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November 30, 2005 Meeting Notes for BIP #9: Public Involvement

Team Members in Attendance:
Eileen Argentina, Barbara Hart, Christine Egan, Gay Greger, Sanjeev Balajee (on behalf of Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong), Sandra LeFrancois, Karen Withrow, Lynne Coward, Tim Hall, Romeo Sosa, Laurel Butman, Duke Shepard, Rick Williams.
Team Members Not Present:
Jo Ann Bowman, Brian Hoop, Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong, Art Alexander, Sarah Bott, Sue Diciple, Gretchen Hollands, Linda Hunter, Joleen Jensen-Classen.
Guests: Paul Leistner          Staff: Maija Spencer
1. Greetings/Introductions
2.  Notes:  Notes from October 26 meeting were unanimously approved.   Laurel moved, and Christine seconded.
3.  Public Comment:  Paul Leistner made the following comments.  He expressed his concern about the public being involved in these committees and whether there is drop-off in participation.  Also, how is past work from the public involvement task force and other efforts being incorporated?  The limited time for public comment and limited public involvement in this committee is another issue. 
Finally, this committee is doing great work, but it seems the Mayor’s Office may be missing the bigger picture.  This is an issue of culture change at the City.  This committee should have begun with an overall work plan for all future work on addressing culture change at the City and recommended that future work address the remaining pieces of the plan following this committee’s work. 
4.  Update on coordination with BIP #1 (Community Visioning) & BIP #8 (ONI Review):  The steering committees of 1, 8, & 9 had a meeting to coordinate efforts, since the goals of these 3 groups overlap.  There were about 15-20 people around the table. 
The Visioning Project (BIP #1) is asking the big philosophical questions and has a lot of overlap with BIP # 8.  BIP #9 has a more limited scope, in terms of focusing on creating consistent practices for the City to use that meet the public’s expectations.  This team, BIP #9, should provide practices and tools that can be adapted to whatever comes out of the visioning project.  Mayor Potter will be speaking about his vision of community governance at BIP #8’s team meeting on January 4th, 2006, at 6:30 pm, location to be decided.  All are welcome to attend.
The issue of timing was discussed, as this team plans to be done by June/July 2006.  BIP #1’s work will not finish until well beyond that, as they plan to finish around December 2006.  We may need to recommend a Phase 2 or cycle of evaluation to adapt our work to the visioning process outcomes. 
Discussion after this report from the coordination meeting included:
  • It was asked if teams # 8 & #1 have not done their work yet, how can we start?  The answer was that this team should create tools that are adaptable, fairly generic, and will continue to work over time.  We know generally that the public in Portland expects a consistent experience in public involvement, and there are basic things that can be improved in the City.  The consensus was that this team should continue its work, continually stay informed on #1 and #8’s efforts, and create a product that can be adjusted as needed.  This team could also recommend another review of its efforts following the outcome of the visioning efforts.
  • Can this team ensure the public gets listened to?  How can their input /ideas be heard?  For example, how do you get a project to happen in your neighborhood if it is not already part of a plan?  We need to address the info and ideas coming from the community and show there was consideration of the input.
  • The public involvement handbook was also discussed.  This is the one product on our work plan that already exists – it just needs updating.  There is no formal structure for revising the handbook currently, but it has happened over the years.  The handbook is posted online, and has a place to submit comments on the website. 
  • How is there overlap between all the BIP projects? It was suggested there should be a liaison between the groups that has a place on the agenda for updating the other teams.  Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong is the crossover between teams #8 and #9, and she will return in January.  It was also explained that BIP #2 is the implementation team which meets the first Thursday of every month to hear updates from all the BIP teams and coordinate efforts.  These meetings are open to the public.
  • What about issues that cross over multiple bureaus? Is there a cross-bureau group that meets about public involvement? There is not an established meeting time – over the years, there have been various efforts.  There are lists of public involvement staff, but they do not often get the opportunity to meet. Christine Egan said she would work to set up a meeting.
  • It was suggested that there could be a city academy that teaches civics and how the City works internally.  PDC and PDOT both do these type of classes and give out scholarships to citizen activists.  The products we are creating will need to taught to the public, otherwise they may get trapped inside government.
4.  Project Classification
Work Item:  Barbara gave a brief overview of the Columbia Corridor Area Scoping Effort, a Planning Bureau project that is currently in the early scoping stage.
Discussion included:
  • How was the need for this project identified?  Planning staff identified some issues which arose out of other planning processes and what they were hearing from community groups/stakeholders around natural resource issues.  Input came from residents, advocacy groups, stakeholders, agency partners, businesses, permit seekers, etc.  Interviews with stakeholders were done to test out ideas.
  • The Moreland matrix talks about what you do.  In this case, we are asking when do you do it?   
  • This early scoping stage is difficult – it is a case of what comes first – do you define the problem or let the public define it?  The early stages of a project can be kind of messy.  It is hard to be succinct/clear enough so that the public knows what they are commenting on.
  • How would you categorize this project?  The scope isn’t yet defined.  Area improvement, policy developing, service planning – it could fit all of these areas. 
  • Maybe one of the tools this group creates can focus on how to expand citizen entry into process. 
  • Idea was suggested for matrix that each phase of a project would have different procedures/tools. Entry, Scoping, Planning, Implementation.  Maybe also: service and policy, depending on the bureaus involved. 
  • Value-based classification was also brought up.  Impact on basic needs of human beings in the area, i.e. health.  Other impacts would be social and economic impact on type of people and number of people.  
  • How do projects/ideas get identified/originate?  This should be discussed further.
  • The matrix assumes a change in the status quo.  However, there is also a problem getting the city to actually follow through with existing, already adopted policy.  The City should ask how new requests fits into current policies and plans, and then go to the next stage.  New projects shouldn’t wipe out existing projects.
5.  Plan Next Meeting 
It was agreed that Wednesday, December 14th from 6:30-8:30 pm would work as a replacement for the December 28th meeting.  An agenda will be sent out one week prior.