On Wednesday, July 18, at 4:00 pm, Mayor Wheeler and Commissioners Eudaly, Saltzman and Fish all voted “aye” to approve the ordinance officially changing Office Of Neighborhood Involvement's name to Office of Community & Civic Life, effective immediately.
Commissioner Eudaly introduced the ordinance, including these statements:
“…we are at an inflection point between past and future. We are deciding to move forward with a vision that is big enough to serve all Portlanders.“
“Our bureau has been the gateway to civic engagement for the City of Portland for more than four decades. We need that gateway to be as wide and welcoming as possible and that starts with a name that reflects our inclusive spirit and the scope of our work.”
Just before that vote, Mayor Wheeler and Commissioners Eudaly and Saltzman all voted “aye” to approve the resolution to convene a code change committee to recommend changes to Chapter 3.96 of City code. These recommendations shall be presented to Council by July 2019.
Speaking to the resolution, the Mayor stated:
“…the resolution is common sense, very straight forward, it speaks to increase and enhance representation and it has a focus on those who historically have not been included in conversations about our City’s strategies.”
“… the resolution does not come at the expense of others but is a more expansive vision of civic participation, inclusion and democracy in our city.”
Eight presenters started off the testimony.
The first three were individuals from types of organizations currently named in Chp. 3.96:
- Olivia Alsept-Ellis, former board member of Montavilla Neighborhood Association
- Adam Lyons, Executive Director, Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods
- Heather Hoell, Executive Director, Venture Portland
The next five were individuals from long-standing partner communities not currently represented in Chp. 3.96:
- Antonia McSwain, Co-chair, Multnomah Youth Commission
- Myrlaviani Perez-Rivier, Co-Founder, Let-It-Pour POC-Led Cross Disability Community Group
- Marcus Mundy, Executive Director, Coalition of Communities of Color
- Amanda Manjarrez, Director of Advocacy, Latino Network
- And, pinch-hitting for Musse Olol, Chairman, Somali American Council of Oregon (who was unexpectedly unable to attend due to a family emergency), was our own incredible Michelle Rodriguez.
These presenters attested to the fact that this name change is long overdue, that it is an additive process, and it seeks to correct and embody in true spirit the sentiment of everyone in. Their testimony can be viewed on the recorded session here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/video/player/?tab=council
According to Civic Life Bureau Director Suk Rhee, "The name change is the culmination of many conversations that began at least a decade ago, and the resolution is only the beginning."
To learn more, check out this brief introduction to the bureau's new visual identity, as well as a guide to the Office's mission and long-term goals: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/article/685691