Equity & Civic Engagement Best Practices

Information
A picture of three people standing outside. The person in the middle is in mid conversation and laughing.
This page provides resources for ongoing service delivery and connection improvements between Civic Life programs and all Portlanders for community-centered engagement.
On this page

Equity and Community Engagement

Civic Life programs create a culture of collaboration, expanding possibilities for all Portlanders to contribute their knowledge, experience, and creativity to address local concerns and make life better in the city we all share.

Update to Civic Life’s Racial Equity Plan

This project provides an update to the 2016 adopted Racial Equity Plan.

Today, we continue our commitment to addressing systemic inequities to build and restore community trust with underserved and underrepresented communities.

The Updated Racial Equity Plan is a living document that evolves in real time. It provides us with a roadmap for our work until a significant update to accommodate the City’s transition to the new form of government and the Civil Rights Title VI Plans can happen in July 2025.  

Drafts of the City’s Updated Racial Equity Plans including Civic Life were submitted with guidance from the Office of Equity and Human Rights team and accepted by City Council December 6th, 2023.  

Our Equity Outcomes Statement

All Portlanders have the ability and opportunity to engage in civic issues that matter most to them and see their voices reflected in decision-making for a representative City of Portland government.

Evaluating progress towards the outcomes

Adopt key strategies for community engagement investments that contribute to measurable impacts for Black, Indigenous, people of color, immigrants and refugees, youth, people with disabilities, LGTBQIA2S+ people, and other underserved and underrepresented communities.

More information is in the Draft Updated Racial Equity Plan (REP) here:

Data Snapshot

The percentages represent the allocation of ongoing Civic Life community outreach and leadership program funds in the FY 2023-24 Adopted Budget.
The percentages represent the allocation of ongoing Civic Life community outreach and leadership program funds in the FY 2023-24 Adopted Budget.

Equitable Engagement Talks 

These monthly talks provide a space and time for community engagement practice in the City of Portland. Community engagement practitioners can come to share City programs, projects, and services that strengthen community engagement. The goal is to promote a culture of collaboration in reaching and involving all Portlanders in civic life. Below are examples of specific topics covered and related skill-building resources shared:

  • 311 Services
  • Language Access
  • Portland Insights Survey Outreach and Engagement
  • Youth Engagement and Immigrant and Refugee Storytelling
  • Public Participation in Technologies and Digital Rights 
  • Report on Building Local Capacity for Community Engagement 

Community Engagement Practitioners Cohort

Civic Life partnered with the Centre for Public Impact (CPI)to create a cohort of 25 dedicated City employees who worked together to reimage equitable engagement practices.

Three arrows showing the spectrum of community participation. The graph demonstrates the level of community power correlated to the complexity of engagement strategies from informational documents to participatory budgeting processes.
Three arrows showing the spectrum of community participation. The graph demonstrates the level of community power correlated to the complexity of engagement strategies from informational documents to participatory budgeting processes.

Case Study: The Centre for Public Impact published the key learnings from the project. Read it here.

Key objectives included: 

  • Building cross-bureau collaboration and community engagement coordination.
  • Applying tools and concepts to build trusting community relationships with community leaders.
  • Sharing storytelling practices that center communities most impacted by decision-making processes. 

Portland Engagement Project (PEP) Results

The intended result of PEP is to create an equitable community engagement model that will help the Portland community and Portland City government rebuild trust and strengthen our processes to solve issues today and into the future. 

Civic Life consultants worked to gain input from Portlanders, City employees, community leaders, and engagement experts to learn how our government can better serve Portlanders. Our consultant Pregame also created the facilitation process for the design of the new engagement framework. When Portland government changes in 2025, the City will have an opportunity to design and implement a new engagement model.

Read the PEP results, consultant reports, and recommended design process on our website here.