PBOT COVID-19 Frontline Communities Partnership

News Article
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has launched a new initiative called Safe Streets to respond to the Covid-19 public health crisis. The program will make temporary changes to city streets and sidewalks to support physical distancing in public spaces and other critical travel needs.
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Call for Equity Partners to Inform PBOT’s COVID-19 Response Efforts

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Letters of Interest Due Tuesday, June 9, 2020 

Optional Info Session Thursday, May 28 (details below) 

PBOT wants to ensure that the Safe Streets Initiative and all PBOT COVID-19 response efforts account for and support the needs of frontline community members. It is always our priority to support the safe movement of people and goods, and that focus is even more critical due to safety concerns from the COVID-19 health crisis. As the world, and the city of Portland, prepares to reopen, we have more critical work to do to provide safe travel options. We cannot do this important work without deep partnership with community.  

PBOT invites community organizations to participate in this short-term partnership opportunity to inform our ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, including Safe Streets.  Partner interest letters are due Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Information to come as to when partners will be notified. Stay tuned. This program will support engagement from June to October 2020.   

The Safe Streets Initiative includes over twenty actions supporting physical distancing on our streets, implemented through three programmatic pillars:

  • Slow Streets. The Neighborhood Greenways-focused pillar of the initiative, keeping local street connections slow and safe with messaging and advisory interventions. PBOT will turn our network of low-traffic streets (known as “neighborhood greenways”) into “local access only.” This will help limit traffic to essential trips and deliveries. Plus, people of all ages and abilities will now have more space to get outside while staying close to home. 
  • Safer Busy Streets. The programmatic pillar for immediate interventions on busy streets that already lacked sidewalks. On busy streets with narrow or missing sidewalks, PBOT will make changes to provide more space and make it easier for people to walk 6 feet apart and maintain physical distance at high ridership transit stops
  • Healthy Businesses. The business-focused pillar of the initiative, helping local businesses adapt to physical distancing guidelines with a Business Toolkit. PBOT will support our many business “main streets” by providing more space for pickups and deliveries, as well as places for customers to line up to pick up their purchases. PBOT will work with businesses and organizations to allocate space in the sidewalk and street for retail, services, restaurants/cafes, and groceries.  

For each of these efforts to be successful, PBOT will be encouraging cooperation and communication. As always, PBOT will remind the community that our streets belong to everyone, whether you’re walking, biking, rolling, or driving. These changes are being rolled out quickly in the middle of a crisis. We want to hear from you how these changes are impacting you, and how we might adapt our approach moving forward.

How can organizations participate? 

PBOT invites culturally specific and equity-focused community based organizations to submit a letter of interest to receive up to $10,000 to lead activities that identify community needs to shape and inform how the Safe Streets program and other COVID-19 response efforts can work to meet those needs.  

Partnership options will include: 

  • Building capacity in community organizations to advise PBOT on COVID-19 response policy and program priorities
  • Facilitate online information sharing and engagement (social media campaigns, virtual meetings, discussion forums or surveys)  
  • Engagement through wellness and safety programs, including Sunday Parkways virtual events, Safe Routes to School assistance for summer programs and school safety in the fall, and other safety trainings 
  • Support minority owned businesses reopen safely with support from the PBOT COVID-19 Business Toolkit (more details coming soon) 
  • Facilitate public art and placemaking projects 
  • And other activities as identified by community partners (and approved by PBOT)

Selection Process + Funding Allocations   

  • PBOT has allocated $50,000 to support this COVID-19 partnership opportunity. Awards to individual groups will be up to $10,000, depending on agreed upon activities.  We anticipate 5-10 partners will be selected for this opportunity.  
  • This partnership will prioritize organizations working in direct service to or in collaboration with Black, Indigenous and People of Color; Immigrants and Refugees; older adults and people living with disabilities and other populations at highest risk to COVID-19 or the compounding effects of the public health pandemic.  
  • PBOT will work with selected partners to confirm specific activities. Each activity will likely have a flat fee allocation.  Funding may be used for community organization staff time, participation stipends and direct service to community members. 
  • PBOT will develop a purchase order with each selected COVID-19 partner including a scope of work, list of deliverables, not-to-exceed cost and reporting requirements.   
  • PBOT will select partner organizations based on: 
  • Diversity of represented communities/populations 
  • Ability to engage with PBOT staff over the life of the initiative  
  • Demonstrated connections to target populations  
  • History of successful community engagement and service provision 

How to Apply 

Interested parties must submit a letter of interest (up to four pages) that addresses: 

Organization name, contact person, email, phone, address 

Primary contact for PBOT coordination 

Confirmation of fiscal sponsor (applicable if the group is a network, but not a structured organization)  

Short summary of organization mission; primary demographics served/engaged; and geographic focus (if applicable)  

Utilizing the information above, briefly describe how you would like to partner with PBOT, including: 

  • What is your focus or interest in COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts? 
  • What demographics would your PBOT Frontline Communities partnership activities focus on serving? Why do you feel it is critical for this group to engage with us? 
  • Would your work require language or accessibility support?  
  • Do you have ideas or priorities beyond those that we have provided that you would like to propose for this partnership? 
  • Is there support beyond what we have listed that you would like PBOT to provide? 
  • Is your organization able to undertake engagement work beginning in late June 2020? 

Interest letters must be submitted by Tuesday, June 9, 2020 by email to pbotequityteam@portlandoregon.gov. For assistance, please contact Irene Marion, PBOT Equity + Inclusion Manager by phone or text, 503.823.8331

Optional Info Session 

Join us for an optional virtual information session on Thursday, May 28, 4-5 PM. (PLEASE NOTE THE UPDATED DATE + TIME)  

RSVP for info session.