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Celebrating Birthdays Around Oregon’s Kitchen Table

This is our birthday—well, not our exact birthday, but I guess our birth season.  As it turns out, we were so busy launching the Oregon Values and Beliefs Survey last month, we didn’t take time to blow out the candles!  But, where cake’s concerned, it’s always better late than never.  Since Oregon’s Kitchen Table was born a year—and a few days—ago, over 3,500 Oregonians have “taken a seat” and given their thoughtful opinions on everything from healthcare choices to county services.  We have made new friends across the state and have had a chance to take a peek at many of your kitchen tables through the photographs you’ve submitted.  We have made mistakes and made course corrections and even laughed at ourselves.  We have learned a lot and dreamed big dreams for the future.  Most of all, we have felt grateful to share this state with so many tremendous and generous Oregonians.

We chose the metaphor of the Kitchen Table for all of those reasons—because the kitchen table is a place where we gather to talk over the hard stuff and sort out our differences.  Because the table is where we laugh together but also where we decide how to spend our money and where to send the five-year-old to school.  We set priorities, check in, and change our mind if we need to.  So, we are glad to have spent this year at the Kitchen Table with you.

The current consultation – the 2013 Oregon Values and Beliefs Survey—is a doozy!  It is a follow-on from the Values and Beliefs surveys from 1992 and 2002 and will be critical in informing decision-makers for at least the next ten years.  Because the Kitchen Table is open to all Oregonians, everyone who wants to can participate.  That is new, and it is awesome!  So, I hope everyone will take advantage of the opportunity.

Today is my actual birthday.  And to celebrate my state and its dedicated, quirky, creative citizens, I’m going to do two things. First, I’m going to send a reminder to my friends and family to sign up for Oregon’s Kitchen Table and to take the 2013 Oregon Values and Beliefs Survey.  Second, I am going to make a donation to Oregon’s Kitchen Table so we can keep serving Oregon and Oregonians for years to come.  I wonder if you’ll join me in doing something to celebrate all these birthdays—encourage your friends to join and complete the V&B survey, post a picture of your kitchen table on our Facebook page, make a contribution to the Table.   Thanks for anything you can do to support our virtual gathering place.

So, when I blow out my candles tonight, I’ll be thinking of all of you and wishing for another great year around Oregon’s Kitchen Table.  Happy Birthday to and from the Table!

Wendy Willis