Portland Engagement Project

A photo of three people sitting on a concrete bench, talking. The right side of the photo is obscured by magenta gradient color. in the far bottom right corner are two overlapping white speech bubbles.
Civic Life is undergoing a strategic plan that will help us fulfill our promise to "Promote the Common Good."
two logos side by side. the first logo has two overlapping magenta call out bubbles, underneath in the same color are the words "Portland Engagement Project". The next logo is the Office of Community and Civic Life

How can we shape Portland’s future together?

The Office of Community & Civic Life is leading a multi-year reimagining of community engagement. Our goal is to create a city that’s truly connected and responsive to ALL its people.

We’re opening this process to all Portlanders, City employees, and civic engagement innovators. Together, we’ll clarify the needs of our communities and how Portland can improve the way it meets those needs now and into the future.

It's been nearly 50 years since our City last created a framework for civic engagement. In 2022, we’re still using that framework. Sometimes it works. Too often, it doesn’t. 

Our city - and our world - are different now, and will keep evolving. Let’s be ready for the future with a fresh framework that works for all Portlanders.

A loose line drawing of five people sitting on the ground talking

The Big Picture

Three circles side by side that read: Listen 2022-23, Design 2023-24, Enact 2024-25

Where Are We Now- Year One: Listening and Learning

An illustration of a twisty road. At the beginning of the road, there is a marker that says "We are here"

City Council has authorized $648K for Civic Life to lead this multi-phase, multi-year strategic engagement planning and bureau visioning process. Over two years, Civic Life will use this money to bring on external listening facilitators, build our Neighborhood Profile Maps and mapping tool, and fund the design, public input process, and implementation of the plan. Before we started, Civic Life earned City Council’s approval because many Portlanders shared a desire in improving the City’s engagement structure.

Funded by the bureau’s salary savings from fiscal year 2021-22, this process calls for the thoughtful and methodical input and insights on how the City of Portland can better engage with and serve residents in accordance with it's Comprehensive Plan for 2035.

Five speech bubbles in blue, orange, green, blue and magenta. They say: "Listen to Portlanders" "Listen to Data" Listen to City Employees" "Listen to Feedback" "Listen to Innovators"

Listen to City Employees

In spring 2022, Civic Life launched this multi-year planning process with an Internal Listening Project to gather ideas from City employees. We brought in our external partner, Pregame, to lead a gamified listening process custom designed for this project to elicit the best ideas from those already working to serve Portland.

Listen to Portlanders

Next, we’ll actively enroll Portland residents and groups to create a robust and equitable engagement structure that works for all Portlanders.  

In July 2022, Civic Life sent an email to dozens of neighborhood associations, district coalition offices and community-based organizations inviting them to provide feedback to 95 data-rich neighborhood profiles. The first letter was sent July 26, 2022, a second reminder was sent on August 2, 2022, and a letter extending the feedback deadline was sent on September 9, 2022. The feedback collected from these groups will inform a data-rich, user-friendly map slated for completion in mid-2023.

Check out our Neighborhood Profile Maps webpage, to learn more about the data-rich neighborhood profiles and map work.

We’ve only just begun and are excited to share more details soon!

Listen to Feedback

Important City-wide projects are currently underway that look at this question. We will use the data from the 2022 Portland Insights Survey and other sources to learn how the City can improve engagement.

Listen to Data

The Portland State University Mapping Project will provide community information like race, language, and food security, by neighborhood boundaries. Currently, 95 neighborhood profiles include 2020 census data. A user-friendly interactive map that will include even more data is expected to launch in 2023.

Listen to Community Experts

Civic Life will work with Portland State University and other academic institutions to host a Civic Engagement Summit that invites social scientists, public engagement experts, and community builders to inform our approach to engagement.

Our Partners 

Pregame: Independent consultants will listen objectively to gather the best ideas from diverse groups and individuals throughout Portland.

Portland Insights Survey, Citywide Equitable Engagement Group: Important research, surveys, and studies are already happening. Rather than duplicate efforts, we’ll incorporate their findings into our design.

PSU Population Research Center: Data-rich neighborhood profiles will help the City and our community partners improve outreach.

PSU Center for Public Service, Center for Public Impact: The Engagement & Governance Summit will bring together thought leaders already innovating for cities like ours.

Questions? Please contact civiclife@portlandoregon.gov