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About the committee

Chapter 2 of Portland’s new Comprehensive Plan calls for the creation of a volunteer body to oversee the City’s community involvement efforts for land use and transportation planning projects.
On this page

Purpose of the committee

  • The CIC will review and advise City staff on their engagement with the public in land use and transportation planning projects and programs.
  • The CIC does not review content of planning projects; it focuses on the community involvement process.
  • The CIC will work with planning staff throughout the City to ensure that projects have strong community involvement practices.
  • The CIC will maintain and update the Community Engagement Manual.

Projects related to the Comprehensive Plan that are large in scope or that may benefit and/or burden different communities will include CIC review and feedback as early in the project as possible. These projects will also check in with the CIC during the project and present an evaluation after the project is over.

Other projects related to the Comprehensive Plan may come to the CIC for review if the Committee requests it or if staff choose to. The CIC will be kept updated about the status of all Comprehensive Plan-related projects. Planning projects that do not amend the Comprehensive Plan may also ask the CIC for review and feedback at staff’s discretion.

Community Engagement Manual

The Community Engagement Manual will guide City staff when implementing the goals and policies established in Chapter 2 of the Comprehensive Plan.The manual establishes the baseline expectations for all relevant projects. It also supplies a framework for staff, community members, the CIC and others to use when designing and evaluating projects to help keep community involvement work on track.

Background information

The role of this committee is shaped by Oregon Statewide Planning Goal 1, and Policy 2.19 of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan.

  • Oregon Statewide Planning Goal 1 requires that “(T)he committee for citizen involvement shall be responsible for assisting the governing body with the development of a program that promotes and enhances citizen involvement in land-use planning, assisting in the implementation of the citizen involvement program, and evaluating the process being used for citizen involvement.”
  • Policy 2.19 of the 2035 Comprehensive Plan states that “(T)he Community Involvement Committee (CIC), an independent advisory body, will evaluate and provide feedback to City staff on community involvement processes for individual planning and investment projects, before, during, and at the conclusion of these processes.”

Application and Selection Process

The first seven members of the CIC were appointed in May 2018. A second recruitment in 2019 resulted in the appointment of seven new members.


Both the CIC and Public Involvement Advisory Council (PIAC) are charged with improving the City’s involvement of the community in government planning and decision-making. Both do their work by setting standards (the City’s Public Involvement Principles and the goals and policies of Chapter 2) and supporting staff to meet those standards.

The PIAC provides citywide support and guidance on public involvement guidelines, policies and practices. In this role, PIAC focuses on specific issues with citywide application and provides input to individual bureaus on efforts to engage the public. Based on its charter and the capacity of volunteer members, PIAC does not work on individual projects within a single bureau, nor does it have any monitoring or oversight responsibilities.

The CIC’s role is limited to oversight of projects related to the Comprehensive Plan. It works on individual projects and has oversight and evaluation responsibilities. While the two committees’ roles are different, they are complementary. The CIC will benefit from ongoing communication with PIAC to share lessons learned and inform each other’s work.

Will the CIC act as a watchdog?

The CIC will not take on an ombudsman role or a policing role, but it will be sensitive to issues rising up from individuals and organizations. Community members with concerns or suggestions about community involvement in Comprehensive Plan-related projects should first contact project staff. This will allow concerns to be addressed more directly and efficiently and give the CIC room to focus on the main body of their work. However, if these concerns are not addressed at the staff level, community members may bring their concerns to the CIC. The objective of the CIC in these situations is to identify what can be improved at a systemic level and support staff to make those improvements.

Committee members

City Code calls for the CIC to have 5 to 12 volunteer members, serving three-year terms.

Current members

Rachel Bernstein headshot

Rachel Bernstein (she/her/hers) is the partnership and training manager at Oregon Humanities, where she works to build and strengthen organizational partnerships and recruit, train and support discussion facilitators. For the past decade, as a political and nonprofit professional, her work has focused on building the civic capacity and engagement of coalitions, organizations, groups and individuals. Rachel loves testing new recipes with her partner and exploring the Northwest's natural beauty with their dog, who loves hiking but hates camping. She looks forward to helping to increase and deepen community engagement.

Term: September 2019 – October 2022

Claire Carder headshot

Claire Carder retired in 2017 from ODOT after a 32-year career as an environmental professional. Her formal education includes a B.S. in geography and a bachelor’s/master’s degree in landscape architecture with special emphasis on community involvement in design. She and her family have lived in SW Portland since 1999. She is an avid runner and a strong advocate for active transportation. She also believes in community participation and has been active as a volunteer from pre-school parents’ boards and soccer coaching to PTAs and neighborhood associations wherever she has lived. She looks forward to helping the City of Portland, our neighborhoods and diverse communities as a member of the Community Involvement Committee.

Term: May 2018 – April 2021

Harranie Chavers headshot

Harranie Chavers (she/her/hers) was born in NE Portland and currently lives in the Woodlawn neighborhood. She will receive her B.S. in Community Development from Portland State University in 2020. Harranie has spent the past five years gaining experience through internships with TriMet, the Portland Housing Bureau and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Harranie also received recurring summer invitations to intern under Former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, advocating for the Summer Works program. She is passionate about volunteer work within the community, collaborating with the Oregon Food Bank and Dress for Success. She values inclusive engagement within the community and equity among diverse groups. The opportunity to advocate for those who are not able to because of social class, race, ethnicity and gender is aligns with her interest in intersectionality. She is honored to be a member of the Community Involvement Committee, where the focus is bringing community voice into decision-making.

Term: September 2019 – October 2022

Tony Greiner headshot

Tony Greiner has lived in Portland for 25 years and is a librarian at Portland Community College (Cascade Campus.) He is a member of the Irvington Land Use Committee, which gives advice to people planning to remodel and/or develop projects in that neighborhood, a designated “historic neighborhood.” He tries to walk, bike or take public transportation when possible. He likes to read history and other nonfiction and has given talks on the history of the Albina neighborhood.

Term: September 2019 – October 2022

Daniel Hafner headshot

Daniel Hafner (he/him/his) lives in the Irvington neighborhood and attends Portland State University, where he is pursuing a dual degree in community development and computer science. A former research assistant with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, he has a special interest in exploring the relationship between emerging technology and improved access to local government. He believes that government has a profound responsibility to be timely and reactive to community concerns and should center the voices of those most vulnerable and affected. Daniel also believes that all people are entitled to the right to participate in the decision-making process, particularly the historically marginalized.

Term: September 2019 – October 2022

Tanaira Johnson headshot

Tanaira Johnson (she/her/hers) is a Portland native who has spent the last 35 years living in N/NE Portland. Tanaira has a degree from Portland State University in global supply chain management and real estate development. She and her family have been actively involved in the community through nonprofit organizations targeting underserved communities. She has volunteered for local sustainability programs and has served as a liaison and organizer for the community to encourage active participation from various cultures. She believes strongly in suitable housing for all, environmentally friendly routines and human equity. Her passion is residential development, encouraging both the public and private sector. She believes that openness to diversity is essential for progress and innovation needed for our growing population. She is excited to contribute ideas to and initiate conversations with the Community Involvement Committee based on her personal, community and relational experiences.

Term: September 2019 – October 2022

Kaitlin W. La Bonte headshot

Kaitlin W. La Bonte works as a land use planner at DOWL, an engineering firm in Portland. She has a master’s in regional planning from Portland State University, where she focused on economic development and affordable housing development. She also has a bachelor’s in political science from New College of Florida. She believes that good urban planning can improve the quality of life for residents, while protecting our most precious environmental resources. She is an advocate for public participation in public policy decisions and believes that the people most closely affected by problems are often the best poised to develop their solutions. She is an engaged community member who monitors local, state and federal legislation and volunteers with a variety of community and professional organizations. She is an active outdoors person and has been a bicycle commuter for 18 years. She lives in the Cully neighborhood with her husband, and they will soon be welcoming their first child.

Term: September 2019 – October 2022

Susan Novak - Deferred membership to January 2020

Term: January 2020 – February 2023

Valeria Vidal headshot

Valeria Vidal (she/her/hers) is a first-generation American from Peru. She pursued her undergraduate education at Northeastern University in Boston, where she graduated with a dual B.A. in international affairs and languages, literatures and cultures and studied abroad in Iceland, France, Czech Republic and Japan. After graduating she continued her education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a masters in city planning. There she worked on client-based projects in Ecuador, Mongolia, Kenya, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan and Detroit. Valeria moved to Portland in the summer of 2017 and has worked in affordable housing and economic development for the Cities of Vancouver and Milwaukie. Valeria is now the housing program analyst to Metro's $652.8 billion regional housing bond that passed last November. She is part of the Global Shapers Portland Hub, a group of young professionals that volunteer for different events and initiatives that support community-based organizations across the Portland area.

Term: September 2019 – October 2022

Sandra Walden headshot

Sandra Walden lives in downtown Portland and is recently retired from a career as a project/program manager and business owner. She has worked as a realtor and developer in the Pearl District, a solar developer as well as for the wireless industry, building and modifying telecommunications sites. She has been an active participant in neighborhood associations and the Downtown Business Association and has a longstanding interest in urban planning. She is looking forward to using her experience in the community and professionally to be of service. She believes that community involvement will improve the planning process by giving more residents an opportunity to have a voice, incorporating information and knowledge from all populations. Participation, pride and ownership create a bond that brings people together where they can be more creative problem solvers.

Term: May 2018 – April 2021

Christina Wienholz (she/her/hers) lives in Portland with her family. She graduated from the City of Portland’s Disability Leadership Academy in June of 2017. She remains active in alumni activities. She has also been a volunteer for a Resolutions NW facilitation cohort since May of 2017. She is excited to serve on the Community Involvement Committee because she wants to help ensure that our city is the most inclusive and equitable it can be. She considers her greatest skill to be her commitment to consensus building and making sure that all voices are heard to make the most equitable decision. As people become invested in the decision-making process, they will be empowered knowing their stories are heard, which helps the City make the best decisions for all.

Term: May 2018 – April 2021

Katy Wolf headshot

Katy Wolf has lived in Portland for more than 10 years. As a renter, she has been involved in the Boise Neighborhood Association (BNA) board since 2014. She has served as the safety and livability chair as well as the Neighborhood Emergency Team lead, and still serves as secretary and communications chair. Katy joined the BNA board to learn about the neighborhood history, connect with community leaders and contribute to community-building events and projects. She is interested in problem solving issues of local civic engagement, democratic systems and policy-making in a diverse and complex city like Portland. Katy’s volunteering and passion for emergency preparedness, sustainability and community resilience led to a career working for the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, where she trains City staff to be Emergency Coordination Center responders. Katy has also worked for six years in energy efficiency program management and business development, in addition to urban planning and design for two years. Katy holds a B.A. in English from the University of Oregon. Outside of work, Katy enjoys horseback riding and mounted archery.

Term: May 2018 – April 2021


Nikoyia Phillips headshot

Nikoyia Phillips (she/her/hers) is the equity and engagement strategist for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS). She is also the coordinator for the Community Involvement Committee. Portland is Nikoyia’s hometown, where she has spent many years as a community organizer in North and East Portland, advocating for increased access to vital resources for underserved communities. She attended Portland State University where she studied community psychology, ethnic studies and conflict resolution. Nikoyia’s current focus is on land use and transportation, but her public involvement work spans the education and public health sectors as well. Prior to joining BPS, Nikoyia supported the development of equity-centered outreach strategies for Portland Public Schools, Portland Community College and the Multnomah County Health Department. Her diverse experience manifests in special interests in creative collaborations, racial identity-focused methodologies and art-based engagement. Nikoyia lives in the Foster-Powell neighborhood, has two little dogs named Gemini and Aries, and moonlights as a volunteer Wish Granter for the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Oregon.

Sophia Alvarez-Castro headshot

Born and raised in Santiago, Chile, Sofia Alvarez-Castro loves engaging with Spanish-speaking communities. A trained professional planner, she is passionate about intentional, culturally responsive and equitable public involvement. Sofia enjoys working on large scale land use, transportation, community development and community engagement projects. Sofia holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and Bachelor of Science from the University of Oregon in planning, public policy and management. In her free time, Sofia enjoys going on excursions around the city, finding the best brunch spot, traveling, and discovering her next favorite song.

NaTasha Gaskin headshot

NaTasha Gaskin is a Bureau of Planning Sustainability staff member who wears many hats. Currently she specializes in Administration, Internal Services, and program support for the Community Involvement Committee. Outside of the office you can find her in the garden or fussing over her beloved guinea pigs, Mabel, Gladys and Evie.

Anita Yap headshot

Anita Yap is the principal of the MultiCultural Collaborative. She has worked in Oregon's planning field for over 20 years in cities, counties, regional government and the state. She specializes in embedding racial equity in her work in community engagement, urban design, public policy and community development. Anita has received numerous awards for her innovative work, including the National International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Core Values Award for the Powell Division Project, The Governor's Livability Award for a project in Bend and Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association Distinguished Leadership Award.

Former members

  • Beth A. Rubin, Ph.D.
  • Alexandra Degher
  • Jai Singh
  • Isa Dean
  • Caitlin Burke