East Portland Community Office (EPCO)
Work Plan Development for Fiscal Year 2018-2019
July 10, 2018, 6 - 8 PM
1017 NE 117th Avenue, Portland
Our new name: East Portland Community Office (EPCO)
Update on East Portland Neighbors Newsletter
EPCO Annual Work Plan discussion
Attendees: Ali Ibrahim, Ali Dirie, Hassan Abdulabi, Bob Earnest, Beatriz Gutierrez, Paul Leistner, Robert Schultz, Burhanuddin Bashaarat, Famid Hotale, Lisha Shrestha, Yonas Kassie, Natalya Sobolevskaya, Cathy Holmlund, Kathi Holmes, Jill Erickson, Sayed Haroon, Kizzy Sims, David Bouchard, Fran Mlynarczyk, Layla Assem, Kolini Fusitua, Suliashi Laulaupeaalu, Surya Joshi, Sabina Urdes, lore wintergreen, Víctor Salinas.
Our new name: East Portland Community Office (EPCO)
Sabina explained the timeline and process for how the new name was chosen, from the community survey that was translated in Spanish, Russian, and Arabic and shared widely on EPCO’s (formerly EPNO) website, social media, e-newsletter, print newsletter, emails, and meetings between January and March 2018, to the final three options and the final choice, East Portland Community Office, officially announced to the community on July 2, 2018. A handout explained the process in detail and answered some FAQs.
Sabina explained that the name change coincides with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI) changing their name to Office of Community & Civic Life -- an effort to capture the bureau and coalition’s transformation from neighborhood-centric to community-centric programs. Sabina explained that the ultimate goal of EPCO/OCCL is to support more groups who engage not just based on geographic connectedness but also cultural, linguistic, ethnic, etc. identities.
Lisha, who had also been involved with EPN publication, brought up the option to do advertising in the newsletter -- said it’s a great way to fund the publication.
Kolini asked what kind of topics will be covered and if politics is one. Victor answered no political commentary. Kolini asked a clarifying question about ‘no politics’: what about workshop with attorneys giving no your rights presentations to immigrants, for example, on what to do or not to do? Victor says that would be considered an educational event, such as under the “know your rights” umbrella, so it would be acceptable as it’s related to the political climate, but it’s not discussing politics.
Ali asked if we can translate the newsletter in more languages. Victor said we have a legal mandate that if a community member requests something to be translated/interpreted into their language, we are obligated to do it. A need for Somali interpretation came up. Victor says the more community members are involved with bringing new languages to the table, the more we will be able to do.
Jill brought up the journalism students at PCC/Mt. Hood Community College who might be interested in working on the newsletter if we reach out to them.
A community member brought up senior citizens who don’t have access to the internet. Victor answered that we are adding the option of ‘print on demand’ for folks who request it and we will share the printed copies with a variety of groups, including faith-based organizations, neighborhood associations, etc.
Work Plan discussion
Victor talked about EPCO’s programs, past and current, such as Community Activities Fund and the Advisory Group.
Victor invited the group to look at the proposed work plan and provide input on what to modify, add, or eliminate.
1) Victor wants the involvement goal we set to be realistic. Grant money and support is what we want to provide.
Robert brought up involving community volunteers to build capacity: “Train the trainers”: educate representatives of various communities of identity (on grant application and
other services) with the hope that they can then be self-sufficient and educate others as well.
Kolini says existing members of EPCO should reach out to underserved communities and make them aware of our services and resources. Victor says raising awareness about us and connecting us is a shared responsibility between our office and community members.
Natalya wants more support with outreach. Victor says the projected staff’s responsibilities will include that kind of support.
Robert proposes lowering the goal from 20% to 10-15%.
Leistner says it’s less about the number we’re servicing and more about expanding the actual services. What would support from EPCO look like in an ideal world? Answers
from the group:
-delivery of services already committed
-reach out to and engage previous grant recipients
-regular personal check-ins with and invitations to
-staff representation at NA board meetings and other site visits to offices, groups
to introduce ourselves and our services
-establishing collaboration with existing offices, such as Midway Alliance
-monitoring mechanisms for engagement/activities
-outreach to schools
Yonas says he had an idea to help the community but didn’t know how. Says he got good technical support from our staff. Also has been helped a lot by our space.
Victor asked if we should, in the coming year, focus less on growth and more on delivery of existent services and expanding support to existing group, while also welcoming any
group who comes in. The group agreed by consensus: Focus on targeted goal in the first year, and growth in the next year and years to come.
Lore asked how many people have gotten grants from EPAP and EPNO in the past, and asked if she thinks that the goal we are setting for our classes with the community is
something that those who utilize our services find useful and can commit to. Victor says this is a conversation to be had at the follow-up meeting.
Victor says he wants this work plan to be reflective of our needs and priorities, so we will continue this conversation in a future meeting.
2) Victor read job duties of upcoming Organizational Support and Capacity-Building position, including to promote positive media stories about East Portland; conduct longterm
marketing campaign, etc.
Victor talked about the East Portland Action Plan’s (EPAP) move from EPCO to the office of Commissioner 4 (Public Safety), currently held by Eudaly’s Office. The move
won’t change EPAP’s model or work at all.
Natalya asked how will EPCO staff be able to work on all of EPAP’s action items? Victor answered that we will be focusing on just 8 action items that pertain to the work that we
do. Victor says he wants to highlight East Portland as a destination, not a place that people have been displaced to while supporting efforts by partners such as the East Portland
Action ensure investments in East Portland don’t result in further displacement for East Portlanders.
3) Victor says we’ve been doing systems change to expand our work with more community members. How should we support community efforts to address livability, civic engagement, etc.? What should that work look like? This would be a 3-year-plan part of a city-wide efforts.
Robert proposed evaluating what the district coalition offices are doing vs what they should be doing.
Bob asked to change “North Portland Neighborhood Services” to “Neighborhood Coalition offices” in order to be more inclusive and leave more room to get to Goal 2 and make Goal 1 more attainable. Bob thinks we should appeal to our huge audiences and honor our new name, “community.”
Follow-up meeting scheduled for Tuesday, July 24, 6-8 PM at EPCO.