April 9, 2018
This winter and spring, we've been spending lots of time with Central Oregon communities and our partners Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and Let's Talk Diversity Coalition. Thanks to funding from Meyer Memorial Trust, our partnership group - led by COIC and also including the Ford Family Foundation’s Ford Institute Leadership Program alumni, the communities of La Pine, Sisters, Madras, and Prineville, as well as other partners - has been supporting Central Oregon communities to increase and broaden community engagement around economic development issues, priorities, and projects in each city.
In winter, Oregon's Kitchen Table hosted an online consultation on people's hopes for the future of downtown La Pine. Over 700 people shared their thoughts and ideas to help inform decision the City of La Pine is preparing to make about downtown and about a vacant lot purchased by ODOT for a transportation use. Participants were asked about their current use of downtown La Pine followed by a series of questions about what they would generally like to see more of. The next section of questions focused on the particular property that would have a transportation use but also has the potential for other uses; these questions tested out preferences for what kind of a space people would like to see as well as what particular uses they would like to have. Read the report on the results here.
Next up: We're in Sisters in April and May to provide support to Sisters Country Horizons, a visioning effort for Sisters and surrounding areas. If you live in, work in, or often visit Sisters Country, help shape a vision for the community's future - attend a community meeting, share your input via an online survey, or host your friends, neighbors, or family members in a discussion from the comfort of your own table. Check out all the ways you can get involved.
Image - Patrick Davenport, Sisters
January 29, 2018
On January 30th, Oregon’s Kitchen Table is launching a crowdfunding campaign for the restoration of the iconic network of trails that are around Multnomah Falls. The trails include the Multnomah Falls Trail to upper Benson Bridge, the Wahkeena Falls Loop, and Angel’s Rest Trail. We're working with the U.S. Forest Service Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area as well as a number of other partners in helping to restore those trails damaged during last fall's fire - and we're inviting you to join us and Be There for The Gorge!
For donors outside of the United States, please make your donation to Be There for The Gorge through PayPal (your donation will be processed through Oregon's Kitchen Table's non-profit 501(c)3 arm, the Policy Consensus Initiative / Kitchen Table Democracy).
Let us know some additional information by filling out this form once you've made your donation.
January 19, 2018
The City of La Pine wants to know how people who live in or visit La Pine often use downtown now and how they would like to use downtown in the future. Oregon’s Kitchen Table will be hosting a public input survey online from January 19 – February 19, 2018 for people who live in or around La Pine or are visitors to La Pine to share their thoughts on downtown.
Also, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the City just bought a vacant lot where Highway 97, 4th Street, and Huntington Road meet. That property must be used in some way for public transportation for the City. But we can use that space for more things like food, greenspace, or other kinds of uses. The survey will also collect what the public would like to see there.
The City wants to hear what hopes you have for downtown La Pine as a whole and for this lot. But, reaching that vision will take all of us. We need as many people as possible who live in and around La Pine to share your opinions. So please fill out this survey at https://consultations.oregonskitchentable.org/la-pine. We value your opinion!
October 24, 2017
Hood River is facing one of the most serious housing shortages in Oregon. This has been an issue for some time, and the City is looking at a variety of policy options to continue to make housing more affordable and available. As part of this process, the City wants to hear about your values and hopes for housing and our community as a whole. If you work in, live in, or would like to live in the City of Hood River share your thoughts on housing in the county on Oregon's Kitchen Table from October 24 - November 22, 2017.
Actualmente, Hood River tiene uno de los déficits de vivienda más graves de Oregon. Este problema persiste desde hace algún tiempo y el gobierno de la ciudad está analizando diferentes políticas que ayuden a que haya más viviendas disponibles a un costo más accesible. Como parte de este proceso, el gobierno de la ciudad desea conocer qué es importante para usted y cuáles son sus expectativas en cuanto a la vivienda y nuestra comunidad en general. Nos interesa conocer las opiniones de las personas que viven, trabajan o quisieran vivir en la ciudad de Hood River. Esta encuesta se realizará hasta el 22 de noviembre de 2017.
June 12, 2017
June 2, 2017
Like many communities in Oregon and around the country, John Day is considering its economic future. Recently, a team of community leaders came together to consider possible strategies to help make John Day and all of Grant County as economically strong and vibrant as possible. As part of that process, the team is considering a number of ideas to strengthen and diversify the economy. They want to hear from you about your values and priorities!
John Day is the most populous city in Grant County. As of the 2010 census, there were just over 1,700 people living in John Day, down from a high of just over 2,000 people in 1980. John Day—like all of Grant County—has a proud heritage as a natural resource-based economy. Over the years, that economy has receded, and Grant County’s population has declined as a result.
Today, John Day is considering how to create a vision for the future that both supports the traditional economy and creates opportunities for Grant County residents to innovate and expand into new economic frontiers. The community leaders working on this project imagine a future in which Grant County residents create lasting prosperity for their families and community by both respecting tradition and taking advantage of future opportunities in new and emerging markets.
This effort was made possible in part by a grant from The Ford Family Foundation. The City of John Day, Grant County, Grant School District #3 and the Blue Mountain Hospital also contributed for the project.
Photo: Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives
November 18, 2016
Whenever we hold a public consultation with Oregonians here on Oregon's Kitchen Table, we bring you into a conversation with elected officials, public agencies, or other community leaders who are making important decisions. Often, your input on those decisions is one step in that decision making process, and we know it isn't always easy to see how what you had to say played a part in how that decision comes out. That's why we bring you the results of every public consultation and - even better - we try to bring the leaders back into the conversation to share with you what they heard and where they're going next. Over on Meyer Memorial Trust's blog this month, you can read what the Educational Portfolio team heard from you this spring / summer on the foundation's educational priorities and investments and where they're going next.
June 22, 2016
This spring, our home base at Portland State University, the National Policy Consensus Center, worked with the City of Hillsboro to engage and prepare a diverse group of residents to serve in a range of civic leadership capacities within the city.
The group of 12 participants came together for six weekly sessions to learn new skills and insights as they also collaborated on an project important in their community, a housing report to the City. The goal of the Hillsboro Leadership Academy was to learn about the role of government and public issues in the Hillsboro community, figure out how participants might take on some form of civic leadership within the City, and forge new relationships and connections with fellow Hillsboro residents.
Some thoughts from the Hillsboro residents themselves (above, holding the street signs with their names that they received upon completion!) on the Hillsboro Leadership Academy:
From the first night we met, I was excited to see that passion for our Hillsboro community was a shared value amongst the diverse group that has been selected to participate in this inaugural program. Passion and diversity were necessary components of the product we are presenting to you tonight.
I would like to be more involved in my community so that I can encourage other Latinos to do the same. We can be a voice for those that are afraid or shy to participate. Leading by example is the best thing I can do to encourage them.
I was interested in getting more involved with the City and I applied to the Academy to get a feel for what would be involved with being on a Board or Commission or City Council. After experiencing the academy, I am more aware of the level of commitment it takes and I am tremendously grateful to all those who commit their time to serve our City. I have recently volunteered to help on the Hillsboro Transportation System Plan Steering Committee.
If your community is interested in bringing a similar training to your city or county, let us know!
April 28, 2016
Today we're sharing a blog post from Meyer Memorial Trust’s Matt Morton, Meyer’s Equitable Education Portfolio Director, about our latest project to get your input. Head over to Meyer’s blog or check it out below.
Since arriving in January, I’ve been focused on developing Meyer’s investment strategy to improve educational equity in Oregon. Now I’m hoping you will weigh in at Oregon’s Kitchen Table. The survey is available in both English and Spanish.
To Meyer, equitable education is defined as improving outcomes so that students of color, first-generation students and students living in poverty all achieve educational success. It also means identifying and reducing the disparities in how our most underserved students experience education. In early 2017, we will begin inviting organizations to submit proposals on educational equity; your input now will ensure that Meyer’s strategy represents the views, and articulates the needs, of stakeholders across Oregon.
It’s important to Meyer to have feedback about Oregonians’ values on equitable education. Meyer wants to hear from people at educational institutions, coordinating councils, school districts, early learning hubs, municipalities, institutions of higher education, government, foundation partners and other Oregonians who care about education. Your insights will help Meyer as we work to develop strategies that improve Oregon student achievement and close gaps in educational opportunities and outcomes.
Your feedback will be compiled by Oregon’s Kitchen Table, and all responses are anonymous. Following an inclusive engagement process with stakeholders, a summary report will be shared later this summer.
Go to Oregon’s Kitchen Table, pull up a chair and share your thoughts now. We want to make sure all Oregonians are heard! And please share with your friends, neighbors and colleagues. Oregon’s Kitchen Table will be collecting input for Meyer through 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 25th.
Thank you in advance for participating in this process, and please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com should you have any questions.
March 6, 2016
The public comment period closes midnight September 6, 2016. You can give your comments to the EPA directly here and review the Proposed Plan here. You can also view the EPA’s Proposed Plan Fact Sheet here.
Portlanders, pull up a chair and share your values and beliefs with the City of Portland about some important decisions coming up for our community about an important part of the Willamette River.
Later this spring, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will release a proposed plan to clean up the Portland Harbor Superfund site in the Willamette River north of downtown Portland. EPA will accept official comments after the release of that plan. Now, it’s important to the City that it has feedback about Portlanders’ values about the cleanup as the City prepares its comments to EPA. This is our opportunity to share with the City what we value most about the cleanup.
The City will use your input as it develops the City’s comment to EPA on the proposed cleanup plan. The responses will be compiled by Oregon’s Kitchen Table, ensuring that responses are anonymous, and overall results will be shared with the community in early April.
Go to to the City of Portland - Community Engagement about Superfund Cleanup and share your thoughts.
We want to make sure all Portlanders are heard! And please share with your friends and neighbors. We'll be collecting input March 7 - March 31, 2016 in English, Español, Tiếng Việt, Русский, 简体中文. and Somali.
Later this spring, EPA will have its official process for you to give comments about the cleanup plan. We encourage you to participate. We will send an email reminder to you when the EPA plan is available for your comments.
August 24, 2015
With the help of over 217 Oregonians and friends from across the nation, we successfully completed our first civic crowdfund here at OKT. We are thrilled to announce that Josephine Community Libraries Inc. met their goal, raising over $40,000 for First Chapters and making it possible for JCLI to update their children’s libraries in order to better meet the needs of the smallest readers!
When we first heard the story of Josephine County's libraries, it inspired us: hundreds of community members have ensured that their libraries have continued to operate, despite no regular source of public funding. At one point, the library system had to actually close down due to lack of funding. More than 82,000 people were left without access to books, programs, or a safe space to be. It was a devastating time for their community members. With resiliency, hope and determination, volunteers banded together and brought the four branches that make up Josephine Community Libraries Inc. back in force! Much like 2007, community members showed in numbers this past month for a unique online fundraising opportunity, putting children at the forefront of their hearts and minds.
With their community’s continued passion, coupled with our uniquely tailored platform and fundraising tools, we reached our goal and made a few friends in the process! Thank you to everyone who participated. Stay tuned for future civic crowdfunding opportunities throughout the State. And if you know of a civic crowdfunding project that might be appropriate for OKT, be sure and let us know!
August 7, 2015
By Wendy Willis, Director
We know that public mistrust in government is at an all-time high. In fact I read today that only 13% of Americans believe that Congress is doing a good or very good job, though that is up from a low of 7% a year ago. Despite the circus atmosphere that surrounds national political coverage and the run up to a presidential election year, most Americans believe that politics could be more civil, respectful, and functional if elected officials put their minds to it.
And last month—at a Marriott Hotel in Dayton, Ohio—there were strong signs that the public is right. Over 450 people from around the world gathered in that hotel for the Kettering Foundation’s annual Deliberative Democracy Exchange to consider the question “What Does It Take to Make Democracy Work?”
Among the participants were fifteen state legislators from both parties who met over three days to discuss civic engagement, collaborative governance, and civil discourse. It was a pleasure to be with them as they traded stories, offered advice, and brainstormed ways to improve legislative governance in their own states and across the country. Over the past few years, Kettering has brought together dozens legislators for similar exchanges. Many of these legislators have forged relationships, experimented, and applied their learnings back in their home states.
These are the kind of public servants we can be proud of. These are the kind of public servants who give us hope!
July 24, 2015
Today we're sharing a blog post from Josephine Community Libraries volunteer Jennifer Sherman Roberts about the story of how Josephine County residents lost their library system and then brought it back. Head over to her blog (where she's got a number of pieces about libraries) or check it out below. It's an inspiring story of a community's resilience and love!
Libraries Matter, No Matter What
Jennifer Sherman Roberts
In May 2007, all four branches of the library in Josephine County were closed due to lack of funding. More than 82,000 people were left without access to any library whatsoever.
(Over eight years later, I still feel a little shocked writing that.)
A past library levy had been absorbed into the county’s general fund. When the federal government failed to renew a decades-old subsidy (meant to reimburse county governments for the loss of income from logging on federal lands) and voters (mistrustful of county government) failed to pass a measure establishing an independent library district, the libraries were closed.
I was there, and I was devastated. I kept thinking about how a whole generation of kids would grow up receiving the message–from their own community–that books, literacy, and knowledge don’t matter. That learning about the world outside their borders doesn’t matter. That libraries don’t matter.
In August 2007, a group of concerned citizens banded together to form Josephine Community Libraries, Inc. (JCLI), and after 18 months of fundraising—stuffing envelopes, staffing information tables, and begging councilors and commissioners for money—volunteers reopened the Grants Pass branch of the library. Committed to providing library services throughout the county, the board of directors made it a priority to reopen the other three rural branches as soon as possible after the opening of the main branch.
I’ll never forget the opening of the Children’s Room on that cold December day in 2008. I was standing at the circulation desk so I could take pictures. On the other side of the ceremonial ribbon stood crowds of excited and curious kids. When the ribbon was cut, the kids streamed into the room. When it came time to check out, they had stacks of books in their arms and magic in their eyes.
On that day, we sent a message to the kids in our community: we care. We care about their education and imagination. We care that they have a future in the larger world.
Last fall, citizens placed a library district on the ballot in Josephine County that would have provided long-term, sustainable funding for libraries in Josephine County. Sadly, it didn’t pass. If it had, renovating the Children’s Room would have been one of the first priorities.
However, despite our disappointment in the results of the election, JCLI remains determined to provide quality library access for the children in our community by launching First Chapters, a project to modernize and enhance the Children’s Libraries in Grants Pass and Cave Junction.
The project will fund updated books, mobile bookshelves kids can reach, and furniture that actually fits them. It will provide technology that matches their need to learn and resources that fit their need to play.
JCLI has also partnered with Oregon’s Kitchen Table, a group of non-partisan, non-profit community organizations that is helping JCLI with crowdfunding, so that as many people as possible can donate to the project, to feel ownership of the amazing work libraries are doing in our community. If you’d like to help out, you can make a donation here.
By reopening the libraries, we transformed the message we were sending to our kids. Instead of telling them that books, knowledge, and culture are expendable, we taught them the importance of lifelong learning and connection with community and the outside world. With First Chapters, we can reinforce that message. We can teach them that libraries matter, no matter what.
July 20, 2015
Last week we launched Oregon's Kitchen Table's first civic crowdfund on our new site to raise $40,000 for Josephine Community Libraries children's libraries in Grants Pass and Illinois Valley. And it's off to a great start with over $15,000 raised and over 100 Oregonians participating!
The story of Josephine County's libraries inspired us here at OKT: hundreds of community members have ensured that their libraries have continued to operate, despite no source of regular funding through taxes or county funding. The libraries in Josephine County closed on May 17, 2007. Four months later, committed community members formed Josephine Community Libraries, Inc. (JCLI), a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring long-term library services for every county resident. By December 2009, JCLI had reopened all four shuttered locations. In November 2014, citizens placed a measure on the ballot to permanently fund the libraries, which didn't pass. Today, the libraries continue to operate thanks to generous donations and the heroic contributions of more than 390 volunteers annually.
If the library district Measure 17-62 had passed last fall, the first thing JCLI would have done is update the children's libraries. But it didn't; so, once again the community is coming together to do right by Josephine County's kids and provide them with the resources they need to be successful. From JCLI: "We need new books—many of our materials are from the 1950s and 1960s. We need shelves the children can reach and furniture their size. And, we need more space—for storytimes, programs, and reading activities for the whole family. It’s time for us to come together and fund an update for the children’s libraries! "
Like many Oregonians, Josephine County families love their libraries. And you can join them in making sure their kids begin the First Chapters of their lives with a strong reading foundation. Join them today to participate in the crowdfunding campaign!
June 15, 2015
Josephine Community Libraries wants to hear the community's thoughts on how the libraries can best serve our youngest readers as they begin their lifetimes of reading. Share your experiences and opinions about our Josephine Community Libraries children’s spaces, resources, and programs. The responses you provide will be compiled by Oregon’s Kitchen Table, ensuring all that responses are anonymous, and overall survey results will be shared with the community and JCLI staff this summer. Josephine Community Libraries will use the results to improve our children’s libraries.
The consultation will be active until June 29th, 2015.
May 19, 2015
A couple of months ago we shared our new partnership with Community Sourced Capitol, a Pacific Northwest B-Corps working with Oregon small businesses and entrepreneurs to access loans from within their own communities. Already, Oregonians have helped two businesses gain funding to expand and grow – Genki-Su and TeaScape. Currently, there are two Oregonians seeking funding from fellow Oregonians who want to invest back into their own communities. Check out Hottie Das and Hot Winter, which is oh so near the goal in the last day of the campaign. You can view all the Oregon crowdfunded micro-lending campaigns on our partner page. We’re excited to see that our partnership has helped raise $27,350 with 87 folks participating so far!
The owner of Hottie Das, Jason Buckley, is part of A Social Ignition, the groundbreaking entrepreneurship program for incarcerated individuals in transition, is marking its first-ever graduate to launch a business. Jason Buckley has partnered with Community Sourced Capital (CSC) to fund his dream of opening a mobile hot dog cart, coined Hottie Das. Throughout his time in prison, Jason took entrepreneurship classes designed to teach him the skills needed to build the life he’d dreamt for himself. Today, with a businesses plan and supportive team in place, Jason is eager to get his business off the ground—indeed, this is a mobile hot dog stand we’re talking about. A Social Ignition teaches entrepreneurship both inside and outside of incarceration and works to reduce the stigma and shame of a criminal record.
Here’s Jason’s own words about his start up:
This funding will help with overall onetime start up costs that include the price of a hot dog cart, licenses, and permits. Funding will also help cover my rolling costs which include my inventory and overhead during the first month. Funding this business with responsible capital with the help of my community and new friends, would definitely mean just as much to me as running the business itself. It would also support the vision I have for my own life. Because I know goals are constant and never without consequence. Please consider buying a square to help me get my business off the ground, it would support me and the community with a new neighborhood friendly eating experience. Recognizing the service needs of my customers, and community is something that will always come first!! I believe hottie das represents a humble quality that chooses to live in the solution, and would be a business the community would really enjoy.
And we want to share another success story from last year in Astoria the Daily Astorian covered about how community members participated in micro-lending to expand a local coffee shop.
May 6, 2015
We've got some exciting news to share this week!
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recognized Oregon's Kitchen Table this week as one of four finalists for the Roy and Lila Ash Innovations in Public Engagement in Government Award. These initiatives represent the committed efforts of city, state, and federal governments to engage with the communities and citizens they represent and were selected by a cohort of policy experts, researchers, and practitioners. We're incredibly honored to be recognized – and that all of your efforts in being a part of this work are recognized, too. Oregon's Kitchen Table IS the over 13,000 Oregonians who have taken their seats and participated in important discussions, decisions, and projects around the state. You can read more about the award here. We're also not too surprised to see that a few other Oregon-based programs making up the state's tapestry of civic engagement opportunities are also included as Top Ten Programs!
As part of our partnership with Oregon Business Council's Poverty Reduction Task Force, we are working to support Oregonian-to-Oregonian micro-lending and help reduce Oregon's poverty rate. Our partner in crowdfunded microlending,Community Sourced Capital, has a new Oregon small business seeking funding to expand to new stores around Oregon, Washington and California. Hot Winter – a producer of fermented hot sauce – contracts with growers in the Willamette Valley to grow heirloom varieties not available in most markets. Interested in helping see small Oregon businesses prosper? Participate now in helping fund Hot Winter! Thanks to many Oregonians like those of us around the Kitchen Table, two other Oregon small businesses have already received their funding.
Tomorrow, May 8th, is the final day for anyone within the Portland Public Schools district – parents, staff, teachers, community members residing in the district – to weigh in on important decisions facing the district, especially around boundary changes. Today's second graders will be graduates in 2025: what do we want their schools to look like between now and then? Give your input now here at Oregon's Kitchen Table.
May 5, 2015
In 2025, today’s second graders will be graduating seniors, but between now and then, Portland Public Schools will be making a number of decisions that will affect these students. This week is the final week to weigh in on those decisions!
Check out PPS Superintendent Carol Smith’s invitation above to the greater community to provide input here at Oregon’s Kitchen Table – a some of those future graduates trying out caps and gowns.
April 12, 2015
This month we’re hosting the second of two surveys related to Portland Public Schools – and the newest one (Portland Public Schools 2025) asks those of you within the PPS District (whether you live in the district, work in the district, or send your kids to district schools) to weigh in on some incredibly important issues.
You’ll have the chance to give your input as the district prepares to make important decisions for the future of all its students on boundaries, educational programs, the enrollment and transfer system, buildings, and middle grade placement.
This is your opportunity as community members to help shape a number of decisions Portland Public Schools will be making as the district continues to grow. Make sure your voice is heard!
Log in to your account (or set one up if you haven’t already) on Oregon’s Kitchen Table to answer some questions on these topics. And please share with friends, neighbors, and colleagues. The survey will remain open until May 8, 2015.
The future of our schools is important to everyone in our community. Share your thoughts today.
March 29, 2015
We are excited to announce a new development over here at Oregon’s Kitchen Table! In partnership with Oregon Business Council’s Poverty Reduction Task Force, we are working to support Oregonian-to-Oregonian micro-lending. Reducing Oregon’s poverty rate from its current level (16.7 percent) to less than 10 percent is one of the top goals of Oregon Business Council and its allies. Small business in Oregon represent more than 90 percent of all employers and employ over half of the private-sector labor force. By supporting small businesses, we can all pitch in to make our state more prosperous!
As a first step, Oregon’s Kitchen Table has partnered with Community Sourced Capital, a certified B corporation focused on creating stronger communities through micro-lending. Over the next few months, we will highlight Oregon entrepreneurs that are seeking capital to begin or expand their businesses, giving other Oregonians the chance to help make their communities more prosperous.