Statement on Civic Life Small Grants - A Letter of Clarification to Neighborhood Associations

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Dear Neighborhood Associations,

I want to first thank all of you who have testified at the recent City Budget Listening sessions, who have contacted Council Offices, and otherwise expressed their support for the $250,000 budget request Civic Life has made in their FY 2022-23 Requested Budget to continue funding Neighborhood Association Small Grants and increases to District Office operational funding. We are on the same page and in total agreement that this vital resource should continue to be funded.

Summarizing Civic Life’s Spring BMP requests and the Bureau’s upcoming fiscal year 2022-23 budget requests:

Neighborhood Association Small Grants and increased operational funding for District Offices are unchanged and are part of Civic Life’s annual budget request. 

The request that the annual Neighborhood Association Small Grants as well as increased operational funding for District Offices be funded in the FY 2022-23 still stands and is still on the table for the mayor’s consideration in his Proposed Budget. Neighborhood Association Small Grants and operational funding remain an annual budget priority item at Civic Life, and I know I have strong support for this request amongst all of my Council colleagues, so I am optimistic that together, we will fund this request in the FY 2022-23 Budget.

Civic Life’s Strategic Spring BMP budget allocation to be used for strategic planning to benefit all Portlanders, including neighborhood associations:

Spring BMP is an annual opportunity for any bureau to request reallocation of its unused budget before the fiscal year ends for emerging and strategic initiatives that would positively benefit all Portlanders.

In this year’s Spring BMP, Civic Life had requested $648,459 of salary savings to be carried over in the next two fiscal years to support their robust strategic planning and bureau visioning process.  

Portland’s form of government is more than a century old, and we are one of the last major cities in the U.S. with a commission form of government. Later this year, Portlanders will choose to either keep the commission form of government or adopt a model that is closer to what most large U.S. cities have. A new form of government could better ensure the timely delivery of services, resources, and programs.

While the Charter Commission explores this, Civic Life will be undergoing a multi-phase, multi-year strategic engagement planning process that will go above and beyond traditional, bureau-only planning. Ultimately, this strategic planning process will serve more than just Civic Life, as it aims to examine and produce a citywide engagement roadmap for all bureaus and all Portlanders to co-design an engagement model that serves all Portlanders, including emerging neighborhoods and communities.

During the strategic planning process, all community stakeholders that wish to engage in this process of shaping the City’s existing engagement processes will have ample opportunities to do so. In fact, the community will be instrumental in co-designing the community’s engagement structures to inform today’s issues, as well as to proactively resolve and possibly prevent emerging issues of our growing and changing city. This will include partnerships with you that will help the process be data driven. Data collection and data reporting is part of the Civic Life strategic planning process, in which they are working with Portland State University’s Population Research Center on a data map that would provide useful detail tailored for every Portland neighborhood to help identify new/emerging neighborhoods and issues.

The budget reallocation request is needed to help kickstart this process. Once the data map and process timeline are established, the most vital part of this process is your input. I hope you will join us on May 5, at 6:30 pm for a Community Budget Listening Session on the Mayor’s Proposed Budget. I look forward to your testimony and appreciate your advocacy.

Sincerely,

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty