The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is conducting a study to examine ways to improve rail service along the Oregon portion of the Pacific Northwest rail corridor, specifically between Portland and Eugene
COC is assisting as a subconsultant to provide public involvement services in connection with this High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Project. Current public outreach includes providing project information and soliciting input on the project’s purpose and need, and alternative alignments to evaluate. COC assisted with a series of community open houses and informational presentations as part of this “scoping” phase. Scoping input will help inform what alignments, if any, are analyzed in detail in an environmental impact statement, as well as issues such as station locations and other system improvements.
, Public Involvement
Increasing traffic and safety issues on North Fessenden and other streets in St. Johns are of concern to all residents. COC Associate, Ellen Wyoming, and Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) Project Manager Rich Newlands had an opportunity recently to speak with Spanish-speaking residents at their weekly parents’ group meeting at James John Elementary School. Ellen, speaking in Spanish, introduced Phase 2 of the St. Johns Truck Strategy project and interpreted answers to questions from the PBOT planner. During a lively discussion, the attendees mentioned many problems they face, particularly crossing with their children to their neighborhood schools, and suggested locations for appropriate cross-walks and other possible solutions. This information will be reviewed as part of the community outreach process that will result in recommendations by the City for improvements in the area. Ellen will be attending another Spanish-speaking parent’s meeting at Sitton Elementary with a member of PBOT staff in early March to continue the project discussion with the Latino community in St. Johns.
, Public Involvement
Steve Faust recently helped the City of Stevenson, Washington create a new comprehensive plan vision and goals to guide its future growth. The vision relies on these four cornerstone principles: an active waterfront; healthy economy; natural/scenic beauty; and high quality of life. It was formulated after an inclusive public engagement process, which included interviews with key stakeholders; an online community survey; a booth at the Gorge Blues and Brews Festival that gave hundreds of citizens the chance to weigh in with their opinions; two well-attended public events and other outreach activities. Founding principal, Elaine Cogan assisted Steve and the City in this effort and our Graphic Designer Nancy Marshall designed icons for the cornerstone principles.
Associate Ellen Wyoming was invited to speak at Portland State University (PSU) twice this fall. First, she was asked to present to visiting scholars and planning professionals in the Atlantis Workshop. Participants of the Atlantis Workshop visited PSU from October 24 – 27, 2011 on a grant to learn more about equity and social justice in planning and community development. These scholars and academics came from Germany, England, China, and other universities in the United States. Ellen presented to the visitors on the impact and implications of her graduate work as an Urban and Regional Planning graduate student at PSU with the Portland Mercado project. The group was very interested in the public involvement measures taken to work directly with the Latino Community, the model for economic development, and the on-going support that the project has garnered today. Hacienda Community Development Corporation hosted the presentation at their offices in the Cully neighborhood and Micro Mercantes tamale vendors catered the lunch. Many people sampled tamales for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed them.
The following week Ellen guest lectured with former graduate student and colleague Abigail Cermak (currently with Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services) for PSU’s graduate Public Involvement in Planning class. They were asked to focus on best practices in public involvement with diverse communities. Ellen and Abigail presented a framework of their personal experiences with their work in the Latino community and made recommendations for approaches working in other diverse communities. The overall emphasis to the students was that as a planner you do not walk into a community as the “expert” but instead an ally. This is the framework from which to start all public involvement work. At Cogan Owens Cogan, Ellen looks forward to continuing to work with clients on developing frameworks for their own best practice public involvement efforts with diverse communities. Each city, community and place is different, but there are key fundamental approaches toward ensuring successful outcomes in terms of effective and adequate participation and outreach.
, Portland State University
, Public Involvement