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.