Committee Recommendation (City Code Chapter 3.96)

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Mission of Civic Life

Mission of Civic Life
Committee Charge
The Bureau shall convene a Code Change Committee that will recommend changes to Chapter 3.96 that reflect:
  • a unified set of culturally-responsive practices for engaging a diverse range of community partners
  • an updated description of the Bureau's responsibilities
  • a set of voluntary guidelines that represent best practices for civic engagement
Committee Recommendation
Committee 3.96 voted (17-2) on July 18, 2019 to recommend this language to City Council with the following instructions subject to continued legal review:
  • Leaving the spirit and intent of the Committee’s recommendation intact, delegate minor wordsmithing for the purposes of simplifying or clarifying language to staff.
  • The Committee’s intention with section 3.96.060 is:
    • To preserve the privileges currently cross-referenced in other sections of city code for groups currently recognized by the bureau (including but not limited to neighborhood associations, district coalitions, business district associations, and diverse and civic leadership partners);
    • To ensure that there is no gap in other City of Portland bureau’s ability to fulfill their administrative functions until an improved system is adopted, at which time section 3.96.060 is no longer in effect; and
    • As an essential part of a comprehensive, diverse, equitable, and inclusive approach to civic-engagement work, staff will include the Committee’s statement on the purpose of the future removal of this section in the report to Council.
3.96.010 Definitions

3.96.020 Creation, Organization and Purpose

3.96.030 Director’s Duties and Responsibilities

3.96.040 Responsibilities for Engagement with People and Communities

3.96.050 Responsibilities for Engagement with City Bureaus and Government Partners

3.96.060 Recognized Organizations Referenced in other City Code
 3.96.10 Definitions 

As used in this Chapter, the following terms have the meanings given them in this Section. 

A.     “Director” means the Director of the Office of Community and Civic Life. 

B.        “Office” means the Office of Community and Civic Life.
 3.96.20        Creation, Organization and Purpose

A.  This chapter establishes the Office of Community & Civic Life and sets out its functions, duties, and responsibilities to serve, respond, and adapt to the needs, aspirations, and

opportunities of its evolving communities. This chapter outlines the basis for the role of civic engagement in creating an inclusive city in which each of us can contribute and belong. The Office consists of a Director and such other employees as the Council may provide.

B.  The Office serves people who live, play, worship, and work in the City as individuals and through all forms of groups, including but not limited to affinity-, business-, community-, identity-, issue-, and neighborhood-based groups, and across generations. This chapter directs the Office to effectively engage Portland communities in civic engagement and work together to deliver more just and equitable outcomes.

C.  The City is a welcoming, inclusive, sanctuary city. Through this code, the City and the Office commit to racial, Disability, and social justice within a multicultural, intergenerational, and ever-changing environment.

D.  Civic engagement encompasses all the ways by which we participate in this form of democracy. The origins of our democracy include colonialism, white supremacy, and economic exploitation, as well as native sovereignty and the striving for self- determination by all communities. These origins continue to shape our assumptions, institutions, and practices. The Office’s purpose is to support civic engagement as a powerful way to expose assumptions reflecting historical origins and rebuild our government institutions and practices to be more fair, just, and in service of all Portlanders.
 3.96.30 Director’s Duties and Responsibilities 

The Director reports to the Commissioner in Charge. The duties of the Director include, but are not limited to:

A.    Overall administration of the Office and supervision of its staff; 

B.    Implementing the policy directives of the City Council and the Commissioner in Charge; 

C.    Proposing policies and practices to achieve the purpose of the Office and adopting procedures and forms to assist in implementing City policies.
3.96.40 Responsibilities for Engagement with People and Communities 

The Office engages with people and communities to:

A.     Administer, assess, and report on the impact of programs and services as directed by City Council and approved through the budgeting process.

B.     Connect people and communities with their government and facilitate exchanges through programs and partnerships that are responsive, at times iterative, accountable to community concerns, and reflect an equitable distribution of public resources.

C.     Seek out, learn from, and engage a diverse range of community partners to support and implement community-responsive practices for civic engagement.

D.     Compile and disseminate voluntary guidelines on emerging, culturally-empowering, data- informed, and promising practices for community and civic engagement to community and government entities.

E.      Support and connect the social, organizational, and physical infrastructure for community members working with each other and with government.

F.      Develop and implement learning opportunities that focus on culturally-empowering civic engagement through community-based partnerships. These learning opportunities should address a shared understanding of City functions, pathways to engage with the City of Portland, opportunities for participation and engagement, technical assistance and training, and the capacity to develop and influence policy.

G.     Collaborate with government partners in defining, planning, and implementing efforts that affect the distribution of public resources and the livability of communities by balancing needs and public resources through an ongoing assessment that focuses on delivering more just and more equitable outcomes.

H.     Lead by example and advocate for government to collaborate with community wisdom, knowledge, lived experiences, and public resources to create efficiencies and effectiveness that bring communities together around common goals and concerns.
3.96.50 Responsibilities for Engagement with City Bureaus and Government Partners

The Office supports city Bureaus and engages with other government jurisdictions in their community and civic engagement efforts to:

A.          Develop programmatic, bureau, and citywide capacity to critically examine assumptions underlying community and civic engagement practices and analyze who benefits and is burdened as a result of decision-making processes.

B.          Redirect public resources to reduce systematic barriers to community and civic engagement.

C.          Reduce disparities and deliver equitable outcomes in agency practices and services through culturally-empowering models of community engagement.

D.          Implement policies and practices that recognize the historical exclusions of marginalized and underrepresented communities and that honor the leadership structures of those communities.

E.           Develop collaborative forums of learning that promote integration of emerging, culturally empowering, and promising practices in community and civic engagement by each jurisdiction.

F.            Collectively and continually adapt to the ongoing evolution of community, identity, and place and recognize the critical relationship of community to their government in producing disparate outcomes and systematic exclusion.
3.96.060 Recognized Organizations Referenced in Other City Code 

For the purposes of recognizing organizations as identified in other sections of city code, the Director must adopt a list of recognized organizations by administrative rule, including but not limited to neighborhood associations, district coalitions, business district associations, and diverse and civic leadership partners existing on the effective date of this code chapter. The Director may adopt administrative rules that establish a process and criteria for managing this list. If the Director does not adopt such rules, amendments to the list are subject to City Council approval.

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* 1. How reflective is the Committee Recommendation for City Code Chapter 3.96 of the mission of the Office of Community & Civic Life?

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* 2. How reflective is the Committee Recommendation for City Code Chapter 3.96 of the resolution charge of the committee?

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* 3. Please provide additional feedback about the Committee Recommendation for City Code Chapter 3.96.