EPNO Guiding Document: the goals, values, and considerations that drive our work

EPNO Guiding Document

This is a living document adopted by the East Portland Neighborhood Office Advisory Committee on March 3, 2017


East Portland Neighborhood Office Guiding Document to determine priorities and direction for our work

East Portland’s greatest asset is the diversity of communities that live, work, play, and come together in East Portland.

EPNO’s mission is to support the community building and advocacy activities of these diverse communities.

We recognize that:

  • Community building and advocacy look different in different communities.
  • People will work with us in ways that are meaningful to them and when our programming is relevant to them.
  • We should not privilege one model of community building, advocacy, or organizing. Instead we invite people to work with us in ways that are meaningful to them; let them define their own issues, set their own activities, and use organizing models and structures that work for their communities.

Our program is actively evolving and showing what collaborative, inclusive, and equitable support of community-driven efforts can look like.

Below are the considerations we use to prioritize our work.



  • The activity must be in East Portland, be by East Portlanders, or clearly benefit East Portland.
  • The activity must originate in the community or clearly support the community’s efforts.


Goals - Activities should meet at least one of the following goals:

  • increase the number and diversity of people involved in their communities
  • strengthen community capacity through, for example, skills building, fostering teamwork or partnerships, and other community building activities
  • increase community impact on public decisions


General program values

Activities we support should embody our program values.

  • Community Leadership –Those most directly impacted should be in the lead: initiating and playing an active role in defining the project or advocacy effort.
  • Collaboration – Working together creates solutions to community issues that are more effective, lasting, and inclusive.
  • Flexibility – Take advantage of opportunities when they arise
  • Inclusion –EPNO programming should include and support diverse East Portland communities.
  • Equity – EPNO should take active steps to engage with communities that have historically have had least access to City and EPNO programming and resources.


Pragmatic considerations for supported activities

To remain community-driven, collaborative, flexible, inclusive, and equitable; staff use the following considerations to guide their work. These are not yes/no answers. Rather, a balancing of the factors that are involved.


Feasibility - Are there resources to support the activity?

  • Does the group have access to the financing, skills, and equipment necessary? Can EPNO assist in connecting to missing resources?
  • Does the team match the project?
  • Cost/benefit – How does the potential community benefit compare to the cost in resources?
  • Sustainability – Should and how will the activity continue?
  • Planning – How well has the activity been planned? Are goals and expected outcomes clear?  Can EPNO assist in scoping the project?


Staffing - What role will EPNO staff play?

  • Is the activity led by community? Is the content driven by the community?
  • Is staff providing technical, logistical, or administrative support unavailable through volunteers?
  • Do we currently have the staffing resources to offer?


Team-building - Does the activity build a community team or partnerships?

  • Is there a team leading the project?
  • Does the project foster collaboration or build capacity within a team?
  • Is the activity led by the communities benefiting or impacted by the issues the activity addresses?


Organization size – Is direct support or a relationship/partnership most appropriate?

  • We prioritize providing direct support to grass roots community groups with little access to resources.
  • We actively build relationships and partnerships with any organization, no matter the size, in ways that will benefit East Portlanders.

Balance - How does this fit into the other activities, projects, and groups we’re supporting?

We strive to support a diversity of projects, activities, and community groups

  • Does the activity represent a different approach?
  • Is it a different activity than currently supported?
  • Does it represent a different advocacy issue?
  • Is there leadership from groups underserved by us?
  • Is the activity a limited-term or ongoing activity?
  • Is the activity or group a new-to-us activity or group?


Cultural Competency – Are we remaining open to and supportive of different ways of doing things?

  • Are we remembering to be open to different ways of community building, organizing and advocacy?
  • Are we remembering that planning, team, finances required, and more look different across cultures as well?
  • Are we appropriately seeking support for understanding different ways of doing things and actively working to increase our understanding?
  • Are we checking our assumptions about what ‘works’, who is an ‘expert’, and how things get done? That is, are we being respectful and acknowledging different ways of doing things?


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