and social justice are of top concern to Portlanders.
In this section, Portlanders share their views on social
issues ranging from poverty and hunger to structural
forms of oppression. Portlanders view the social problems
herein as threatening to the entire community’s quality
of life. One of the most often mentioned desires in
the community surveys was wanting the issue of homelessness
solved, a complex problem viewed as overlapping with
many others. Community members are also concerned with
low-income individuals and families. They understand
that people who are already struggling to make ends
meet are directly impacted when funding for schools
is cut, jobs are limited, affordable housing options
are slim and it is too difficult to start or maintain
a business in one’s own neighborhood.
In addition, respondents want to see more
understanding and acceptance of people from marginalized
groups. Many respondents voice their hopes for
overcoming racism, classism and other forms of oppression
as a way to ensure equal access to essentials like housing,
food and education. In turn, all Portlanders should
be aware of their rights and well informed about local
resources and services.
Portlanders express their appreciation for opportunities
that involve the community in decision-making. They
desire more diversity in political leadership, elected
officials that better represent community interests
and values-based public policies rooted in the common
good. They envision a future where integrated,
well-served neighborhoods and communities learn from
each other and work together with leaders that are attuned
to their interests.
social issues are linked with basic needs and rights
not being met for everyone.
inequities is important to Portlanders.
- Social issues affect individuals
and communities differently, requiring specific approaches
social issues are linked with basic needs
and rights not being met for everyone.
- Respondents define social issues in a couple
of different ways:
- Some view Portland’s social issues as
systemic problems that prevent equity
and quality of life for everyone. Examples
include forms of discrimination and oppression
such as racism, classism, sexism and segregation.
- Others speak of social issues in terms
of that which undermines individual and
community health and well-being.
- Many Portlanders are concerned with social
issues ranging from homelessness and poverty
to gentrification, gang activity and police
- Lack of lack of access to basic needs, services
and opportunities can create or perpetuate
broad social issues.
- Basic needs are not being met for some
Portlanders in the areas of living-wage
jobs, quality education, healthcare, decision-making,
safety, food and housing.
- Portlanders believe social issues should
be addressed and that prevention of certain
social issues requires complex solutions.
2030] All homeless people are in transitional
programs or have transitioned out of them
into affordable housing close-in, in safe
neighborhoods where they are a part of
a community that supports their transition
and continued self-reliance.”
inequities is important to Portlanders.
- Many respondents appreciate the public’s
general awareness of and interest in social
- Some people believe Portland is already
a safe, accepting and open-minded city for
people from diverse backgrounds.
- Many believe that Portland has not yet come
to terms with how to include and make welcome
diverse newcomers or existing residents of
- Respondents value making social equity visible
and the many opportunities for action on social
- Some people view Portlanders' "progressive"
or "liberal" tendency as contributing to social
- Ways of addressing social issues should
include not only social services, but also
political activism, advocacy, leadership development
and community organizing.
value] the community of people dedicated
to social change…”
opportunity in the City of Portland is
is clear that Portland values its people
and that its people value Portland.”
issues affect individuals and communities
differently, requiring culturally-specific
approaches to change.
- Many respondents believe that social problems
affect Portlanders and their identified communities
in very different ways.
- Particular attention should be granted to
all minority groups, not only racial or ethnic
groups, that are most often up against a number
of social issues and inequities.
- Approaches to addressing social issues should
include culturally-specific means of engagement
for service providers, schools, employers
the way police target poor people and
people of color. Stop treating us so bad.”