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.
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.
established core values and goals
for engagment work.
determined process for grant selection;
reviewed and selected grants for outreach phase.
developed the survey tool and
the data analysis process.
designed logo and communications
Subcommittee: wrote facilitatorís
handbook and trained volunteers for Speakers Bureau.
researched and compiled community
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
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.
member Cassie Cohen and Vision Committee member
Nickole Cheron review the final vision document.
Vision Committee members gather for food and discussion
at a monthly meeting.