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About Civic Life

The Office of Community & Civic Life (or just Civic Life) was founded in 1974 as a way for members of the Portland community to get involved with their local government.
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What We Do

The Office of Community & Civic Life (or just Civic Life) was founded in 1974 as a way for members of the Portland community to get involved with their local government. Today, our bureau’s programs continue to invest in building strong civic engagement, community leadership, and support relationships between businesses and their neighbors.

We work every day with a wide range of partners to build systems that serve the needs of all Portlanders, ensuring equitable outcomes for our communities by:

  • Supporting communities in creating safe, fun, and inclusive neighborhoods.
  • Providing resources for immigrant and refugee communities.
  • Investing in community power by reinvesting cannabis tax funds into communities targeted and harmed by past cannabis prohibition.
  • Teaching communities about and providing resources for conflict resolution.
  • Supporting leadership development for Black Indigenous, people of color, immigrant, and refugee communities.
  • Helping businesses grow while protecting patrons and communities by leading safe, sensible, equitable, and environmentally-friendly regulation.
  • Building stronger communities by connecting neighborhood groups to resources and funding.
  • Connecting people to local government by inviting Portlanders to join advisory committees that impact policies and budgets.
  • Investing in programs to train diverse young leaders to engage in and lead on civic matters and creating a more representative local government.
  • And more…

Read more about us in our Civic Life brochure:

Addressing Equity

We recognize the importance of acknowledging and addressing systemic problems that harm our communities. Our Racial Equity Plan outlines the ways we are committed to fighting for equity for all. Civic Life must commit to racial and social justice goals if we are to achieve improved outcomes in community. We must also build a multicultural, multilingual work environment and capacitate and evaluate staff performance against these goals. Each of the main goals employs its own strategies, actions, and timelines. Please read more about our Racial Equity plan here:

About Director Suk Rhee

Portrait of Civic Life Director Suk Rhee

Suk immigrated to this country as a child and grew up in North Carolina. She received her master’s degree in whole systems design from Antioch University and bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College.

In August 2017, Suk joined the Office of Community & Civic Life as its director. Prior to that, she served as vice president of Strategy and Community Partnership at Northwest Health Foundation, where she led efforts to bring strategic thinking and programs in line to make them more effective and increase the impact in their communities. Some of her most meaningful work has come from partnering with organizations and sectors to increase the participation and influence of community members in the decisions that impact their lives. This has included serving as program director for an operating foundation engaging young people in the political process, program coordinator for a statewide association of community health centers, and organizer for a bi-national network of community, labor, Native and student groups pursuing environmental and economic justice.

Suk Rhee's Monthly Calendars

Civic Life is committed to transparency in how we operate. The calendar of our director is available to the public. Please contact us if you don't see a calendar month that you are looking for.

Civic Life Organizational Chart

You can find our most up-to-date staff organizational chart here.

Promote the Common Good: Civic Life is building stronger communities by supporting and empowering Portlanders. We think, act, and partner with our communities to better understand and take care of their diverse needs. We invite you to join us in this continuous, much needed work to make our communities safer and more welcoming for all.