Selection Process

Although visionPDX was sponsored by the City of Portland, it was guided by a volunteer Vision Committee. The Vision Committee was chosen through an application process which was widely advertised and shared among nonprofit, neighborhood, business and other networks, through email, mail and by phone.

Over 120 people applied, expressing their definitions for success with the visioning project, why Portland is special to them, and how their background and experience contributed to perspectives they would bring to the committee.

The applications were reviewed for diversity in age, time in Portland, professional experience, cultural background, geographical location, interests and more. Mayor Potter was committed to having people with a broad range of perspectives on the committee. Members included those with years of experience in government processes, as well as those new to working with the City.

After selections were chosen from the pool of applicants, the Mayorís office sought several additional people based on recommendations from other Commissioners and to fill gaps in representation.

In the end, 57 people were chosen to be on the visionPDX Committee. The group was made up of business people, artists, educators, neighborhood advocates and more. While these individuals were representative of Portland, they were asked to serve as individuals rather than representing particular organizations or perspectives. This enabled Vision Committee members to bring their whole selves and multiple perspectives to the group.

Committee Leadership

Soon after the initial Vision Committee meeting, the members split into six subcommittees. These groups each had a staff contact and a lead volunteer. These subcommittees largely determined what the visionPDX outreach period would look like.

Engagement Subcommittee: established core values and goals for engagment work.

Grants Subcommittee: determined process for grant selection; reviewed and selected grants for outreach phase.

Analysis Subcommittee: developed the survey tool and the data analysis process.

Communications Subcommittee: designed logo and communications plan.

Speakers Bureau Subcommittee: wrote facilitatorís handbook and trained volunteers for Speakers Bureau.

Research Subcommittee: researched and compiled community trends information.

In addition to subcommittee meetings and tasks, the larger Vision Committee continued to meet monthly to share progress, get input on individual projects and make decisions collectively to guide the visioning process.

Beyond this, many of the Vision Committee members were active participants in all phases of the data review and analysis, and the drafting of the vision statement, determining the communityís core values, and developing the five elements of the city.

Furthermore, the chairs of the subcommittees formed the Executive Committee, and this smaller body met bi-weekly throughout the process to make strategic project decisions and provide leadership on communications with the media and commissioners.

Impact on Project

While giving such a large body decision-making power over a project can be an unweildy and slow process, the benefits have been clear:

  • Vision Committee members ensured that our process was inclusive, and that the goal of reaching underserved populations was met through diverse outreach strategies.

  • Vision Committee members ensured that the grants program criteria were weighted towards programs that were creative, targeted to underserved groups, and demonstrated knowledge and expertise with the community proposed to be engaged. These priorities led to a unique group of grant recipients whose impact on the visioning process was enormous.

  • In developing both the survey tool and the data analysis process, visionPDX chose to use qualitative analysis to evaluate and process the data. This decision helped us value the people behind the responses. The qualitative approach gave a richness and depth of data that would not have arisen with a quantitative, multiple choice survey or analysis that simply counted the number of times particular words were written.




Top: Staff member Cassie Cohen and Vision Committee member Nickole Cheron review the final vision document.

Bottom: Vision Committee members gather for food and discussion at a monthly meeting.

Vision into Action / 1900 SW 4th, Suite 7100 / Portland, Oregon 97204 / Phone: (503) 823-9585