As part of the City of Portland Office of Civic Life’s Portland Engagement Project (PEP), the City convened a series of PEP Talks on April 27, 28, and 29, 2023 in partnership with Oregon’s Kitchen Table and the Center for Public Service, both housed in the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. The PEP Talks were supported by the City of Portland staff, OKT staff, students and faculty from the Center for Public Service, and numerous community partners. The PEP Talks identified four international guests whose expertise was relevant to questions being posed by the City of Portland. The international guest experts were joined by local community leaders and experts who provided the context and history of engagement in the City of Portland.
This summary of the effort emphasizes three themes of equitable engagement organized into the broad categories of people, place, and practice. The results of the PEP Talks Summit also revealed three anchoring needs for equitable engagement in the City. These include:
This report concludes with guiding questions that the City may use to inform its engagement efforts. Taken together, these may be considered as the City explores its next steps and synthesizes these results with other initiatives.
The City will be sharing the video recordings from the summit (currently in process) and we'll update with those when they are completed.
In Oregon we have a plan for our water: the Integrated Water Resources Strategy. This Strategy helps us understand what water we have available in Oregon and what we need for people, plants, animals, and the land. The Strategy (or IWRS) is updated every five years. In spring 2023 the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) and 13 other state agencies worked with Oregon’s Kitchen Table to hear what Oregonians want to see in the update to the 2017 Strategy.
The goals of the community engagement process conducted by OKT was twofold: 1. to hear from people throughout Oregon about what matters most to them related to how state agencies understand and meet Oregon’s different water needs; and 2. to hear from Oregonians who have not traditionally been included in statewide conversations about water. Over the course of two months, we heard from around 1900 people around Oregon through online and paper surveys, formal Regional Community Conversations, self-organized community conversations, and culturally specific community organizing activities.
Across the different forms of engagement, people responded to questions and held conversations about:
Read the full report to OWRD and partner agencies and a summary of what we heard in 8 languages below.
In fall 2022, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and Early Learning Division (ELD) worked with Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT) to conduct a community engagement process to hear from families and educators who participated in “family interviews,” a pilot approach to support students’ transitions into kindergarten. OKT designed and hosted “community conversations” with people who had been part of the ODE family interviews in 2022. The goal of the community conversations conducted by OKT was: 1) to hear what people’s experiences in the family interviews were like, 2) to hear what ideas people had for future family interviews, and 3) to understand how families and educators think the process might work better for families and schools in coming years.
Read the full report to the Oregon Department of Education and Early Learning Division and an overview in 8 languages below.
In response to feedback and recommendations from the community conversations, and following input from their advisory panel, ODE and ELD developed their Priorities for the Fall 2023 Pilot. In the coming year, ODE and ELD plan will host listening sessions with regional partners and conduct culturally specific engagement opportunities for community to share feedback on the priorities and redesign components. In fall 2023, ODE and ELD will launch a second pilot of the family interview, expanding the number of participating schools. Several schools who participated in the fall 2022 pilot have expressed interest in the fall 2023 pilot.
Oregon’s population of people 65 years or older is likely to increase from about 18 percent of people to nearly 22 percent by 2040. In addition, there is growing diversity among the future aging populations. During the fall and winter of 2021–2022, nonprofit AGE+ worked with Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT), to conduct a public engagement process to hear from people throughout Oregon about their thoughts and hopes for aging well. AGE+ recognized that there was a lot of disparate information representing the concerns of older people. In initiating a statewide community engagement process, AGE+ sought to ensure that existing information was accurate, complete, and represented the broad range of older adults in Oregon. They sought a process to reach every geographic area of the state (all counties) and ensure that responses reflected communities that are not often heard from, including communities that have traditionally been excluded from public decision-making and those who care for and about older adults. Approximately 1,500 people participated in the various engagement opportunities from October 2021 to January 2022. The summary report provides an overview of the common themes that emerged. It also describes the policy areas that people in Oregon are interested in for groups building a comprehensive plan for aging in Oregon to consider.
In the decade between the 2010 and 2020 U.S. Census of Population, the City of Hillsboro’s population increased by over 16%. Due to buildable land availability and other factors, the change in population affects the three city council wards differently. The City sought to rebalance the ward boundaries on the principle of equal representation. Starting in spring 2022 the City of Hillsboro (the City) partnered with several programs from Portland State University’s College of Urban and Public Affairs in order to provide independent analysis and recommendations to ensure—and to assure the public--that boundaries are not redrawn to benefit incumbent commissioners or in response to other political factors. The City also wanted to make sure that members of the public would have opportunities to provide input at different points of the redistricting process. In addition, this process also provided the opportunity for the City to test new ways of reaching and engaging Hillsboro’s diverse residents on public policy issues that affect them. Oregon’s Kitchen Table worked with the City to conduct a community engagement process to hear from residents of Hillsboro about what was most important to them when considering changes to the city ward district boundaries. About 620 people participated in different forms of engagement activities, including with assistance from community organizers in several languages, an online survey in multiple languages, in-person and virtual community meetings, 9 cultural festivals and events in Hillsboro, and individual interviews.
In 2021, the Oregon Legislature asked the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to review the state’s high school graduation requirements. The goal: to better understand how well they are working for students, families, employers, and educational and training institutions after high school.
An important focus of our civic engagement work was understanding how equitable graduation requirements are for students who belong to one or more of these groups:
In early 2022, ODE partnered with Oregon’s Kitchen Table to get input from people across the state. We connected with over 3,500 people, living in every county in Oregon: families, students, advocates, teachers and many others. Our discussions happened in person and online, through a statewide survey, and in seven languages. Over half of the people we talked to with belong to one or more of the groups listed above.
Participants in this extensive community engagement effort shared many values and beliefs about how and when students are assessed for high school graduation. People identified inequities they have seen or experienced in meeting graduation requirements, as well as the need for culturally appropriate support for students. We also heard agreement on the kinds of critical skills and knowledge people think are valuable for students after high school. There were also differences in people’s opinions, particularly around the form of assessments and the role the state should play in assessing students.
The Oregon Department of Education used information gathered through community engagement to inform a broader set of recommendations regarding high school graduation requirements to the Oregon Legislature and the State Board of Education. You can read these recommendations here and find out more information here.
The entire Oregon’s Kitchen Table community engagement report and the short summaries of the report in seven languages are below.
Starting in 2018, Clatsop County began a multi-year process to update the County’s Comprehensive Plan. County staff, citizen advisory committees and the Clatsop County Planning Commission have been working for more than two years on updating the policies for each of the 18 goals in the County’s Comprehensive Plan. These policies are a roadmap showing how the County can meet those goals over the next couple of decades. As the process to update the plan reached the final stages, the Clatsop County Board of Commissioners wanted to make sure that members of the public-- particularly those living in rural areas of the county, Spanish speaking community members, and people living with low-incomes--had sufficient opportunity to share what they think. The Board of Commissioners especially wanted to hear people’s thoughts on housing, county services, community involvement, and the economy. Oregon’s Kitchen Table, a program at Portland State University, worked with the County to conduct a community engagement process to hear from people who live in, work in, or own property in Clatsop County about what was most important to them when considering updates to the County’s Comprehensive Plan.
In fall 2021 / early 2022 Oregon’s Kitchen Table conducted a second phase of community engagement activities with the Mid-Coast Water Planning Partnership and communities in Lincoln County to hear what people thought about the Partnership's Water Action Plan, focusing on what actions people prioritized and ways they might also play a role themselves. This was a second phase of community engagement after 2018's initial work with the Partnership to hear what people knew about their water, what they valued about their water, and what initial strategies they might be interested in as the Partnership began considering strategies and actions. Engagement activities in 2021 / 2022 includes individual interviews, listening sessions and targeted outreach with members of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Latinx and Indigenous community members, large industrial water users and other businesses, and the tourism/hospitality industry. OKT also followed up with the participants in the 2018 online survey who provided contact information at that time.
In winter 2021, Portland State University President Steve Percy convened the Reimagine Campus Safety Committee (RCSC) – made up of students, faculty, and staff – to understand the safety, welcoming, and belonging needs of the campus community and to reimagine an approach to meeting those needs. As part of that work, Oregon’s Kitchen Table staff provided support to the community engagement efforts on this topic. The RCSC adopted a set of values and practices to guide community engagement, and a Community Engagement task group then conducted a series of initial interviews with individuals and small groups to develop a community engagement and outreach plan. In October 2021 task group members and Oregon’s Kitchen Table supported community conversations on campus safety and belonging and hosted an online survey to hear from members of the PSU community about what is most important to them about campus safety and feeling welcomed on campus. A total of 811 campus community members responded to the online survey on Oregon’s Kitchen Table’s platform. Some of the community gatherings held in fall 2021 were voluntarily self-organized by RCSC members, people or groups who OKT and the task group contacted, or were arranged and facilitated by task group members. Approximately 10 community conversations, with over 70 people participating.
In August of 2021, newly released 2020 US Census data showed that the number of people living in each of Clatsop County’s five commissioner districts has shifted so that the populations of the boundaries are no longer equally balanced. The Clatsop County Charter outlines a timeframe of 120 days from release of the census data for the County to present to the Board adjustments to the boundaries so that the “total population is allocated nearly equally between the five districts; each of contiguous territory and as compact as possible.”
Oregon’s Kitchen Table worked with the County to conduct a public engagement process to hear from residents of Clatsop County about what was most important to them when considering changes to the county’s district boundaries. In order to reach a number of different communities in different parts of the county, we designed a multi-faceted approach that also took into account existing COVID restrictions. We held five public forums via Zoom during different days and times of day. We also offered an online survey in both English and Spanish. We conducted outreach to Spanish speaking and Latinx / Hispanic community members at two different vaccination clinics held by Consejo Hispano, a community-based organization focused on serving Spanish speaking and Latinx / Hispanic community members in Clatsop County.
About 300 people participated in the different forms of engagement activities. A total of 253 people responded to the OKT online survey available in English and Spanish. 40 people participated via survey questions on paper at two vaccination clinic events. Approximately 25 Clatsop County residents participated in public forums. These activities were conducted between October 12th and November 5th, 2021.
County staff shared the results of the community engagement and provided recommendations on district boundary changes to the Clatsop Board of County Commissioners in December 2021. You can view those recommendations here.
In spring 2021, MED-Project USA began working with the state of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality to help implement Oregon’s new law on safe medicine disposal. MED-Project partnered with Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT) to conduct a statewide public engagement process focused on historically and currently underserved communities to better understand what would make it easier for families to be able to return their unwanted medicines. The purpose of this Oregon’s Kitchen Table project was to hear from people in different regions of Oregon, particularly people who are part of or directly serve historically and currently underserved communities, about what would make it easier for them to safely dispose of unwanted or expired medicines (both prescription and over-the-counter). In order to reach a number of different communities in different parts of the state, we designed a multi-faceted approach. We focused time, energy, and resources on working with community organizers and conducting interviews and listening sessions. Due to COVID restrictions, all interviews, listening sessions, and meetings were conducted by telephone, Facebook, or Zoom. OKT conducted a combined total of 33 virtual / telephone interviews, visits to existing or standing community meetings, and listening sessions by Zoom, Facebook or telephone. Approximately 140 people participated. Some of these listening sessions were voluntarily self-organized by those who OKT contacted or were arranged and facilitated by community organizers within their own communities. A total of 624 Oregonians responded to the OKT online survey available in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Somali.
We created both a summary overview and a more detailed report of what we heard over the course of these engagement activities.
In summer 2020, Oregon’s Kitchen Table and Healthy Democracy co-convened Oregon’s first Citizen Assembly. 36 Oregonians from all walks of life met seven times via Zoom to discuss, deliberate, and develop a set of recommendations for Oregon’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic and social aftermath.
During their initial meetings, the citizen panelists decided to focus on K-12 education and rent/mortgage assistance as their two main COVID-19 recovery topics. As they deliberated on those two topics, they were also responding to a question from a state senator about how the pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated racial and economic inequities and what might be done to address those inequities.
The Assembly’s Citizen Panelists reviewed written public testimony to the Oregon Legislature’s Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response, heard from a variety of expert witnesses, and deliberated over seven two-hour sessions. They also reviewed responses from an Oregon's Kitchen Table survey to get a sense of what other Oregonians across the state are thinking about regarding COVID-19 and K-12 education and rent/mortgage assistance.
In summer 2019, Levee Ready Columbia (LRC), in partnership with Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT), conducted a public engagement process to hear from people who work in, live in, or own a business in Multnomah County and its surrounding areas about their knowledge of and values, and beliefs about the Columbia River levee system from North Portland to the Sandy River in Troutdale. The goals of this project were multi-fold: 1. to hear from as many people as possible who work in, live in, or own a business in the Multnomah County area; 2. to gauge what interests or concerns people most about the levee system; and 3. to ask people to begin considering trade-offs among competing values. In addition, a final goal was to lay the groundwork for LRC to then engage more deeply around strategies, solutions, and trade-offs in the future, particularly with historically under-represented communities. Over 1,000 people participated in various forms of enagement, including in-person discussions in Spanish, Russian, and Somali.
In late fall 2018, the Mid-Coast Water Planning Partnership (the Partnership), in collaboration with Oregon’s Kitchen Table, conducted a public engagement process to gather input from people who work in, live in, own a business in, or often visit Oregon’s Mid-Coast (from Cascade Head to Cape Perpetua) about their knowledge, values, and beliefs about water and the future of water in the region. Nearly 680 people from throughout the region took part in a variety of engagement opportunities, including communities listening sessions in Spanish and Mam. 11% of participants identified as Spanish speaking. This engagement was part of the work that the Partnership has undertaken to balance the region's water needs now and in the future.
In winter 2018, the City of La Pine, in partnership with Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT) and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC), conducted a public outreach and engagement process to hear from people who work in, live in, or visit the City and its surrounding areas about their hopes for downtown La Pine. There was a particular focus on a transit site that will be located downtown in the near future. 712 people took part in the OKT consultation, with about 80% from La Pine. This engagement is part of a larger project funded by Meyer Memorial Trust that OKT is part of with lead partner COIC, Let’s Talk Diversity Coalition, the Ford Family Foundation’s Ford Institute Leadership Program alumni, the communities of La Pine, Sisters, Madras, and Prineville, as well as other partners in each city to increase and broaden community engagement around economic development issues, priorities, and projects in each city.
In fall 2017, the City of Hood River sought to hear from community members - particularly from underengaged populations - about their values and beliefs around housing affordability and availability in the City of Hood River. Oregon's Kitchen Table hosted an online survey and facilitated small group listening sessions in both Spanish and English. We also distributed and collected Spanish responses via paper and conducted one-on-one interviews in Spanish to solicit input from Spanish speakers in the area. Nearly 1,000 people who work in, live in, or would like to live in the City of Hood River participated, including over 200 Spanish speakers. The report includes results from all methods of engagement in this project.
En primavera de 2017, el gobierno de la ciudad de Hood River (de ahora en adelante, la “Ciudad”)* junto con Oregon’s Kitchen Table (de ahora en adelante, OKT), implementaron un instrumento de compromiso oficial para escuchar a las personas que trabajen, vivan o quisieran vivir en la ciudad, sobre sus valores y creencias respecto a vivienda asequible y disponible en la ciudad. El siguiente resumen ejecutivo ofrece tanto un panorama del proceso de compromiso oficial, como los hallazgos más importantes. El informe adjunto tiene cuatro secciones: los resultados de la encuesta en línea; los temas que se escucharon en las sesiones de escucha en inglés; el alcance a la comunidad hispanohablante y sus respuestas, y una breve conclusión.
In spring 2017, a group of community members from Arlington and Condon in Gilliam County created a collaborative workgroup to help create strategies to improve housing options in Gilliam. The group, in partnership with Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT), conducted an online consultation mid-June to mid-July 2017 to engage residents, property owners, businesses, employees and visitors to Gilliam County to weigh in on challenges and opportunities to creating housing in the county. The survey consisted of 201 participants who responded to questions about current living situations to get a sense of demand for housing followed by a series of questions about the future of Gilliam County and why people might want to live there.
A team of community leaders from John Day and throughout Grant County, in partnership with Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT), conducted an online consultation in June 2017 to engage residents of, business owners in, and visitors to John Day to weigh in on possible strategies to help make John Day and all of Grant County as economically strong and vibrant as possible. John Day is considering how to create a vision for the future that both supports the traditional economy and creates opportunities for residents to innovate and expand into new economic frontiers. The community leaders working on this project imagine a future in which residents create lasting prosperity for the whole community by both respecting tradition and taking advantage of future opportunities in new and emerging markets.The OKT consultation provided some background on Grant County’s visioning efforts and asked a series of questions about potential projects, a potential vision for John Day, and community values. A series of demographic questions also informed the team who responded to the survey. 330 participants responded to the survey.
During the spring and summer of 2016 Meyer Memorial Trust (Meyer), the largest private foundation in Oregon, partnered with Oregon’s Kitchen Table to conduct an online consultation and a series of regional listening sessions to engage Oregonians from across the state to assist Meyer in developing investment strategies for increasing educational equity in Oregon.
Meyer’s new Equitable Education portfolio is aiming to focus its investments in order to maximize outcomes for students facing historic challenges: students of color, low income students and first-generation students. In early 2017, Meyer will begin inviting organizations to submit proposals on educational equity, and the input from the consultation through Oregon’s Kitchen Table is being used to inform Meyer’s strategy for future investments.
Over 1,000 Oregonians participated in the online consultation, which asked participants a series of questions about emerging priorities, key developmental measures that help protect youth’s academic and social success, and goal setting for how Meyer should measure its success in this area. In addition, OKT conducted a series of listening sessions with over 100 Oregonians in different regions of the state for community members to gather in person and discuss the issues raised in the online consultation and provide their input to Meyer. These listening sessions were focused primarily on communities of color in those different regions.
On June 3, 2016, a 96-car train carrying nearly three million gallons of Bakken Crude Oil derailed in downtown Mosier, Oregon. Sixteen cars left the tracks, and four tank cars caught fire. About 47,000 gallons spilled into the air, the ground, the ground water, the Columbia River, and the City’s waste-water treatment plant. After the immediate emergency response and basic clean up, the City, the Fire District, and the School Foundation came together to form Team Mosier. Team Mosier is negotiating with representatives of Union Pacific Railroad to seek an agreement on what Union Pacific will do to correct the problems that the spill created, to reduce the possibilities that similar events will occur in the future, and to improve the ability of the community to respond to potential future events. Team Mosier generated a potential list of projects that meet those criteria and will contribute to community resiliency.
In September 2016, Team Mosier collaborated with Oregon’s Kitchen Table to design and facilitate a community workshop on the completeness of the list and on community priorities amongst the projects on the list. View the results of the public workshop in Team Mosier's full report.
The City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services (the City), in partnership with Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT), conducted an online consultation with Portland residents in March 2016 to better understand their opinions and values regarding cleanup of the Portland Harbor Superfund site in the Willamette River north of downtown Portland. Once the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces its preferred cleanup plan, there will be a 60 day comment period where any member of the public has the opportunity to provide comments to EPA about the proposed plan. The City of Portland sought feedback from Portlanders to help inform the City’s preparation of comments to the EPA. The OKT consultation provided some background and asked a series of questions about Portlanders’ values and priorities regarding the river and the cleanup.
A total of 2,704 residents (including 67 via paper) responded to the survey. In addition, the International Refugee Center of Oregon (IRCO) provided OKT with summaries from three culturally specific community discussions with members of the Slavic community, the Asian / Pacific Islander community, and the community of African immigrants and refugees. A summary of these discussions is included as an appendix to this report.
From October 26th – December 7th, the South Wasco County Alliance, Rural Fire Foundation, Wamic Boating Access Improvement Committee and Wasco County invited individuals who recreate, live, or own property in South Wasco County to give input on recreation in the region. The consultation instrument was developed by Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT) in collaboration with South Wasco County Parks and Recreation Group. A total of 289 respondents took part in the consultation across 81 unique zip codes. Results from this consultation will help inform Wasco County of the priorities and values around recreation in the region.
Josephine Community Libraries, in partnership with Oregon’s Kitchen Table, conducted an online consultation with Josephine County residents in June 2015 to better understand their opinions and values on updating the libraries’ children’s spaces, including materials, furnishings and setting. The results will be used to help inform a redesign of the children’s libraries in Grants Pass and Illinois Valley.
From April to mid-May, Portland Public Schools (PPS) invited staff, students, parents and the wider district population over the age of 13 to participate in the PPS 2025 survey using both online and paper versions. The survey questionnaire was developed by Oregon’s Kitchen Table (OKT) with selected District staff and PPS’ District-wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee (DBRAC). PPS developed the distribution strategy, which differed by school. A total of 4,099 respondents took part in the survey. For online distribution, the survey was made available to OKT’s entire membership in the PPS district (targeted by zip codes), as well as through PPS’ social media and email lists. Paper copies were made available to all schools district. PPS and OKT contracted and partnered with community organizations (Latino Network, Self Enhancement Inc., IRCO: Asian Family Center, IRCO: Africa House, Hacienda CDC, Russian Oregon Social Services, Muslim Education Trust, Oregon Community Health Worker Association, Urban League, Association of Slavic Immigrants, Slavic Community Center, New Portlanders Advisory Council, El Programa Hispano), to improve participation particularly among historically underrepresented groups. Distribution of hard copies was also achieved through community engagement events. Surveys were made available online and in paper in all six of the District’s supported languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Somali, Russian, and Mandarin/Chinese.
In winter 2015, Portland Public Schools (PPS) surveyed parents and guardians of PPS students across the district with the assistance of Oregon’s Kitchen Table and DHM Research. A total of 6,074 parents and guardians completed the survey. The survey questionnaire was developed by PPS with assistance from community-based organizations and selected District staff. In consultation with Oregon’s Kitchen Table, PPS developed an outreach campaign to reach the greatest number of parents via District schools and the District’s Community Engagement staff.
In December 2014, the Oregon Department of Education in partnership with Oregon’s Kitchen Table conducted an online consultation with key stakeholders across the state of Oregon. The consultation was conducted to help inform the efforts of the state’s Early Learning Hubs, which are working across the state to make resources and supports more available, more accessible and more effective for children and families that have historically been overrepresented in the opportunity gap and underrepresented in services.
Oregon state government is moving from a system where local communities adjust priorities to fit within existing bureaucratic structures to one where government adjusts its structure to support and address local priorities. In an October 2013 consultation, the State of Oregon invited members of Oregon's Kitchen Table to identify barriers to better alignment of local and state programs and then asked you to envision a new system. Members who took part in the consultation were then given the opportunity to engage further in the alignment process and were invited to participate in in-person events held across the state's five regions during December 2014. We'll be following up with another consultation based on what we've learned from this one.
During the summer of 2013 the Friends of Gateway Green asked for public input and support to help turn an overlooked parcel of land in East Portland into a vibrant, off-road bike park in a gateway to the region. Residents from the Portland metro area took their seats at the Kitchen Table to weigh in on design features.
During the spring of 2013 Oregon's Kitchen Table served as the home for all Oregonians to take part in the state's 2013 Values and Beliefs survey. The Oregon Values and Beliefs Sponsors – Oregon Community Foundation Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oregon State University, Oregon Health & Science University, and DHM Research – asked you all at Oregon's Kitchen Table to share your opinions about some of Oregon's most pressing decisions — from health and health care to jobs and the economy. The information that you provided is being reported back to policy-makers and the public in an impartial and non-partisan way and will be part of the state's decision making landscape for years to come. Visit the Oregon Values & Beliefs Project to find out more.
Oregon's Kitchen Table was invited to Curry County during the fall of 2012 by local residents and leaders in order engage residents in the issues related to county services. Between November 9 and December 21, 2012, Curry County residents were invited to participate in a consultation focused on county services and funding.