Improving Citizen & Community Involvement
Create an Office of Neighborhood Involvement
Our neighborhoods are a part of the reason why Portland attracts and keeps so many young people, families, and seniors looking for community. However, neighborhood involvement throughout the City varies and some lack the resources to organize and engage in community building programs and events. Creating an office solely dedicated to supporting neighborhood associations through outreach, small grants, technical assistance with applications for such things as funding and developing a neighborhood plan, and serving as a liaison, will increase transparency and foster community and civic engagement.
Establish a Board of Neighborhood Associations
In order for the Office of Neighborhood Involvement to succeed, a Board of Neighborhood Associations should be established and given space to meet within City Hall. This will allow the elected representatives of the associations to meet and conduct business, work with the designated neighborhood liaison, raise issues and concerns, etc.
Create a small community building grant fund
A small fund to support community building and involvement projects in each neighborhood will show the City's commitment to strengthening and creating a sense of community throughout the city. Ideally, the fund will be overseen and administered by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, with the advice and consent of the Board of Neighborhood Associations.
Encourage use of social media to broadcast city council meetings and hearings
The City has started on the right path in engaging citizens via Facebook and Twitter. However, the City can do better by making City Council and board meetings and public hearings more accessible via YouTube and Facebook Live. Many residents are on these venues and can readily access and are alerted when a meeting is aired online. This will especially help those with kids and families, those who are disabled, and the elderly stay informed about what is happening at City Hall and throughout the City.
Create an interactive portal to visualize councilors votes on the issues
The City cannot expect citizens, who have families, full-time jobs, etc., to pour over council agendas and minutes to see how councilors voted on a particular matter. The City can create space on its website that is engaging and interactive for citizens who would like to see how councilors voted on various issues.