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Oregon’s Community Involvement Advisory Committee honors city of Bend for Climate Friendly Area project

Draft map of 10 proposed Climate Friendly Areas, under new state requirement
City of Bend
Draft map of 10 proposed Climate Friendly Areas, under new state requirement

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – The state’s Community Involvement Advisory Committee, staffed by the Department of Land Conservation and Development, helps to ensure equitable community engagement in all phases of the planning process.

The committee is pleased to recognize three Oregon land use planning projects with its 2024 Achievement in Community Engagement (ACE) Award. The ACE Award recognizes land use planning projects that support and expand best practices in community engagement.

This year’s Most Outstanding Project award for Large Jurisdictions goes to Bend, Oregon for the city’s Climate Friendly Area designation. 

This city-led project went above and beyond the requirements of the Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities rules in engaging the public about Climate Friendly Area designation. In response to the need to engage vulnerable communities, the project team focused on language specific events, translated materials, and offered stipends, childcare and food at certain events. The project team invested in personal outreach during the process. The City of Bend invested in significant time in coordinating with the local community college Latino Leadership program and with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, the latter resulting in a City Memorandum of Understanding with the tribe and promise of continued engagement.

This year’s Most Outstanding Project award for Small Jurisdictions goes to Morrow County, Oregon for their Rural Transit Equity Initiative.

To better engage the significant Latino and Spanish-speaking population in Morrow County in transit use, the county partnered with two regional community-based organizations, Rural Engagement and Vitality and Euvalcree, who already had relationships with the community they were seeking to engage. Morrow County nominated these CBOs for recognition with an ACE Award. Their successful outreach began with a survey designed and analyzed by a professor and students at Eastern Oregon University. One-on-one engagement is a feature of this deep community work. Morrow County is planning to update their Goal 1 plan to better implement the recommendations that came of this project.

CIAC Members awarded a project of special significance award to Washington County, Oregon for their Council Creek Regional Trail project.

This shared community vision grew from the Council Creek Regional Trail Master Plan (2015). With a consultant team, Washington County undertook this multi-jurisdictional engagement project with almost 40 community-based organizations involved. Demographics analysis and targeted outreach led to successful engagement of many under-represented and difficult to reach populations. The project team found that meeting communities where they already are and focusing on cultural events had a positive impact on their process.

“This year’s ACE Award applications inspired the committee to appreciate community engagement at different scales. We learned about projects led by large and small jurisdictions, and the different challenges and possibilities for each. Innovative community engagement efforts are being made in all corners of Oregon, regardless of community density or size, to educate, engage, and build trust in our communities. Every project we learned about is worth celebrating,” said CIAC Chair Leah Rausch. “By sharing and celebrating this work, we hope to elevate the importance of impactful and achievable community engagement that captures community voice and spirit in land use projects.”

The ACE Award recognizes organizations and individuals who have actively promoted and implemented the values of Oregon's Statewide Planning Goal 1 through an outstanding community engagement strategy. All projects recognized with an ACE Award make innovative use of resources, build partnerships across and throughout the community, and intentionally engage historically marginalized and underserved communities.

The Land Conservation and Development Commission has committed to uplifting and celebrating the values of Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goal 1 for equitable community engagement through the ACE Awards and other activities. The tenets of the ACE Award support the commission’s commitment to the ongoing improvement of community engagement throughout Oregon.

Article Topic Follows: Bend

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