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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

Main: 503-823-4519

City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 114, Portland, OR 97204

Engaging the Community in Government




The Office of Citizen Services and Communications at the US Government Services Administration has released a newsletter that includes short essays from a wide variety of democracy scholars, advocates, and practitioners, including Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Mike McGrath, Katie Stanton, Matt Leighninger, P.K. Agarwal, Jed Miller, Joe Goldman, Hille Hinsburg, and Lena Trudeau. Find it at:

March 2013 update: Newsletter no longer being produced and past editions cannot be found online.


How Local Government is Reinventing Civic Engagement


Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) released a major report detailing the innovative methods local governments around the country are using to increase civic engagement by the public:

“Local governments are at the cutting edge of finding new tools and methods to increase civic engagement in this country. We hope this report will stimulate new thinking within the philanthropic community, as well as in local governments around the country, and help spread the word about these new and successful approaches,” said Chris Gates, Executive Director of PACE. Combining original research with an overview of the literature and history of civic engagement and local government reform, the report highlights fresh insights from foundation leaders, civic experts, scholars, local officials and public engagement advocates."

Read the full report here:

How do we Build Will for Action on Critical Problems? This Friday!



Deliberative Democracy: Building Public Will for Action on Critical Problems

Friday May 29, 2009

1 pm to 5 pm, 5-7 pm Reception

White Stag Building, 70 NW Couch St. Portland, Oregon

What are the strategies and tactics for strengthening public discourse? How can deliberative processes be used as a vehicle for building public understanding of critical problems and develop commitment to long term policy solutions. This forum will share the findings from some of the leading applied researchers and practitioners with the goal of improving public discourse.


Open to the public. Registration required by emailing:


Flyer here:


Intersections between Community and Government


The promise and challenge of neighborhood democracy

At the end of 2008, Portland participated in a gathering of many cities that have experimented with creative ways to engage citizens in public decision-making and problem solving. 

Read what was learned here

Public Involvement & President Obama


Here's an interesting blog entry on how President Obama has been doing in his first six months in the area of public involvement from the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation:

On his first day in office, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a memorandum to leaders of executive departments and government agencies calling for a new era of transparency and open government.  In the memo, Obama asserted “we will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration,” and called for an Open Government Directive “that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum” on transparency, public participation, and collaboration.

Read about what happened after President Obama issued the Open Government directive here.