POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Amanda Fritz Sick Time
Summary of Equity Efforts and Challenges - Office of Neighborhood Involvement

Summary of Equity Efforts and Challenges

Office of Neighborhood Involvement


Community & Neighborhood Involvement Center (CNIC):

  • Diversity & Civic Leadership (DCL) program and Elders in Action funding organizations of color, elder-focused organization and immigrant and refugee organizations for civic engagement and leadership development work.
  • Neighborhood small grants program, goals encouraging partnerships between neighborhood and diverse community organizations.  Met goal of over 35% funding for diverse community projects and organizations. 
  • Public Involvement Advisory Council (PIAC) and Portland Commission on Disability recruiting diverse range of community representation.  Elevated consistent public involvement through implementation of Public Involvement Impact Statement for items that go before Council.  Developing recommendations to address historic inequities in how city bureaus do public involvement work.
  • East Portland Action Plan actively prioritizing, engaging and funding diverse range of community organizations and projects addressing demographic shift of low-income and people of color populations to East Portland.
  • District Coalition initiative examples such as:

o   NECN developing farmer’s market and system to subsidize access to healthy foods for low-income residents.

o   SWNI partnerships with Neighborhood House and building relationships with Slavic immigrant community.

o   NPNS historical admin support for North Portland Latino and Hmong efforts; providing fiscal sponsorship to groups such as Frente Comun. 

  • Providing resources to partner organizations to engage diverse communities including child care boxes and radio transmitter/head set systems for language interpretation.  Had a significant program to provide funds for accessibility efforts, now defunded.
  • Restorative Listening Project on Gentrification Monthly community dialogue to build understanding of the impacts of gentrification on the historical African American community in Portland and to support community building in NE

Pressing  challenges:

  • Developing funding formula to ensure equitable funding for all partner organizations. 
  • Expansion of DCL program to include communities not currently represented or that are new/emerging.
  • Lack of staff capacity to implement emerging PIAC recommendations for more equitable City-wide public involvement policies and practices.
  • Resources to adapt/translate CNIC documents, website, and provide consistent interpretation services for activities.
  • Lack of staff capacity to adequately implement ADA Title II compliance efforts.
  • Organizational relationship building - prioritizing efforts to build working relationships between organizations that have traditionally not worked together (neighborhood and DCL organizations.)

Crime Prevention Center:

  • Translated majority of handouts into Spanish, Russian, and Vietnamese
  • Recent formation of Q Patrol through collaboration with Q Center
  • Enhanced Safety Properties program, which benefits renters, is growing rapidly and very successfully
  • Crime Prevention Thorough Environmental Design (CPTED) resolution, reducing crime risks in low income housing, is being implemented

Pressing Challenges

  • No one currently on staff is fluent in another language
  • Immigrants and people of color often distrustful of police, with whom we must partner closely
  • Community organizing around public safety issues is particularly difficult in gentrifying neighborhoods


Livability Programs (Liquor/Graffiti/Mediation/Facilitation):

  • Graffiti program recently facilitated a competitive bid process for youth walking crew grant, which was awarded to IRCO. Funds job development opportunities for at-risk youth and meets partial requirement for Future Connect scholarships.
  • Work on developing relationships with youth-at-risk organizations and the Q center to develop and train volunteer graffiti walking crews.
  • Graffiti Abatement Community Grants - goals encouraging partnerships with neighborhood or diverse community organizations, including youth, or promoting projects that help address practical needs related to the recession. Goal for future funding to further facilitate partnerships with diverse community organizations.
  • Neighborhood Mediation and Facilitation Program –
    • Outreach and service collaboration with African Immigrant, Latino and other culturally specific communities.
    • Goal of 25% of volunteer mediators and facilitators trained representing under-engaged and culturally specific communities.
    • Provides cultural competency training for all volunteers.
    • Outreach, education and facilitation on Community Residential Facilities (such as group homes, shelters, etc) – problem solving to address concerns with mutual respect, consideration and understanding for special needs populations.

Pressing Challenges

  • Immigrants and people of color often distrustful of police, with whom we must partner closely
  • Community organizing around public safety issues is particularly difficult in gentrifying neighborhoods
  • Lack of language capacity, particularly in liquor problem solving efforts.
  • Lack of staff capacity for translation and website/materials to enhance program efforts.


Information & Referral

  • Have in-house capacity to respond to calls in English and Spanish
  • Have a contract with the AT&T language line for callers who speak languages other than English/Spanish

Pressing Challenges:

  • No standardized way for bureaus to deal with callers who speak languages other than English makes effectively meeting the needs of those callers challenging
  • Have no in-house language capacity in Russian or Vietnamese, which comprise our next highest non-English call volumes.


Bureau demographics (permanent employees only):

18% of all staff (20% of **management team) identify as people of color

20% of all staff (40% of management team) identify as LGBTQ

7% of all staff (0% of management team) identify as people with disabilities

64% of all staff (60% of management team) are women


** ONI has a 5-person management team