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Oregonians to weigh in on COVID-19 recovery issues in ‘virtual citizen assembly’

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregonians from all walks of life will participate in the state’s first virtual Citizen Assembly to weigh in on what could be some of the state’s most important policy considerations in a generation.

The virtual Citizen Assembly, a pilot project of nonpartisan, nonprofit Healthy Democracy and Oregon’s Kitchen Table, will meet weekly in July and August 2020. They will discuss, deliberate and develop a set of recommendations for Oregon’s COVID recovery that will be published online in late August. The Assembly models the kind of participatory democracy growing around the globe in recent years.

The 2020 Oregon Citizen Assembly on COVID-19 Recovery is comprised of 40 individuals from across the state and from diverse backgrounds. The pool of participants was randomly selected to reflect the demographic makeup of Oregon. The Assembly will meet for two hours each week, for six weeks, to consider and discuss key questions put forth by state decision-makers. Partway through the process, participants will have a chance to check in with their fellow Oregonians through a survey conducted by Oregon’s Kitchen Table.

“Meaningful opportunities for citizen dialogue and input - at all levels of government decision-making - has taken on new urgency,” says Robin Teater, Healthy Democracy’s executive director. “Everyday Oregonians have important insights, opinions and voices that, given the time and information to deeply deliberate together, can provide a uniquely valuable perspective on these enormously complex issues.”

“The effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 has asked a lot of every Oregonian," says Wendy Willis, director of Oregon’s Kitchen Table. “Now, this is an opportunity for Oregonians to share their needs and priorities for the recovery.”

Equal access to participation in the virtual Assembly will be ensured by the purchase of low-cost loaner laptops through a partnership with Free Geek, a local nonprofit organization that works to sustainably reuse technology and closes the digital divide to include everyone in our digital future.

Portions of the Citizen Assembly will be open to public observers via livestream on Healthy Democracy’s YouTube Channel. The public sessions are also recorded and available here.


Healthy Democracy is an Oregon-based independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan convener of diverse voices at the city, county, state and regional levels. Established in 2009, Healthy Democracy has worked to elevate the collective voice of ordinary citizens and improve the quality of public deliberation on difficult issues. Learn more and subscribe to the e-newsletter at


Oregon’s Kitchen Table is a program of the National Policy Consensus Center in the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. Oregon’s Kitchen Table has a long-standing commitment to representation and equity and is dedicated to helping all Oregonians have a voice in the decisions that affect them. Learn more at

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