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Planning and Sustainability

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July 24, 3013 Meeting Summary

Demi Espinoza, Coalition of Communities of Color
Julia Meier, Coalition of Communities of Color
Claudia Arana-Colen, Upstream Public Health
Amanda Kelly Lopez,Wisdom Council of the Elders
Duncan Hwang , APANO
Les Shannon, Groundwork Portland
Vivian Satterfield, OPAL
Bill Beamer, BPS
Rachael Hoy, BPS
Linda Nettekoven, CAP Steering Committee Member
Kari Lyons-Eubanks, Multnomah County Health Department

Project Staff:
Tim Lynch – MultnomahCounty, Program Coordinator
Michele Crim – Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Program Manager
Desiree Williams-Rajee – Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Equity Specialist
Taren Evans – Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Climate Action Plan Equity Intern

Content/Technical Staff:
Steve Cohen – City of Portland, Food Policy and Programs
Katie Lynd –Multnomah County, Food Policy and Programs
Jenn Cairo – City of Portland, Parks – Urban Forestry
Sara Culp – City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Services – Natural Resources
Wendy Gibson – City of Portland, Facilities

Desiree Williams-Rajee welcomed everyone and did a round of introductions for working group members, CAP steering committee members and visiting staff.

Process Update
Desiree gave an update on the process, including a review of the purpose of the group. The City and County are interested in creating the opportunity for a dialogue between committee members and staff. The conference calls (in between weeks) will be mandatory going forward.

Section Discussions:
The following captures the discussion points and questions for each section:

Food and Agriculture

  • Because the food system is so complex, the inequities are throughout (workers, access, distribution, etc.). This should be kept in mind when crafting the actions.
  • Be cognizant of historical trauma related to food for some communities.
  • Developing equitable metrics related to food is going to help drive progress.
  • We need help to establish what the relationship is between issues like food access and climate change (e.g. reducing carbon emissions).
  • There is a staff level challenge to connect program delivery with the complex issues raised.
  • The County’s information related to health and the built environment might help to shed some light on opportunities to increase the availability of lower-carbon food (e.g. produce). (Kari distributed handout)
  • The co-benefits of health are an important consideration when talking about food choice and local food systems/production can support healthier options which also tend to be lower-carbon (e.g. not red meat).
  • There is more work that could be done to increase access to education about growing food. Missing opportunity to connect with youth inEast Portlandthrough programs like SUN Schools.
  • For a lot of communities of color, it is important that the work related to community gardens be culturally relevant – there may be a tension (e.g. their goal may be to keep themselves and/or their children out of the fields).
  • We need to be culturally sensitive as we promote community gardens, backyard chickens, etc. Who is included in the process of how we talk about and promote these programs, and what we say is “important” (e.g. is it considered morally superior because white people tend to do it).
  • Consider looking at history of foods in a culture, what is eaten today may not be reflective of historical norms which might be more in line with food choices that are climate friendly.
  • What would the action in the community look like if it was more culturally appropriate?
    • True collaboration with organizations that are already working with and are trusted by the communities (listen rather than direct).
    • If it just comes from the City/County, there is less of a chance for success.
    • Lents International farmers market is a good example (who is there, what is sold, where it comes from, languages spoken, etc.).
  • Are the educational materials culturally specific? e.g. are the city made signs about what can go in the composting representative of what various communities eat?
  • Any conversation about food choice really needs to be done through and with communities, not directed at them (i.e. it isn’t acceptable for people outside the community to come in and say “you need to change what you eat”).
  • There are also gender associations with food, as well as material links. These relationships need to be kept in mind.
  • Perception is reality – without fully incorporating communities of color into farmers markets, they will continue to be perceived as for white middle class people.
  • When you don’t reach out – it is very apparent who is welcome (farmers market, local businesses, etc.) in terms of who is hired, what is sold/served, etc.
  • Availability and affordability related to food is also important to consider.
  • Need to think about if the actions are trying to do too much – bit of too many things. There might be opportunities to be more strategic. For example, when talking about collaboration – be more clear about examples of who/how and things we know work.
  • Include additional language, maybe in the narrative, that really gets at how we need to look at these actions more holistically (to really understand the co-benefits, etc.). Food work is important beyond climate implications, should be looked at differently than other actions in the CAP.
  • Is there a need to increase the cultural competency of City and County staff so they are better able to deliver food related programs and outreach?
  • Really need to look at successes that have come from communities of color and low-income communities that aren’t necessarily led by local government.
  • There might be some increased opportunity to framing climate action around food for some communities of color and this should be explored.
  • Need to look at some interesting work related to food service industry – lower paid jobs are disproportionately people of color, higher paid jobs (e.g. bartender) are generally white.
  • We need to do more thinking about connection to gentrification and food issues (e.g. higher end restaurants moving in that don’t really serve the community they are in).
  • Need improved race and ethnicity data on utilization of food access options (e.g. grocery, farmers markets, CSAs, food banks, etc.) and food education programs.
  • Is there an opportunity to focus on some priority residents (e.g. elders) – are there opportunities for community based organizations to be involved with distribution?
  • Incentivizing green practices at food related businesses is an area to explore.
  • Young people seem to be missing from the actions as currently crafted. How do we set the foundation for the behaviors we are trying to achieve in the future? This relates to the earlier culturally appropriate discussions.

Urban Forestry and Natural Systems

  • The City has had a goal on the books since 2004 to increase tree planting in underserved areas. Not a lot of progress has been made on this goal, and the City is interested in ideas on how to address some of the challenges to making progress.
  • Other sustainability goals like infill/density projects with zero lot lines can inhibit tree canopy.
  • City’s ability to maintain existing tree infrastructure is limited. People need to see the value in trees in order secure additional resources. Trees can be seen as a liability (maintenance costs etc.)
  • The infrastructure inParkroseis so bad (e.g. no sidewalks) – so it is hard to know where to plant trees where future infrastructure might impact those trees. Once the infrastructure is in place, then communities might be more interested in trees.
  • How do we create the balance in access to green space?
  • It is a particular challenge for renters – how can renters advocate for getting yard/street trees.
  • There is a need for an action for partnerships – even across the city bureaus. The options vary across the city – what works in the inner neighborhoods is different than eastPortlandbecause of differences in planter strip sizes, etc. How could a partnership framework help when working on existing properties? Need to look holistic at neighborhood needs.
  • Ideas could include addressing tree canopy through zoning/codes, such as increasing minimum green space requirements with multifamily housing or
  • Require more green space in new multi-family development, require landlords to maintain trees on rental properties or other policy or zoning code measures.
  • Revisit Diggable Cities project.
  • Use the County’s heat vulnerability index to look at priority areas for trees and green space.
  • The actions feel comfortable – on target. What is challenging is that there is so much local government money that goes out the door in contracts to do these things. None of that money goes into organizations of color. The “what” is fine, the “how” is flawed. This is frustrating – we need to allocate the dollars to organizations to build the capacity of communities and organizations of color to be able to do this work. There needs to be hard targets about dollar allocation if we are going to get there. Living Cully is a good example of a successful model – and should be replicated.
  • Getting stakeholder involvement that is more diverse in the natural resource planning areas is a key.
  • Was the Tree Code looked at with any sort of an equity lens?
  • One barrier to maintenance is space – people in small homes or apartments - community tool sheds could help.
  • There is a clear workforce development opportunity. Need to increase resources for capacity development of organization to do this kind of work. Include hard investment targets.Opportunityto create a strong sense of community ownership over the work.
  • Look at projects like Living Cully for examples of community driven process.
  • How can programs, like the tree steward training program, reach a more diverse audience?
  • Lack of diversity, gender, and race/ethnicity in the natural resource field is a challenge.
  • Need to think about a master community outreach plan so that community organizations aren’t overwhelmed with doing food one day, trees another, etc. Need to be careful about not exceeding capacity of organizations to help with this work.
  • BES has been looking at new tree planting models to try to reach underserved communities.
  • A diverse community conversation about what money can be used to plant trees, expand and restore green space, etc. – there are often tensions in where money should be spent if it is connected to improving water quality/sewer system.
  • The rate question is a huge question – how can the needs of underserved communities be built into the decision-making process; because community organizations will have limited capacity to engage in this issue.
  • Tensions in priorities – bioswales get installed in areas/intersections that are very unsafe and need traffic improvements. Need to be aware of potential tensions or mixed messages when taking some actions (e.g. why did the City spend money on a bioswale here where there is a clear need for traffic safety improvements)?

 Local Government

  • One of the challenges related to government operations is the proximity/location of facilities, especially the large facilities with lots of staff/size/energy use.
  • We need to utilize contractors that are MWESB and continue to strengthen and ensure enforcement of City and County procurement rules/processes that are designed to ensure MWESBs are hired when possible.
  • The data given for MWESBs is usually done in aggregate, breaking it up helps understand what is really happening (e.g. most likely go to emerging small businesses owned by white men).
  • Web and video conferencing – this isn’t accessible to many communities. Communities want to see City/County staff in person, not on a computer. This action should be more clear about what is intended.
  • Day laborers get hired through sub-sub-sub-contracting, fairly far removed from the contractor given the bid. How could this be regulated? It is something to be cognizant of. Hiring a day laborer is a good thing, but we need to make sure those individuals are not taken advantage of.
  • Need to identify the barriers to MWESB participation in public procurements. Are there resources or assistance to help MWESBs navigate the City/County procurement systems? Direct engagement with the community is important around opportunities is important.
    • Will consolidation of services (due to budget cuts, etc.) – result in less access for some communities?
    • Workforce diversification of local jurisdictional staff that relate to these programs and actions? Who are the staff that are interfacing with these actions? Think about strategies to increase that diversity in a culturally appropriate way. Would be really great to look at that data through time.
    • How do we bring young people into the careers and services the City/County are doing – (especially those actions/work/careers related to climate action).
    • Is there equitable distribution of the positives?
    • Have we looked at where/how investments in new technologies for street lights and traffic signals? Are communities of color and low-income communities getting these new technologies?

Parking Lot Ideas For Future Consideration

  • How will the CAP present/frame interrelated areas? (eg. food access is a transportation issue).
  • How does the CAP relate to other plans? (eg. tree planting can be looked as part of Neighborhood Plans).
  • Consider energy efficiency in food related business.
  • Develop a unified community outreach strategy for CAP related activities (food, trees, energy) to avoid overwhelming community based organizations and other outreach partners.
  • Need to look at traffic safety as part of the Urban Form and Mobility section.

Introduction to Buildings and Energy

  • Michele Crim reviewed the two-page overview of buildings and energy, including how much of the local emissions are from building energy use, where our energy comes from (how much comes from coal and natural gas), the need to focus on both efficiency and conservation, energy sources as well as existing buildings and new construction.

Grantee Check-in

  • There is interest in continuing to explore the procurement and providing more feedback related to City/County procurement practices beyond hiring MWESBs, etc. Desiree will think about options to continue this discussion (which may or may not be a good fit for a group meeting).
  • Logistics – there needs to be fewer emails. It is very overwhelming. One point of contact would be better than multiple contacts. A standardized frequency of emails would be appreciated. Need help filtering what is most important.
  • For those organization that have multiple representatives, additional clarification of communication flow needs to be clear.
  • How does the group want to approach the next CAP Steering Committee meeting? That should continue to be discussed as we get nearer to the meeting.
  • Conference calls will be mandatory. Grant agreement for 30-50 hours per month was reconfirmed. Now that the project work plan has been created specifics for how that time would be used are now more clear.
  • The EQWG will get feedback on how their ideas and feedback were incorporated into the draft when the 50% draft is created. After the review of the narratives, the group will have to discuss next steps for ongoing involvement. The grant contract will end before the final version of the update is available. We will need to make sure we discuss ongoing relationship with the plan process once the grant contract has been met.

Tim and Desiree will set up regular check-ins with organizations.