Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

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Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland is an effort to build systems, tools, and a planning framework that links Portland Parks & Recreation's strategy and investments to outcomes in the community.
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What is Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland?

PP&R is changing the way it plans and makes strategic decisions. Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland calls for an ongoing cycle of listening and learning with community to drive its strategy. Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland will be responsive and transparent and will allow PP&R to share decision-making with underserved communities.

This new way of operating is a big change, and it will take time to create the partnerships and trust needed to succeed. PP&R welcomes the chance to have regular, meaningful community conversations with the community.

Who will we center?

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland prioritizes the voices and the needs of underserved communities, specifically Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, immigrants and refugees, LGBTQIA+ people, youth, older adults, people living with disabilities, and people living with low incomes. 

Why are we engaging underserved communities?

PP&R is grateful for the time and knowledge people have shared with us through past listening and partnerships. The community's investment in and input about the parks and recreation system has shaped new parks, designed new programs, and informed new policies.

Now, as PP&R strives to become an anti-racist organization, we will prioritize listening and learning from underserved communities and culturally specific and community-based organizations. We will strive to address inequities in the parks and recreation system. 

What tools are we building?

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland will build systems, tools, and a planning framework that links strategy and investments to community outcomes. PP&R has recruited work teams to create and provide input on each of the tools below. All teams, except the Listening & Learning Team, include community representatives from culturally specific and community-based organizations.

Tools include:

  • Listening & Learning  Process - An ongoing commitment to listen and learn from the community and document community insights over time.
  • Mission, Vision, Values, and Racial Equity Statements – These statements will reflect the community’s values and guide the strategic direction for PP&R.
  • Actions & Results Framework– A strategy framework to ensure PP&R’s strategic actions support community outcomes and are measurable and transparent.
  • Decision Support Tool – A transparent and common way to evaluate choices and investment decisions. PP&R will use the tool to inform budget decisions, design programs, and develop policies. 

Listening & Learning Process

A diagram shows how PP&R is involving stakeholders in two waves of community listening and learning.

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland calls for an ongoing cycle of Listening & Learning to drive its strategy. It will be responsive and transparent and will allow PP&R to share decision-making with underserved communities.

In 2021, PP&R completed its first wave of Listening & Learning to inform both its planning processes for Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland overall and hear from community priorities to include in the bureau’s new Mission, Vision, Values, and Racial Equity Statements.

As part of this process, PP&R created a database to capture both quantitative and qualitative data received in Listening & Learning sessions with community. The database will continue to be refined and modified as the bureau approaches its second wave of Listening & Learning in 2022.

The Listening & Learning Process is being coordinated and facilitated by PP&R Community Engagement Team. Advisors include the bureau’s Equity & Inclusion team and Diversity and Equity Committee.

Mission, Vision, Values, Racial Equity Statements

A diagram shows how Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland deliverables relate to each other.

This graphic shows how the Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland deliverables inform each other. Without a current mission, values, and racial equity statement, PP&R does not have a well-defined vision or community outcomes.

PP&R created a team to work on new Mission, Vision, Values, and Racial Equity Statements. The team included staff and community members from community-based and culturally specific organizations.

In 2021, PP&R completed its first wave of Listening & Learning to inform both its planning processes for Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland overall and hear from community priorities to include in the bureau’s new Mission, Vision, Values, and Racial Equity Statements.

After considering past community input and information received during the project’s first wave of Listening & Learning with community, this team worked together over three months to draft statement options. These options will be shared with the community in 2022 and statements will be refined to reflect that input.

As part of this work, the team also drafted broad outcome categories for PP&R. These outcome categories will help organize and anchor the bureau’s Actions & Results Framework.

Actions & Results Framework

This graphic above shows how the Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland deliverables inform each other. Without a current mission, values, and racial equity statement, PP&R does not have a well-defined vision or community outcomes.

Recently, a team of PP&R staff and community members drafted new Mission, Vision, Values, and Racial Equity statement options. The team also drafted outcome categories for the bureau, which will help anchor the Actions & Results Framework.

In 2021, a small team of PP&R worked together to envision the Actions & Results Framework and test it with existing bureau guiding plans. Currently, the Actions & Results Framework is being built in an access database and visualization tools are being created.

Once that is complete, PP&R will populate the Actions & Results Framework with outcomes, outcome measures, actions, action measures, and results, pulling from existing guiding plans and recent budget allocations.

A larger team that includes additional PP&R staff and community members from culturally specific and community-based organizations kicked off in February 2022 to review the Actions & Results Framework and assess gaps. The team will also help prioritize outcomes and where the bureau should work to create stronger measures.

By the fall of 2022, PP&R will create a draft Actions & Results Framework that will help us begin to make better decisions for future resource allocation. But, like all the work in Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland, actions and results work will be ongoing, with a regular cadence of community input and updates.

Decision Support Tool

In 2021, PP&R piloted a Decision Support Tool as part of its fiscal year 2021-22 Fall Budget Monitoring Process, where the bureau allocated dollars from the Parks Local Option Levy to staff, programs, and services that supported levy commitments.

The Decision Support Tool Pilot analyzed budget proposals based on bureau budget values, commitment to levy outcomes, demographic service area, and used PP&R’s Racial Equity Lens and Empowerment Tool. After the pilot was completed and analyzed, the Decision Support Tool was slightly revised for use in the FY 2022-23 Requested Budget.

PP&R will continue to refine the Decision Support Tool for use in future budget development.

How does Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland relate to past planning efforts?

A robust series of plans, including the Parks 2020 Vision, 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, and the Five-year Racial Equity Plan, have guided PP&R. As we considered what it would take to create a more equitable parks and recreation system, we knew that we would need an integrated and adaptable approach to planning. 

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland will have a continuous cycle of listening and learning, making investments, and measuring community outcomes. A commitment to learning will improve how the parks and recreation system serves the people of Portland while holding PP&R accountable to the community.

A graphic shows how PP&R past planning efforts were not linked together and shows what the bureau is striving toward in Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland.

Contact

Nicola Sysyn

Strategic Program Coordinator

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