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Equity & Inclusion

Portland Parks & Recreation is committed to the overall Citywide vision that race will have no detrimental effect on people of color, refugee and immigrant communities in accessing our parks and natural areas, or from the benefit of our services.

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What is Equity?

Equity is achieved when one's identity cannot predict the outcome. - OEHR's working definition


Portland Parks & Recreation Equity Statement

We recognize, understand, and encourage celebration of the differences that surround us. Diversity and equity are vital to Portland Parks & Recreation's ideals and values.


Language Services

Portland Parks & Recreation is committed to making sure all Portlanders can access City services, regardless of language. We make free walk-in and over-the-phone translation services available in over 240 languages, including American Sign Language.

Language Services Line:

Below are common languages used by Portlanders, as examples of the languages we serve.

  • Spanish: Español
  • Vietnamese: Tiếng Việt
  • Chinese: 中文
  • Russian: Русский
  • Romanian: Română
  • Ukrainian: Україньска
  • Japanese: 日本語
  • Somali: Soomaali
  • Arabic: عربي
  • Laotian: ລາວ

Language Interpretation

For our verbal in person and over the phone language interpretation needs we have a contract with LanguageLine services. LanguageLine is able to provide us with over the phone interpretation in over 200 languages, 24 hours a day. All community members who interact with PBOT staff may request language interpretation services at any time, at no cost to them, and the PBOT staff will call an interpreter through our contracted service provider.

City of Portland Nondiscrimination Notice:

The City of Portland operates in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, ORS Chapter 659 A, Portland City Code Title 23, and other related statutes and regulations, such that no person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any City program, service or activity on the basis of race, color, national origin, English proficiency, disability, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or familial status, or source of income. 

The City of Portland also requires its contractors, vendors, and grantees to operate likewise. 

To help ensure access to City programs, services, and activities, the City of Portland reasonably: provides language translation and interpretation for limited English proficiency individuals; modifies policies and procedures; and, provides auxiliary aids, services and/or alternative formats to persons with disabilities. 

To request an accommodation, modification, translation, interpretation or language service; to file a complaint; or for additional information or questions on Civil Rights Title VI and ADA Title II matters (race, color, national origin, English proficiency, and disability nondiscrimination in public City programs, services, activities): contact the Civil Rights Title VI and ADA Title II Program Manager by phone at 503.823.2559, TTY at 503.823.6868, or Oregon Relay Service at 711.

The City of Portland operates in accordance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Title I of the ADA, and other related statutes, regulationsand City rules.  For requests, questions, complaints, or for additional information related to Employment and Civil Rights, pleasereview Human Resources Administrative Rule 2.01, Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Human Resources Administrative  Rule 2.02, Prohibition Against Workplace Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation on the Bureau of Human Resources website (tab Administrative Rules) or contact our Bureau of Human Resources by phone at 503.823.3572, TTY at 503.823.6868, or Oregon Relay Service at 711.


Equity Lens and Racial Equity Toolkit (RET)

You may have heard the term "equity lens", which often gets said in sentences like "Use an equity lens on that project before you make any big decisions on it". It sounds like we can just put on a pair of glasses and see potential benefits and burdens on communities, but it's not quite that simple. It is about developing a different way of looking at things, which is why it is called a lens.

One way to operationalize the "equity lens" is to use what's called an "Equity Toolkit". There are different versions of equity toolkits available out there, and after careful consideration, the City of Portland adopted the Government Alliance for Race and Equity's version of Racial Equity Toolkit (RET). With the help of the equity staff from different bureaus, the Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR) later modified the toolkit and created its own version for the City's use.

OEHR piloted two trainings on the use of the RET for City staff in September 2016. Ten of our staff, including our Equity and Inclusion Program Manager and Hatfield Fellow, attended the trainings. The cohort, coming from at least eight different City bureaus, now meet at least once a month to discuss best practices and challenges in using the RET on policies, projects and programs.

The City adopted RET helps to integrate explicit consideration of racial equity in the decision-making process. In short, it is a process of seven steps:

  • Set racial equity goals;
  • Collect and analyze data;
  • Understand the historical context;
  • Engage those impacted;
  • Refine outcomes and develop equitable strategies;
  • Implement changes; and
  • Evaluate and report back.

Using a data-driven approach and an equity lens, the RET ensures that our actions and decisions are designed to achieve equitable outcomes; and helps us engage communities of color in decision-making, understand the root causes of existing disparities, and identify how our work can reduce these disparities.

Additional information:

Jurisdictions of other cities and public organizations have adopted their own equity toolkits. Here are some of the examples:

The City of Seattle: Racial Equity Toolkit is part of the City of Seattle’s overall effort to eliminate racial inequity and is a set of questions designed to guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of policies, programs, projects, and budget issues with an equity lens.

The City of Madison created two RSJI tools, a comprehensive version for significant decisions and a fast track version to be used only for low-stakes decisions. As of April 2015, the toolkit, with an emphasis on stakeholder involvement, has been used on seven to eight different projects and featured in GARE’s toolkit.

Racial Equity Tools is a collection of tools, research, and tips to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity.  

The Native American Program of Legal Aid Services of Oregon, the Indigenous Ways of Knowing Program at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, the Western States Center, the Pride Foundation and Basic Rights Oregon collaborated on this Tribal Equity Toolkit for Two-Spirit and LGBT equity in Indian Country.

Western States Center developed a list of training tools and curricula on organizational development and various issues surrounding equity and inclusion.