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  • Portland State University: ReImagine Campus Safety 

    Share your thoughts here! 

    Last fall, PSU President Percy announced the creation of a new Reimagine Campus Safety Committee (RCSC) - made up of students, staff, and faculty - to understand the array of safety needs of the campus community and to reimagine an approach to meeting those needs that reflects our commitment to racial justice and human dignity. The RCSC has been working to develop recommendations for not only new functional approaches to campus safety and security, but cultural shifts that will call forth a new vision of a welcoming campus that promotes well-being and creates the conditions for genuine belonging for all members of the PSU community. 

    Now the RCSC would like to know what is important to members of the PSU community about safety and belonging on campus.  This fall, Oregon's Kitchen Table be hosting an online survey.  We are also providing materials and resources for groups to hold their own discussions as well as facilitation assistance for community groups.  Contact OKT ( for assistance or download a discussion packet here

    We have until October 29th to share what we think either online or in community discussions. The online survey will be open through October 29th.

  • Safe Medicine Return in Oregon

    The state of Oregon has a new program to make sure people have ways to get rid of their family's unwanted medicines safely.  The program gives people places to turn in unwanted medicines rather than throw them away or flush them. This program is called the Drug Take Back Program.  And now it's time for you to share what would make it easier for you to participate.

    Through this program, people in Oregon can return medicines that are expired or that they no longer want safely by:

    • Leaving them at drop-off sites
    • Picking up mail-back packets, or
    • Asking for envelopes be sent mailed directly to you that are prepaid and addressed to turn in their medicines by mail 

    MED-Project USA - a non-profit group that offers ways for people to turn in medicines that are expired or they no longer want - is working with the state to make sure that drop-off sites and other ways of turning in medicines are easy for communities around Oregon.  The state's new law wants to make sure this program serves "minority, lower-income, rural and other historically underserved communities."

    And now MED-Project wants to hear from Oregonians as it sets up its services for collecting unwanted medicines. 

    Oregon's Kitchen Table is gathering input this spring through listening sessions and small group and individual interviews.  You can also share your thoughts about safely getting rid of your medicines online through OKT.  

    Please fill out this short survey if you live in Oregon. You and others can fill it out until June 16, 2021. Please invite your friends, neighbors, and family to fill out the survey, too.  The survey is also available in multiple languages.

    简体中文      Русский      Somali      Español      Tiếng Việt

  • Take a Seat at Oregon’s Kitchen Table: Adapting Targeted Universalism for Broad and Deep Civic Engagement

    As Oregon's Kitchen Table has grown since our founding a decade ago to provide more meaningful opportunities for Oregonians all over the state to participate in public decision making, we've come to identify and embrace a few philosophical frameworks for our work and to hold ourselves accountable in achieving our purpose.  We have learned about Popular Education and the work of community healthworkers and those principles and approaches have resonated with us as we think about our foundations here at Oregon's Kitchen Table (more to come on that in the future!).  And at the same time that OKT was starting out, Berkeley professor john a. powell began to introduce a framework he calls “targeted universalism”, which has become a significant guide for us as OKT has and continues to evolve. In a 2020 piece published in the National Civic Review, "Take a Seat at Oregon’s Kitchen Table: Adapting Targeted Universalism for Broad and Deep Civic Engagement," OKT Director Wendy Willis shares how targeted universalism informs our thinking about civic engagement and improves our democracy.  Read on for more. 



  • Recommendations from the First Oregon Citizen Assembly

    We're so excited to share with you the recommendations from the first Oregon Citizen Assembly - a group of Oregonians from across the state and all walks of life who came together for 7 weeks this summer (over Zoom) to discuss and deliberate on COVID-19 Recovery.  Their report includes both Core Principles and Policy Recommendations. The project was a partnership between Oregon’s Kitchen Table and Healthy Democracy. Panelists were randomly selected from across the state of Oregon, to reflect a microcosm of the state on age, gender, race/ethnicity, geographic location, political party registration, educational attainment, and voter frequency.

    The Principles and Recommendations were written by the Assembly’s Citizen Panelists, after reviewing written testimony, hearing from a variety of expert witnesses, and deliberating 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 (watch for our full report from that input in the coming weeks!). They represent the words of Panelists themselves without editing from staff.  

    You can also watch a virtual press conference where OCA members present their recommendations to Oregon State Senator Jeff Golden.  

    We can't wait to see what future iterations of the Oregon Citizen Assembly looks like. There are plenty more  places where the wisdom of groups like the OCA can be brought to help shape issues around the state. Thank you for being with us over the past few weeks! 


    PDF icon Oregon Citizen Assembly on COVID-19 Recovery Principles and Recommendations
  • Your Fellow Oregonians Want to Hear from You

    Your fellow Oregonians on the Oregon Citizen Assembly invite you to join them in helping shape recommendations to decision makers on Oregon's recovery from COVID19 and the economic crisis.  

    This summer we are engaged in an important democratic experiment with our friends at Healthy Democracy: Oregon’s first Citizen Assembly. A Citizens' Assembly is a group of 40 ordinary people with different backgrounds. They discuss public issues and then recommend future policy. They were selected randomly and the group is balanced to match the communities that make up Oregon.

    The Oregon Citizen Assembly is discussing the state’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. After their first two meetings (you can watch portions here), they decided to focus on K-12 Education and Rent / Mortgage Assistance.  As they look at those two topics, they are 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.

    Now they would like to hear from their fellow Oregonians via Oregon's Kitchen Table.  Pull up your seat and share your experiences, ideas, and concerns with the members of the Oregon Citizen Assembly. Please invite your friends and family to fill out the survey, too.

    The survey will close on Wednesday August 5th at 12 noon. The following night, Augusut 6, we will share the results with the Citizen Assembly. We will also post results here and send you a link to the results.

    Your fellow Oregonians thank you!

  • The First Oregon Citizen Assembly

    We want to share with you a new effort we are launching this summer with our friends at Healthy Democracy - the Oregon Citizen Assembly.  This summer Oregonians from all walks of life will participate in our state’s first virtual Citizen Assembly to weigh in on what could be some of the state’s most important policy considerations in a generation as the state recovers from COVID.

    The virtual Citizen Assembly will meet weekly in July and August 2020. They will discuss, deliberate, and develop a set of recommendations for Oregon’s COVID recovery that will be published online in late August and provided to decisionmakers. The Assembly models the kind of participatory democracy growing around the globe in recent years.

    The 2020 Oregon Citizen Assembly on COVID-19 Recovery is comprised of 40 individuals from across the state and from diverse backgrounds. The pool of participants were randomly selected to reflect the demographic makeup of Oregon (you can read about the selection process and watch a video of it here). The Assembly will meet for two hours each week, for six weeks, to consider and discuss key questions put forth by state decision-makers.  Partway through the process, participants will have a chance to check in with their fellow Oregonians through a survey conducted by Oregon’s Kitchen Table. 

    Portions of the Citizen Assembly will be open to public observers via livestream on Healthy Democracy’s YouTube Channel. The public sessions will also recorded and available here.  Join us in this opportunity for Oregonians to share their needs and priorities for the recovery.

    You can read principals and recommendations from the Oregon Citizen Assembly on COVID19 Recovery here

  • Levee Ready Columbia

    If you live in, work in, or own a business in Multnomah County, now is the time to help shape important decisions that will affect our region! Along the Columbia River - from Smith and Bybee Lakes near Historic Vanport to the Portland Airport and to the Sandy River in Troutdale - a levee is protecting us from flooding. 

    A group of over 20 organizations that has been working on making sure the levee system meets federal requirements to prevent flooding, wants to hear from you. From June 3 to July 5th, go to Oregon’s Kitchen Table  to let that group, Levee Ready Columbia, know your thoughts about the future of the Columbia River Levee.  The online survey is available in English, Spanish, and Russian. We will also be holding listening sessions in Spanish, Russian, Somali, Chinese, and Vietnamese during the month of June.

    The areas around the Columbia River Levee are home to neighborhoods, businesses, natural areas, major highways, trails, airports recreation, parks, and one of our region’s main sources of drinking water. Share your values and hopes for this important part of our region. Your input will help Levee Ready Columbia work with the community to plan the future of the levees. 

    Survey responses will be received until July 12, 2019 and compiled by Oregon’s Kitchen Table to ensure their anonymity. We will share a summary of responses later this summer. So pull up a chair today at Oregon’s Kitchen Table – and share widely with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues in the area.                                                                                                                                                                                               

  • Mid-Coast Water Planning Partnership Engagement

    Water and water supply affects all aspects of life in the Mid-Coast region - and now's your opportunity to weigh in on planning for the region's water. The Mid-Coast Water Planning Partnership is made up of people with many different water interests from Cascade Head to Cape Perpetua and is working to balance a number of water needs and factors in our region.  And now - they want to hear your thoughts and ideas.

    Most of the region's water falls as rain during the winter and most of that water is not stored for very long. During the summer, when there is little rain, the Mid-Coast faces water shortages and droughts like other places in Oregon. In 2018, Lincoln County was in a severe drought for most of the summer. Starting today, people who live in, work in, own a business in, or often visit the Mid-Coast (from Cascade Head to Cape Perpetua) can weigh in at Oregon’s Kitchen Table ( to help make decisions about how to best prepare our region to meet our water needs.

    Tackling water issues will take everyone. So, it’s time  to hear from you! We need as many people as possible who live, work, own businesses, or often visit the Mid-Coast to share their opinions. 

  • Join us online to participate in the 2018 Metro Region Affordable Housing Bond Citizens' Initiative Review

    Calling Portland Metro residents!
    The Portland metro area is hosting its first-ever Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR), facilitated by Healthy Democracy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit based in Portland. Up for review: the Metro Region Affordable Housing Bond Measure. A cross-section of 20 voters – who are randomly selected to match the demographics of the metro region in key areas such as political affiliation, race and ethnicity, age, gender, and education – will spend four days together examining and deliberating on information related to the proposed measure and produce an informative statement for the benefit of their fellow voters. They will hear testimony from experts and from advocates for and against the ballot measure, and then identify the basic information all voters need to know. The results of their work will be published as a Citizens’ Statement and publicized through local print and broadcast media – as information for voters by voters.
    And, Oregon's Kitchen Table is offering an opportunity for folks who live in the Metro area (see the map below) to participate!  We’re looking for up to 30 of you Metro residents to participate online at two different points of the process, for a total of 2.5 hours.  
    Thursday, August 23 (2:00pm – 3:30pm)  – Join us to hear from an Independent Background Expert (live streamed presentation) on the issue, then as a group we’ll deliberate on what questions we would recommend that the CIR panelists ask of advocates for and against the ballot measure. We’ll bring the top three questions from our discussion to the CIR – and you can watch and see from the livestream what questions they ask.
    Week of August 27 (exact date / time TBD) – Join us for a follow up session (1 hour) on-line to review and discuss the statement that the CIR panelists have created.  
    Only requirements for participation:
    • You live within the Metro boundaries
    • You’re over 18 years old
    • You are able to join an online discussion (internet access, computer / tablet / smartphone access)
    • You can join us online on Thursday Aug 23 from 2 – 3:30pm
    Fill out this simple form for the opportunity to join in. Submission Deadline: Friday, August 17th, 2018.
    And, if you’re not able to join OKT for this, you can still track the CIR.  Click here for more information. 
  • Results from the City of La Pine Downtown Vision Consultation

    ​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


  • Be There for The Gorge

    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 Trai​l.  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!

    Interational Donors

    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.



    PDF icon FAQs - Be There for The Gorge.pdf
  • Downtown La Pine Vision

    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 We value your opinion!

  • City of Hood River Housing

    Hood River Housing

    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.

    La vivienda en la ciudad de Hood River

    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.

  • Gilliam County Housing Opportunities

    Like many communities in Oregon and around the country, Gilliam County is suffering from a lack of housing for people already living here as well as people who want to move into the community to work and raise their family.  Recently, a group of community members from Arlington and Condon created a collaborative workgroup to help create strategies to improve housing options in Gilliam County. That workgroup wants to hear from you about your values and priorities regarding housing in the county. We want to hear from current Gilliam County residents as well as others who own property in Gilliam County, who work in Gilliam County, and those who would consider moving to Gilliam County if they could make it work for themselves and their family.

    If you live in Gilliam, own property in Gilliam, work in Gilliam, or would consider moving to Gilliam - share your thoughts on housing in the county on Oregon's Kitchen Table from June 14 - July 14.

    Photo by K'Lynn Lane 

  • Public Input Opportunity for Grant County - John Day Future Vision

    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.

    But, reaching that vision will take everyone. So, we need to hear from you on Oregon's Kitchen Table! We need as many John Day and other Grant County residents as possible to share their opinions. A report summarizing your input will be provided to the workgroup and others working on economic development and will be available to the public in our results section. All answers will be confidential and will not be associated with our name or contact information, per the privacy policy.


    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

  • Listening First on Education

    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.  

  • An Inspiring Story of Civic Leadership: The Hillsboro Leadership Academy

    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!

  • 10 minutes to help Meyer invest in equitable education in Oregon

    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.  

    10 minutes to help Meyer invest in equitable education in Oregon

    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 should you have any questions.



    — Matt

  • Portland Harbor Superfund Cleanup

    UPDATE: EPA is now accepting the public's comments on the proposed cleanup plan they released in June.  

    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, EspañolTiếng ViệtРусский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.

  • Our Site's First Civic Crowdfund - We Did It!

    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!


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