Partnering for Learning
We put our vision for government into practice through learning partner projects that align with our values and help reimagine government so that it works for everyone.
The City of Portland’s Office of Community and Civic Life partners with the Centre for Public Impact to advance equity-centered community engagement
May 11, 2023 -- Today, the Centre for Public Impact released The Citywide Equitable Engagement Cohort: Portland, Oregon. The report details The Office of Community and Civic Life’s efforts to codesign an innovative, equitable, and responsive community engagement structure that supports flourishing for all Portlanders.
The Citywide Equitable Engagement Cohort (CEEC) brought together representatives from 13 Departments for a three-month program designed to support Portland to:
Cocreate a unifying structure for cross-bureau collaboration and engagement coordination;
Share tools and concepts to build legitimacy tailored to practitioners’ needs;
Understand community perspectives by developing deeper relationships with community leaders; and,
Share storytelling practices to highlight the importance of strong community engagement with city leadership and the community.
CPI delivered this program through modules focused on understanding and historical analysis, cocreating equitable engagement tools with residents, and using storytelling to gain leadership and community support for engagement efforts.
“The dedicated practitioners in this group know that the people closest to a problem are also closest to the solution and their experiences must be taken into account,” said a spokesperson from the Office of Community & Civic Life. “We are grateful to CPI for guiding the group to build trust with community and create authentic, people-centered, equitable community engagement practices at the City of Portland.”
During the CEEC, Portland public servants conducted listening sessions with community learning partners to understand the current local context, reflect on the history of the present moment, and analyze power dynamics through systems mapping. Comments from the listening sessions were synthesized into four key themes for better community engagement, which became the focus of work for the rest of the program:
Building and/or repairing community trust to ensure inclusive decision-making;
Making knowledge, information, and resources more available to communities;
Implementing community feedback and communicating changes; and
Addressing historical and recent traumas.
“We are thrilled by the progress Portland’s Office of Community and Civic Life has made to establish equitable community engagement practices across the various city bureaus,” said Jorge Fanjul, North American Director for Government Legitimacy at the Centre for Public Impact, “We believe that public servants across the globe can learn from their efforts, and applaud Portland’s willingness to transparently share their journey for the benefit of other governments and communities.”
For more information on the Citywide Equitable Engagement Cohort, please read the report from the Centre for Public Impact: https://www.centreforpublicimpact.org/case-study/the-citywide-equitable-engagement-cohort-portland-oregon
About the Centre for Public Impact
At the Centre for Public Impact, we believe in the potential of government to bring about better outcomes for people. Yet, we have found that the systems, structures, and processes of government today are often not set up to respond to the complex challenges we face as a society. That’s why we have an emerging vision to reimagine government so that it works for everyone.
A global not-for-profit organisation founded by the Boston Consulting Group, we act as a learning partner for governments, public servants, and the diverse network of changemakers who are leading the charge to reimagine government. We work with them to hold space to collectively make sense of the complex challenges we face and drive meaningful change through learning and experimentation.
About the Office of Community & Civic Life
The Office of Community & Civic Life connects the people of Portland with their City government to promote the common good. Founded in 1974, Civic Life works to build stronger communities by supporting and empowering Portlanders to get involved with their local government through civic engagement, community leadership, and support for neighbors and businesses.
Communications Specialist, Centre for Public Impact
Public Information Officer, Office of Community & Civic Life
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For more information on the Citywide Equitable Engagement Cohort and Portland's efforts to uplift the voices of marginalized groups and share power with communities, please read the report from the Centre for Public Impact.