“A necessary afterthought.” That is one of the reactions we heard when we surveyed our colleagues about public involvement in the early stages of designing the Public Involvement Resource Center.
While we don’t agree, of course, we appreciated our colleague’s honesty; this observation helped to define our task with this project. We don’t want PBOTers to see public involvement as only necessary; we want them to see it as essential. When public involvement is done right it makes a vital contribution to building great projects or designing effective programs. And we certainly don’t want our fellow PBOTers to see public involvement as an afterthought. We want them to see it as a tool they should want to deploy as soon as they start planning their initiative. Because in our experience, investing in good public involvement up front pays off in the end in projects with more community support and better benefits for constituents.
But good public involvement doesn’t just happen. Thoughtful and productive public involvement can be complex; it has many moving parts and involves working with multiple sections in our bureau. One of our goals with this resource center is to make it easier for PBOTers to design effective public involvement processes.
This checklist helps achieve this goal by helping you identify the major steps to take on the road to engaging our constituents in a productive and mutually beneficial way. In each section, we have compiled a list of suggested steps and their timing.
A) PLANNING AND SCOPING
There are a number of tools to help you as you plan your public involvement process. The main tool is the Public Involvement Template. This template will help you identify the main components of your process. It will prompt you to be clear about what input you want from the public and what you will be promising your constituents. It will also help you identify questions where you may need to gather more information.
The Public Involvement Spectrum Infographic will help you determine what type of public involvement process will match your project.
The Public Involvement Directory is also an important resource at this stage. It can help you identify colleagues in our bureau who may have worked on similar projects or with similar organizations and who can be a resource for you. The breadth and depth of public involvement expertise at PBOT is impressive; we’ve designed the directory to make it easier for you to tap this amazing resource.
Finally, the Best Practices section of the website will help you brainstorm ways to integrate new tools and innovative approaches into your public involvement process.
B) PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT EVENTS
Public events is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to engaging our constituents. The promise you make to the public should drive your choice of public events to build into your overall process.
We have designed visually appealing templates to help you brand your events. Don’t forget to collect demographic data. Such information is crucial as we build out our efforts to include traditionally underserved communities in our efforts.
Finally, make sure that you design inclusive and culturally sensitive events. The Public Involvement Plan Template has a section dedicated specifically to inclusive outreach.
When is comes to engaging our constituents, communications is the yin to public involvement’s yang. Good communications is not only important for making sure the public has the information it needs to make informed choices, it is also an important tool for building momentum and interest in your project. As with the other aspects of public involvement, plan ahead and keep the bureau’s Comms Team in the loop.
D) DELIVERING ON THE PROMISE TO THE PUBLIC
Once the project is done, it is important to honor the time that your constituents have invested in the public involvement process. This is also an important time to celebrate and publicize the project or program. The type of follow up will be driven both by the type of promise you made to the public as part of the public involvement process and the scale and scope of your project.
A) PLANNING AND SCOPING
|X||Research the history of the area and demographics of the community||DEADLINE|
|Use the Equity Matrix to learn about your constituents.||ASAP|
|Research the history of areas included in your project, program, or plan||ASAP|
|BPS Gentrification and Displacement Study||ASAP|
|US Census Reporter Location Search for lots of demographic information||ASAP|
|X||Fill out the PBOT Public Involvement Plan Template||DEADLINE|
|Align data collection and research to level of impact & interest (If multiple stakeholder groups are involved, then separate by their anticipated level of interest and the level of impact).||ASAP|
|Are there legal requirements for public involvement?||Law Dependent|
|What questions will you ask the public? (if the plan involves more than informing) *Start open ended and narrow in based on feedback.||ASAP|
|Complete Timeframe for Public Involvement||Rolling|
|Scope appropriate level of public involvement based on the impact and interest in the project or plan||Rolling and Stakeholder Specific|
|Complete public involvement budget||Rolling|
|Have an initial conversation with Vanessa Micale about your plan. She will be your liaison to the Communications Team.|
|Please see the Communications Checklist. It has the specific steps to take regarding the communications strategy for your process.|
B) PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT EVENTS
|Determine the purpose of your event. This should guide the rest of your planning.||At least four weeks before event date|
|Add your event to the PBOT Public Events shared Outlook calendar by inviting “PBOT Events Notification Calendar” to your Outlook meeting invite. Take a look at the calendar to see if any other events are happening on that day that might be in conflict with yours (i.e. two projects presenting to the same neighborhood) or look for an event you could partner with for sharing resources and allow for “one-stop shopping” for community members. Click here to view PBOT’s Public Events Calendar Protocol||As soon as event date is set.|
|Scout the location (Does the room size, ADA accessibility, transit options, and other elements fit the identified stakeholder group?)|
Submit food and supply orders to Michael Tomsovic with the following details delineated.
|2 Weeks Before|
*NOTE: “As part of your stakeholder analysis, consider reaching out to community groups for their event schedules. If they are willing to make time at their event, then you can reach folks where they already are!”
1) PLANNING CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE EVENTS
Please see our guide to the Public Involvement Plan Template for information about equitable and culturally responsive outreach. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/665807
|X||INCLUSIVE PRACTICES: FEDERAL LAW REQUIRES US TO PROVIDE REASONABLE PHYSICAL AND VERBAL ACCOMMODATION TO THE PUBLIC.|
|Ensure that you are translating necessary documents. Visit the Translation + Interpretation services section of the PBOT Employees website for guidance.|
|Contact Irene Marion if you have any questions.|
|X||ESTABLISH A PARTICIPANT CULTURE AND CLIMATE/LOCATION.|
|Does your event planning reflect anticipated participant culture and climate in any way?|
|Do you provide opportunities for all participants to contribute? (By valuing multiple learning and communication styles?)|
|Create a welcoming environment at the location sites.|
|X||ACKNOWLEDGING AND RESPECTING IDENTITY.|
|Do you use the physical meeting space to create a welcoming environment?|
|Do you use cultural knowledge of ethnically diverse cultures, families, and communities to guide relationships with participants?|
2) EVENT LOGISTICS
|Have a run of show with a point person in charge and an accessible common document||3 Weeks|
|Consider the whole event (entire agenda, how space will be used, etc)|
|Do you know many tables will be used?|
|Match resources to tables, label boxes corresponding to tables, and pack accordingly.|
|Select the Public Involvement Event templates for your event||1 Week Before|
|Go to Event Templates and select design for Contact information, short demographic and long demographic sheets|
|Edit sign in sheets for Project/Plan|
|Include the City’s Title II and Title VI taglines. Any documents that can be downloaded and printed must meet these standards.|
|Insert the section and plan name for the event|
|Print an appropriate number for the amount of participants you anticipate|
|Display clearly and welcome participants to fill in their info|
|Collect and submit info|
|On event day, display directional signage clearly so that participants can easily find the building then work their way to the event space Deadline: Hours before event|
“When sourcing food for an event, look to see if you can support local businesses. Not only does this support the local economy, but shows you have taken the time to get to know the community.”
|After the event has finished, take the information collected from sign in sheets and participation activities.
|If applicable, update your project website with results of the event.|
|Planning the communications component of your public involvement plan||ASAP|
|Talk to Vanessa Micale (Public Involvement Coordinator) about your public involvement plan. She will advise on the communications aspects of your public involvement plan, including whether you are reaching out to all relevant community groups and expand your notification circle if necessary.|
|Get the word out about your public event:|
|Update your project website with information about your public event and add a link to sign up for GovDelivery email updates so people can stay in the loop about your event and receive other relevant project updates.|
|Need to set up a project website? Contact Hannah or Sarah. Click here to view PBOT’s Website Best Practices|
|Need to get set up with GovDelivery? Contact Hannah, Sarah, or Dylan from the Comms Team|
|Send Hannah Schafer information about your public event to be published on PBOT’s Facebook Events Calendar and (optional) Nextdoor. Please include a Date, Time, Location and a visual||3 Weeks before your event|
|Talk to Hannah Schafer (Communications Specialist), Dylan Rivera (Public Information Office), and/or John Brady (Communications & Public Involvement Director) to determine if media outreach is appropriate for your event. This could be a news advisory, a news blog post, a news release, or another strategic media outreach plan, depending on your project or program.||2 Weeks before your event|
|If appropriate, complete the Press and Public Event Briefing Documents|
|Update your project website.|
|If you took photos, please work with Sarah Petersen to upload them to PBOT’s Flikr page|
|If you took video, please work with Sarah Petersen to upload them to PBOT’s YouTube channel.|
|Input the participant emails into GovDelivery.|
In outreach consider the different perspectives and understandings of government that community members may hold. An event held at a City of Portland community center may deter some, whereas an event held at a place of worship may attract others.
D) FULFILL THE PROMISE TO THE PUBLIC
How the process finishes demonstrates your respect for communities’ time and how the expectations you set at the beginning of the process were met.
How you conclude your project will depend on the promise you made to the public. In general, the greater the promise, the more robust your concluding activities should be. Options include:
|GovDelivery email detailing results of the process|
|Groundbreaking and/or ribbon-cutting|
|Be sure that you close out your project website|