Promising Practices for Long-Term Community Engagement

Report by Meg Merrick, Andrée Tremoulet, Tina Dippert
August 1, 2015

(Inactive) Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies   (Portland)

This report focuses on one aspect of the broader practice of community participation: long-term programs and structures that facilitate dialogue and collaboration among local government and communities on a broad range of issues. It distinguishes between short-term efforts around specific plans or initiatives, and more permanent structures that sometimes have well-articulated (often in city or county code) roles in governance.

We have identified several key areas for the Transition Team to explore and consider in developing its recommendations. The key areas are:

  • Constituencies: identifying the communities that form the building blocks of the program.
  • Purpose and Content: refinement of the main purpose of the program.
  • Civic Education and Leadership Development: cultivation and support of community leadership.
  • Digital Practices: options for communicating in new ways to achieve greater inclusiveness.
  • Staffing and Implementation: options for providing professional support to sustain the program, and steps to give momentum to the new approach and embed it in how the county works.


Inclusiveness, and particularly the inclusion of diverse populations, is a key theme of this report. This report considers many of the key dimensions of diversity occurring in Washington County, including culture, racial/ethnic identity, rural/urban and generation/stage of life. Each chapter provides a discussion of the underlying issues and, as appropriate, examples of how other communities have addressed them. The final chapter concludes with a summary of key takeaways and ideas for next steps.