI PEG and suggested that it would have been better if the selection process had been a full and open process similar to that used to recruit members to the other PEGS rather then initially drawing from existing PIAC members.


Defining the Elements of Good Public Involvement in Land Use Planning and Development Review (60 minutes)

Group Discussion

Summary: The group discussed ways to use the City’s adopted Public Involvement Principles (“PI Principles”) as the basis for developing Comprehensive Plan public involvement policy language.  The group also reviewed and discussed best practices drawn from the Portland Plan Equity Framework andCalifornia’s Institute for Local Government (CA-ILG) Public Engagement Principles.

  • All of the PI Principles need to be translated into the Comprehensive Plan, but some of them may need to be split into more than one topic (example: Partnership addresses involving citizens in decision-making and the need to communicate how public input is used.) The CA-ILG principles are very clearly written and provide many good examples of the direct and discrete organization of elements.
  • Discussion about elements from the CA-ILG principles that should be considered:
  1. “Accessible Participation”. A specific element related to accessibility is desirable. The related CA-ILG principle discusses both broad accessibility issues/barriers, including “location, time, language” as well as specifically calling out the need to “support the engagement of residents with disabilities.” The PI Principles reference accessibility under the “Transparency” principle. Group members discussed how accessibility can be talked about in two ways:  accessibility for everyone regardless of status or geography, vs. “barrier free” accessibility.
  2. “Inclusive Planning.” Policy or goals should capture the need to involve citizens in the design of public involvement processes, and include this as an indicator of success.
  3. “Informed Participation”. Community members should have the “information they need” and “the capacity to participate” in a meaningful way. Staff should be empowered to engage in community education as an important way to ensure informed participation. Community education has a strong connection to relationship building between government and community members. The PI Principles “Partnership” and “Transparency” include aspects of the CA-ILG’s “informed participation” principle
  4. “Transparency”. The CA-ILG “transparency” principle focuses on the clarity of and understanding by the public about the public involvement process. The PI Principles “transparency” principle focuses on access to information about policy and decision-making processes. Transparency and accountability are important elements in the community’s ability to “have an impact” on decision making. Processes should be transparent early on by telling people how they can influence the process and the outcome and at the end of the process by telling people how their input had an impact.


  • Other comments about the Elements of Good Public Involvement
  1. The key elements need to be translated into goal and objective language that will have a real effect on the way city staff involve the public in long-range planning and development inPortland.
  2. “Early Involvement” needs to express the connections to relevancy and transparency, and could include priority setting, involvement in process design, and formal notification.
  3. “Priority setting should be two-way street.”  Community members should be able to come forward with ideas of what they want and need and have a voice in determining which topics get attention and action.” This needs to become a standard of how we do business.
  4. “Early assessment”. Every planning and development project that takes guidance from the Comprehensive Plan should begin with a quick “interest and impact” assessment that identifies the level and nature of stakeholder interest and potential impacts. This assessment will help determine the level and breadth of process needed. One suggestion was that every city project should have a “public involvement strategy” whether the project requires extensive public involvement or minimal involvement.
  5. “Processes should fit the scope/scale of different projects.” One suggestion was to develop a spectrum of five different levels of processes from large projects with broad impacts to small local projects.
  6. “CurrentCityprocess requirements vary a lot.” The City Code currently imposes very different public process requirements for different types of projects and across different bureaus. Group members agreed they need to learn more about these existing requirements. community members can become frustrated when they have experience with high levels of process in one area (such as the extensive notice, review drafts, hearings, appeals, etc. in formal land use planning) and find much less formal involvement in other city decision-making processes.
  7.  “Involvement throughout the life of a project.” Group members discussed projects that may span many years in which community members are involved in problem definition and project design early on but funding for implementation may not become available until years later. At that time, a different set of community members may complain that they weren’t involved or the project is not longer needed. Group members agreed that public involvement strategies need to ensure involvement throughout the life of this kind of project.


Initial list of elements to be addressed in the policy draft of the Comprehensive Plan (look to CA-ILG principles as good example of clear communication in layout):

  • Partnership
  • Early Involvement
  • Building Relationships
  • Building Community Capacity
  • Inclusiveness
  • Equity
  • Good Quality and Appropriate Process Design
  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Authentic Intent
  • Informed Participation
  • Accessible Participation
  • Feedback to Participants
  • Process Evaluation
  • [elements of Title VI/Civil Rights Act not already addressed in the above]





Work Plan Priorities (10 minutes)

Presenter: Deb Meihoff

Summary: PEG members generally prefer adjusting the work plan to align with the Elements, rather than the type of planning project. There was discussion about the many different types of projects and that not all planning or development projects are directed by the Comprehensive Plan.  Staff will arrange for presentations at the next PEG meeting to provide an overview of Comprehensive Plan processes related to land use, development review, and capital improvement/public facility planning - timing, typical process approach, how the Comprehensive Plan is currently used and how it could be used in the future. Following the presentations, PEG members will begin working through details of existing and needed policy for each of the elements, starting with Transparency and Process Design in August.


Finalize Outreach Survey (10 minutes)

Presenter: Paul Leistner, Office of Neighborhood Involvement and PEG Co-lead

Summary: Paul reviewed the final draft and agreed to use the PEG’s discussion to populate the section that addresses a handful of Elements. The PEG requested the background section of the survey be provided through a web link to a separate page, so that the user will get to the survey questions quickly. Beyond the survey, PEG members would like to understand the broader outreach strategy - what we are trying to learn and how it is influencing the PEG’s work - specific methods, timing, and community members that will be reached through each effort, including the survey. Staff will finalize and distribute the survey before the next PEG meeting.


Public Comment (5 minutes)

  • Lee Perlman, community member and freelance reporter, commented that he would like the Comprehensive Plan to maintain a role for neighborhood plans and that the existing neighborhood plans be updated along with the Comprehensive Plan update. 


Next Steps

  • PEG Co-leads will revise PEG work plan to reflect new approach by Element - two to three elements to be discussed at each PEG meeting
  • Co-leads will prepare for the August meeting, presentations on different types of land use, development review, and capital project planning processes that are guided by the Comprehensive Plan - what they are, existing policy, and the typical process currently used
  • Co-leads will finalize and distribute the PEG’s community survey, with assistance from the PIAC’s Comprehensive Plan work group.
  • Co-leads and the PIAC’s Comprehensive Plan work group will work to draft an overall community outreach strategy for the PEG with details on methods, timing, purpose, target audiences