Laying the groundwork to examine how local government works, Portland has selected a facilitator for its once-a-decade Charter Commission: Allison Brown of JLA Public Involvement.
Brown will help guide the 20-member commission in establishing group norms and culture, advise on best practices for virtual and in-person meetings, and facilitate the creation of a two-year work plan focused on community outreach, antiracism and equity. She was selected following a competitive call for contractors.
Brown leads collaborative decision-making processes of high interest to the public. Over the past year, she facilitated TriMet’s Transit Public Safety Advisory Committee, which considered how to reallocate funding divested from police contracts. She also facilitated the onboarding for Metro’s Supportive Housing Services oversight committee and facilitates groups that provide critical input for Multnomah County’s Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project.
Across these efforts, Brown focuses on effectively managing community participation, press attention and intense public scrutiny while maintaining a productive and respectful environment for members to work together.
“We’ll create meetings that are open and transparent, balancing public input with the need for the Commission to work productively and efficiently — meaningful facilitation that practices radical welcome,” she said. “By setting a tone of open discussion framed by curiosity and mutual respect, we'll create a culture that helps the group work productively toward a shared vision.”
JLA is a local firm that has been working with the City of Portland and other regional public agencies for more than 30 years, based on the foundational principle that people affected by a decision have the right to be involved in that decision. JLA works with agencies and jurisdictions throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington on projects that include strategic communication, online engagement, in-person and virtual facilitation and public decision-making.