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  • Help Make Gateway Green a Reality

    Eight years ago, Gateway Green was just a wild idea. These 38 acres between I-84 and I-205 in East Portland once housed a jail. Now, the community is on the verge of turning this unused space into a great outdoor recreational and mountain biking destination right in the city.  Over 500 of you in the Portland metro region already took a step to make this happen by taking your seat at the Kitchen Table and weighing in on features of the park to help complete the design work.  We’ve got a high level summary of the results of the Build Gateway Green consultation with a more complete report coming next week.  We’re really excited to bring you another experiment in civic engagement – this time the chance to help build Gateway Green by directly contributing to the project.

    Tomorrow – on September 5th  – the Friends of Gateway Green are asking everyone to help reach the goal of $100,000 on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to make the vision for Gateway Green a reality.  The money raised will be used to complete the design work for the park.  Contributors will receive a thank you gift, ranging from a Build Gateway Green t-shirt designed by artist Mike Klay to a VIP guest pass to a fall celebration at outdoor biking venue Lumberyard.  If you’re not able to make a contribution, you can still help by spreading the word.  In fact, sharing the Build Gateway Green page on Indiegogo – or posting it on Facebook and Twitter – and asking other people to share it, too, is the key to making the crowdfunding campaign a success.

    On September 5th, give at (click on the big Contribute Now button on the right hand side of the page) and join us in this experiment linking public input and crowdfunding to help build a great public space!

    PDF icon Build Gateway Green Consultation Summary Report
  • Build Gateway Green

    Over the past year, we’ve tackled tough issues throughout the state with the Governor’s budget priorities and the 2013 Oregon Values and Beliefs survey.  We did our first county-wide consultation in Curry County with residents weighing in on options to address their county’s budget.  Now the Kitchen Table is set for those of you in several counties (Clackamas, Columbia, Hood, Multnomah, and Washington) to help turn an overlooked parcel of land in East Portland into a vibrant, off-road bike park in a gateway to the region.

    A hidden treasure sits in the hub of East Portland’s Gateway area: 38 acres of unused, partially wooded land.  Nestled between I-84 and I-205, this is a perfect spot for an off-road biking park! The City of Portland has already committed to operate the park once we all come together to build it, but now the Friends of Gateway Green needs grassroots input and support to continue to design the space based on the public’s dreams for Gateway Green.

    Share your thoughts here at the Kitchen Table about features you want to see in Gateway Green.  The responses you and others provide will be compiled and presented to the park’s design team as they move onto the next round of design.  This is your opportunity to help shape a regional asset  that we can all enjoy for generations to come.

    The consultation will be open until August 23rd.

    Give your input into the next round of design work to make the most of this space for the whole region. To learn more about Gateway Green and the project  to date, visit the Friends of Gateway Green.

  • Celebrate Independence and Self-governance with Oregon’s Kitchen Table

    What better way to celebrate independence and self governance, Oregonians? We’re extending the consultation to give more Oregonians the chance to sign up for Oregon’s Kitchen Table and take the 2013 Oregon Values & Beliefs survey!

    With nearly 600 Oregonians taking their seats at the table for the first time in just this past week, we’re extending the 2013 Values and Beliefs consultation until the end of this month.  If you haven’t already, you’ve still got a few more weeks to respond to the survey (make sure to check your email for a link from Oregon’s Kitchen Table with the subject line “2013 Oregon Values and Beliefs”).  As always, if you experience any technical difficulties, please contact us and we’ll tackle them together.

    We’ve partnered with the sponsors of the 2013 Values and Beliefs survey because all of us want to give all Oregonians the opportunity to weigh in on this historic survey – this is your chance (once in a decade!) to let decision makers know what is important to you about Oregon and our future as a state.  Take a few minutes to invite your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and fellow Oregonians to join you in celebrating independence and self governance at the Kitchen Table!

  • Celebrating Birthdays Around Oregon’s Kitchen Table

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

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

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

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

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

    Wendy Willis

  • What kind of Oregon do you want to live in?

    Our first consultation with you in 2013 is a big one! Oregon’s Kitchen Table is serving as the home for all Oregonians to take part in the state’s 2013 Values and Beliefs survey this spring. The Oregon Values and Beliefs Sponsors – Oregon Community FoundationOregon Public BroadcastingOregon State UniversityOregon Health & Science University, and DHM Research – believe now is the time to give voice to all Oregonians. “This is a unique partnership that sets the table for Oregonians to help shape the future of the state,” said Adam Davis, Founder and Principal of DHM Research, and the research partner of the project.

    If you’re already a member of Oregon’s Kitchen Table, you’ll receive an email with a link to the survey. Click on it to share what you think, value and believe about the kind of state you want to live in.

    If you’re not already a member, this is a great opportunity to join and take part in this survey. It only happens once a decade! Go sign up for Oregon’s Kitchen Table, and then you will be asked to share your opinion about some of Oregon’s most pressing decisions — from health and health care to jobs and the economy. Oregonians will have until June 30, 2013 to submit input but can sign up on the website at any time. The information that you provide will be 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.

    Upon completion of the following questionnaire, you can choose to be entered into a raffle to win one of 45 prizes to be awarded at random: Five $200 cash cards, twenty 1959 Oregon Statehood and twenty 1954 Lewis and Clark Expedition blocks of 4, unused US commemorative postage stamps.
    So pull up a chair and join the conversation on Oregon’s Values and Beliefs.

    We want to hear from you!

    Wendy Willis

    Oregon Values and Beliefs Sponsors

    • Oregon Community Foundation
    • Oregon Public Broadcasting
    • Oregon State University
    • Oregon Health and Sciences University
    • DHM Research

    Project Partners

    • Oregon’s Kitchen Table
    • Northwest Health Foundation
    • AARP Oregon
    • Rural Development Initiatives
    • Meyer Memorial Trust
    • Public Strategies Group
  • Oregon’s Values and Beliefs Survey

    We’ve teamed up with the sponsors of the Oregon’s Values and Beliefs Survey to invite all Oregonians to share their vision for the future of Oregon. The Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Oregon State University, Oregon Health and Sciences University and DHM Research have joined forces and resources to create a comprehensive survey to take a deep look at the values, beliefs, and opinions of Oregonians on issues as diverse as government, public services and taxation; economic development and jobs; education; health and health care; the environment; and energy.

    While the project sponsors are conducting a scientific survey to assure valid and statistically reliable results for five regions of the state, Oregon’s Kitchen Table is giving all Oregonians the chance to weigh in on the state’s future.  The information that you provide will be 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.

    If you’ve already joined, soon you’ll receive an email with a link to take you to the survey.  If you haven’t joined yet, go sign up for Oregon’s Kitchen Table, and then you will be asked to share your opinion about some of Oregon’s most pressing decisions. Oregonians will have until June 30, 2013 to submit input but can sign up at the website at any time.

    We want to hear from you!

  • Curry County Consultation Results

    This fall we conducted our first county-wide consultation here at Oregon’s Kitchen Table, and now we’re happy to bring you the results!  In November and December, leaders and community members in Curry County invited residents of Curry County to take a seat at Oregon’s Kitchen Table and share their thoughts on county services and funding.  Over 500 folks did!  Take a look at what Curry County residents shared at the Table here.

    The content of the consultation was developed by a committee of Curry County residents along with staff from Oregon’s Kitchen Table and DHM Research, a public opinion research firm.  Rural Development Initiative (RDI) also assisted by holding four meetings of Curry County Ford Leadership Institute graduates to give feedback on the content.  RDI, the Ford Leadership Institute, the county, local governments and media outlets from around the county all participated in outreach to encourage as many Curry County residents as possible to give input through the consultation. The vast majority of the participants accessed the consultation through, but there were also paper surveys available through newspapers and at other public venues.  The results were shared with Curry County Commissioners  at their January 23rd Work Session.

    We hope you take a look at the results, and stay tuned for what’s next for Oregon’s Kitchen Table.

  • Happy New Year

    Happy New Year from Oregon’s Kitchen Table!

    In 2012, we brought you this experiment to set a table for all Oregonians to weigh in on our most urgent public policy issues.  The premise for this experiment? That our elected officials wanted to hear from you and that we have interesting and imaginative things to tell them!  It’s been an exciting year as we’ve all begun using Oregon’s Kitchen Table and exercising our muscles as citizens.

    When the experiment first launched, Governor Kitzhaber asked for your input on the state’s budget priorities, and a couple thousand of you took a seat at the Table to do just that. We’d like to close out 2012 and begin 2013 here at Oregon’s Kitchen table with a message from the Governor on that consultation:

    “Thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts, ideas, and priorities for the future of Oregon through Oregon’s Kitchen Table.  Your input was very valuable to me as I prepared my proposed 2013-15 budget and worked to develop the 10 Year Plan for Oregon.  I look forward to hearing from you again and working with all of you to achieve prosperity for all of Oregon.” – Governor Kitzhaber

    You can check out the results of the consultation with Oregon’s Kitchen Table here and view the Governor’s proposed budget here.

    Today, there are already 2,073 Oregonians around the Kitchen Table.  We’re up for adding on another leaf or two or three (as many as we need) to make room for more seats and more Oregonians! And we hope you’ll join with us in resolving to continue this experiment that brings us together in making decisions for our state.

    We’ll bring you the results from our most recent consultation with Curry County residents in a few weeks, and stay tuned for what’s up next for us all at Oregon’s Kitchen Table.

  • Take your seat at the table, Curry County!

    This week we’re excited that leaders and community members in Curry County are inviting residents of Curry County to take a seat at Oregon’s Kitchen Table and share their thoughts on county services and funding.  The consultation will go live Wednesday, November 8th and county residents will have until December 15th to join in on the conversation.  As always, you can take your seat and join today – once the consultation goes live, you’ll receive an email inviting you to start responding to the online survey.

    A really hard working group of leaders and community members have been working to craft the consultation with Oregon’s Kitchen Table and public opinion researchers.   And they want to make sure that the online survey is as easy as possible for all residents to access so they will be setting up “manned” assistance hours at local libraries, community colleges and schools where they’ll help anyone who wants both sign up for Oregon’s Kitchen Table (and get you an email address if you don’t already have one) and take the consultation.

    Public computers, internet access and assistance will be available at the following locations (this list will continue to be updated): 

    Chetco Community Library – Brookings
    405 Alder St.
    Visit the library during the hours below for in-person assistance in completing the online survey from Nov 16 – Nov 26 and Dec 3-Dec 15 (not Dec 10)
    Monday – Saturday from 11:00 to 1:00

    Langlois Library – Langlois
    48234 Hwy. 101, Langlois, Oregon
    The library has 4 public computers as well as public Wi-Fi
    Library hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM (library staff will help with any technical difficulties and connect for further assistance with the survey)

    Southwestern Oregon Community College – Gold Beach
    29392 Ellensburg Avenue
    Monday-Wednesday 9-NOON, 2:00-5PM
    Thursday-Friday 9-NOON

    Southwestern Oregon Community College – Brookings
    Room 233, Curry Campus, 96082 Lone Ranch Parkway
    Monday November 19 and 26 5:00-7:00pm
    Wednesday November 14 and 28 12:00-3:00pm
    Thursday November 8, 15 and 29 12:00-3:00pm

    Chetco Activity Center – Brookings
    550 Chetco Lane (up the hill behind the Subway Sandwich shop, east side of Hwy. 101, one block north of 5th Street in the heart of Brookings)
    The CAC Computer room is located upstairs, on the east side of the dining room. Users can log on to any of the 15 workstations or bring their own laptop to access the free Wi Fi network from either the building or the CAC Parking lot.
    Library hours are Mondays — Fridays, 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

    Port Orford Public Library
    1421 Oregon Street
    Library hours are Monday – Friday from 10-6 and Sat. and Sun 1-5
    Computers are available for public use. For assistance on the surveys, please contact Laurie Prouty (541-287-2000) and Mark Langton (541-332-0233)

    Agness Community Library
    3905 Cougar Lane
    Library hours are Monday and Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m

    Port Orford City Administrator’s Office
    Monday – Friday, 8-4:30
    555 W. 20th St
    Port Orford, OR 97465
    We recommend calling City Administrator Mike Murphy to set up a time for assistance

  • More Results, Curry County, and a Fundamentally Oregonian Space

    So much has happened over here at the Kitchen Table that we haven’t had a chance to catch our breath and catch up with you!

    First, we’ve posted the third and final set of results for the pilot consultation.  Check the results for the Economy and Jobs and Healthy Environment Outcome Areas Findings as well as comments from tablemates in response to those results.

    Second, a group of dedicated citizens and community leaders have been working closely with Oregon’s Kitchen Table and public opinion researchers to create a consultation that will gather input from Curry County residents about the county services and county funding.  That consultation will go live for Curry County residents next week, so keep watching The Latest to follow our first regional consultation.

    And, finally, we hope you got a chance to hear yesterday’s Think Out Loud on Oregon Public Broadcasting on navigating political divisions. We loved hearing the stories from Oregonians about how they have (or don’t have!) discussions about political issues with friends, family, colleagues and neighbors whose political views may differ from theirs.  The discussion touched on how we can create spaces that allow us to come together to actually address issues that impact each of us, despite those political differences. It made me think of how Phil Keisling, the Director of the Center For Public Service at PSU, has described Oregon’s Kitchen Table providing such a space: “The essence of the Kitchen Table project is that it’s neither left-wing, nor right wing. Rather, it’s fundamentally “Oregonian” — a sincere effort to engage as many diverse voices as we have in this state to share their thoughts and opinions on issues important to all of us.”


  • Results, Round 2

    Here is the second set of results from Oregon’s Kitchen Table!  As you recall, we are sending the results in three sections to give you a chance to digest and comment on the results. Check the results for the Healthy People Outcome Area and Revenue sections of the questionnaire.

    For each question, you’ll see two columns of responses–one for Oregon’s Kitchen Table and one for “Representative Statewide Sample.”  All that means is we ran the consultation twice–once with everyone who voluntarily took a seat at the table and once with a randomly selected representative sample of Oregonians.  We’re trying to check how well everyone at the table represents the full breadth of Oregonians’ opinions.

    You’ll also see that we have summarized your recent comments from the first set of results.  Check those out as well!

    In another two weeks, we’ll send you the final set of results.  In the meantime, we invite you each time to share your comments at  Along with the next report summarizing the Economy and Jobs and Health Environment Outcome Areas sections of the questionnaire, you’ll also receive a summary of what your table mates had to say about the previous reported sections.

    Thanks for all of your interest and input!

    Wendy Willis

  • We’re bringing the Table to Curry County

    This fall, Oregon’s Kitchen Table will be inviting folks in Curry County to take a seat and join in a discussion about their county’s financial picture.  Our second consultation is all about you, Curry County!

    The Curry County Board of Commissioners (BOC), under Chair Dave Itzen, have asked the Table to assist them in continuing their efforts to hear from Curry County residents on how to address the County’s revenue shortfall.

    Oregon Community Foundation and the Ford Family Foundation are funding the consultation, which will include facilitated, small group discussions held concurrently with the online survey.  This time, we’re actually going to set some tables so you can sit down face-to-face with your fellow Curry County citizens and talk about these important issues.

    The consultation will build upon the work the county’s Citizen’s Committee convened by the BOC and facilitated by one of our sister programs here at PSU’s Hatfield School of Government, Oregon Consensus.

    We’ll keep you posted as the Board and the Table develop the consultation! In the meantime, take a look at the results of our first, statewide consultation.

    Sarah Giles

  • The Results Are In!

    It’s been a busy summer over here at the Table (thanks for your patience as you waited to see the results), and we are glad to finally have the results of our first consultation. A few weeks back, thousands of Oregonians participated in a survey about the Governor’s budget including four outcome areas including education, healthy people, the economy and jobs, and healthy environment issues.

    We’re going to send the results out in three sections, giving you a chance to digest them and comment.  Check the results for the Education Outcome Area and Justice System sections of the questionnaire. For each question, you’ll see two columns of responses–one for Oregon’s Kitchen Table and one for “Representative Statewide Sample.”  All that means is we ran the consultation twice–once with everyone who took a seat at the table and once with a randomly selected representative sample of Oregonians.  We’re trying to check how well everyone at the table represents the full breadth of Oregonians’ opinions.

    Every two weeks, we’ll send you additional results for the First Consultation.  We invite you each time to share your comments by writing to

    Along with the next report summarizing the Healthy People Outcome Area and Revenue sections of the questionnaire, you’ll also receive a summary of what your table mates had to say about the previous reported sections.

    There is more to follow this summer and fall!  Stay in touch.


    Wendy Willis

  • A quick update from our kitchen table to yours

    We hope you all are enjoying a pleasant summer and that you are getting the chance to spend time with family and friends.   We’re writing to say:  Don’t worry!  The results from the pilot consultation are forthcoming.  To tell the truth, we’re a pretty small staff here at the Table, so we have been a little slower getting the results out than we wanted to be!  We’re trying to balance an awful lot of plates at once, but we don’t want you to think we’ve forgotten about you or the project.  Results soon . . .then more to come.

    Thank you again for your patience, for your participation, and for your dedication to Oregon.  Enjoy these long July days, and don’t be a stranger.

  • 979

    As I write this, 979 Oregonians – and counting! Yes, I’m absolutely watching the ticker move! – have signed up to join Oregon’s Kitchen Table and taken part in the first consultation on state budget priorities.

    We have also heard from a number of you with big ideas, corrections to glitches, and honest critiques. Thanks a lot – and keep them coming! That’s why this is an experiment. We’re learning more every day and continuing to adjust and adapt.

    If you still haven’t signed up or taken a few minutes to respond to the consultation, you’ve got a couple of more days left. This Friday, June 22, is the last day to participate in our first consultation. So pull up a chair at and encourage your family and friends to join the conversation! Call your mom in Madras, email your coworker in Corvallis, share our Facebook page with friends in Forest Grove, and text your daughter in The Dalles with an invite.

    Sarah Giles

  • It’s Time

    Good morning! Looks like the Governor stopped by Oregon’s Kitchen Table for a visit and he’s got a message for all of us.

    We’ve been asking you for a couple of weeks to take a seat at the Kitchen Table and to encourage your friends and family to do so, too.  Today, though, we’re asking you to do one more thing: participate in the very first online citizen consultation about the state’s budget and the kind of Oregon we want in the future.  The information that you provide will be used to inform the Governor in developing the state’s 10 Year Plan and the 2013-15 budget.

    Go sign up for Oregon’s Kitchen Table, and then you will be asked to share your opinion about some of Oregon’s most pressing decisions. This first consultation should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.
    So pull up a chair at and join the conversation.

    We want to hear from you before June 22, but please weigh in as soon as possible and encourage your friends and family to join the conversation!


  • Begin Here

    Over on our Facebook page, Cathie, a fellow Oregonian, shared a poem by Joy Harjo, which we think beautifully describes our goals here.  “Perhaps the World Ends Here” opens with the lines “The world begins at a kitchen table.  No matter what, we must eat to live. ”  We’ve set up this table as a place of beginning, too.  This is a place to nourish our views and ideas so we can begin to work together to improve the state we all inhabit.

    One of my favorite parts of this poem comes in the middle, when Harjo writes,

    Babies teethe
    at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
    It is here that children are given instructions on what
    it means to be human. We make men at it,
    we make women.

    I love the line “It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human.” For me, this is why the image of the kitchen table serves our purposes so well; it is at the table where we begin to learn how to interact with one another, to hold our forks and keep our cups upright. We learn manners and begin to civilly ask one another to please pass the butter. The kitchen table is an instrument of civilization, and so it makes perfect sense to me to think about what we’re doing here – trying out a tool for engagement – as a kitchen table.

    In some ways, we’re all the babies teething at the corner of Oregon’s Kitchen Table.  When we sign up and take our seat, we’ve all become part of this big experiment in trying, together, to help Oregon “put ourselves back together once again at the table.”

    Read all of Joy Harjo’s poem “Perhaps the World Ends Here,” and thanks to Cathie for sharing it

  • The Power of Questions

    Living here in Oregon, I’m a continent away from my dad, but we manage to keep really good conversations going about the issues affecting us in our different states. And he’s always sending me clips from his local paper or links to news articles.  Then we exchange long emails or phone calls about what we’re thinking. These exchanges remind me of the kitchen during dinnertime when I was growing up. More than anything else, I hear the noise of the six of us simply talking and discussing the things that mattered in our house, our family, our neighborhood, our town and beyond.  Even now, when we get together for a holiday meal, we come around to the really important issues in the public square. We shove our chairs back, pound the table, argue a little, get up for another helping, and keep talking.

    This week, my dad sent me an article he thought I’d like from the Boston Globe about how questions could drive learning, innovation, business strategy, and creativity and even help in our relationships with decisions makers.

    In “Are We Asking the Right Questions?” Leon Neyfahk writes, “Wielded with purpose and care, a question can become a sophisticated and potent tool to expand minds, inspire new ideas, and give us surprising power at moments when we might not believe we have any.”

    And it got me to thinking about what we’re doing here with Oregon’s Kitchen Table. This experiment relies on decision makers and our advisory board – a fantastic, dedicated group of civic leaders – working hard to make sure they’re asking questions that will inspire new ideas from all of you.

    Soon, we’ll be sending all of you who have signed up and taken a seat a series of questions (what we’re calling a “consultation”) about an important issue in our state. And even beyond that, we think that Oregon’s Kitchen Table will itself become a potent tool to inspire you to become interested in participating in public issues at the local, regional, and statewide levels.  We hope you will think about the kinds of questions we all need to be asking each other to get to the innovative ideas that will lead to good solutions in our state. And we hope you’ll take your questions back to the conversations you’re having at your kitchen table.

    As Dan Rothstein, who heads up the Right Question Institute, says:  “It’s essential to democracy. . . .You want citizens to be able to ask good questions.”

    Sarah Giles

  • Exercise Your Citizen Muscles

    Everywhere I look these days, that smart northern neighbor of ours, Eric Liu seems to be saying something provocative and wise, but his article in last week’s Atlantic, “Democracy is for Amateurs: Why We Need More Citizen Citizens,” was right over the plate in terms of what we are trying to achieve here at Oregon’s Kitchen Table.

    He lays it right out there—arguing that the work of democracy has become professionalized and that the majority of us have conceded our role as citizen to the practiced, the motivated, and the highly compensated. And, he argues –rightly so, in my opinion—that we need to redevelop our “citizen muscles.” As he puts it: “Citizenship is too important to be left to professionals . . . It’s time to democratize democracy again.”

    And, we’re trying to do some democratizing around here. Every Oregonian has something special to offer, no matter who we are or whether we’re regulars at town halls, seasoned PTA volunteers, new immigrants, or students recently turned on to public issues. The fact is, Oregon needs each of us, and we all need each other.

    As the German poet and playwright Gunter Grass put it: “The job of a citizen is to keep his mouth open.” And, I might add, her ears. Ours are open for what you have to say.

    So, check out Eric’s article. Leave a comment on our Facebook page. Send us a picture of your kitchen table (to or join our Flickr group). And, take a seat at the table!

    Wendy Willis

  • We want to hear from (and see!) you at the table

    As people across the state start to gather around Oregon’s Kitchen Table, we’d like to thank you! If you sign up by May 31, you’ll have a chance to win one of four collectible, mint condition 1959 Oregon Statehood U.S. Postage Stamps, donated by an anonymous Oregonian committed to bringing us together on the issues we care about most.

    On June 1, we’ll draw the names of four lucky people who’ve taken a seat at the table. Make sure to give us your address when you sign up – we’ll need to be able to mail the stamp to you if you win.

    We also want to get to know you! Send us a photo of you and your household, your friends, colleagues or neighbors at your own kitchen table. Send them to us by email (, post on our Facebook wall, or join our Flickr Group, Oregon’s Kitchen Tables, and submit there. Oregonians are a hospitable lot! We’re getting pictures of kids (what inspires you to make decisions about our state’s future?) and pets (what are the things that make you feel most at home?) and, of course, the tables where we all gather to talk things over.

    Here’s mine. In my household, we like to come armed with a recipe or two when we hash things out!

    Sarah Giles
    Recipe Reviewer (and PCI Special Projects Manager)


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