Portland Community Groups and Local Government Gathered to Prepare for Weather Emergencies 

News Article
Community organizations who serve Portland’s diverse communities participated in an exercise last week to prepare for emergencies.  
Group photo of participants in extreme weather tabletop exercise.

More than 35 Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) and Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) put their extreme winter weather plans into action on Wednesday, March 8. The exercise, the result of several months of planning and design by the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM), was part of a recurring series of Community Outreach and Resilience events to build community preparedness and response capabilities during extreme summer heat, wildfire and winter seasons.   

Screen shot from virtual meeting with 12 faces of community members

This exercise was designed for community organizations to understand local government and community-based organizations’ incident response capabilities and improve community resilience by practicing in a simulated scenario.  

In addition to government agencies communicating their incident response plans to Community Based Organizations and Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COADs), those groups offered their feedback and experiences in preparing for severe winter weather and power outages. PBEM is making note of recommendations and areas for collaborations. One lesson to emerge from the exercise was the need for more exercises.  

Participants of extreme weather tabletop working around a table

“Natural disasters hit Portland’s diverse communities – immigrants, people with disabilities, and Black, Indigenous and all people of color – the hardest. Our goal is to share and learn from each other’s experiences and capabilities before, during and after an emergency,” said Regina Ingabire, Community Resilience Outreach Manager for the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management. “This exercise will help us to identify areas of improvement in our coordination and communications with the CBOs in response to small- and large-scale emergencies to save lives.”  

Audience member at extreme weather tabletop asks presenter a question.

Participating Community Based Organizations included: Lloyd Eco District, GUERRERAS LATINAS,  

Latino Network, Torus, Dharma Rain Zen Center, ROSE Community Development, HAKI Community Organization, Janus Youth Programs, Inc, SJNA (and St. Johns NET), First Church Love, African Family Holistic Health Organization, ARISE and Shine, Leaders Become Legends, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Community for Positive Aging, De rose Community Bridge and Holistic Wellness, Micronesian Islander Community, Transition Projects, Project Access Now, Mother & Child Education Center, Lift Urban Portland, Self Enhancement, Inc., Familias en Accion, 211info, Multnomah County, FolkTime, Native American Youth & Family Center, Togo Community Organization of Oregon (TOGOCORE), Equity Analytics Group, Black Educational Achievement Movement (BEAM), Oregon Chinese Coalition, Oregon Public Health Institute, ReadyNW.  

Event partners: Multnomah County, National Weather Services, Portland General Electric, Portland Bureau of Transportation.