Oregon Humanities Conversation Project

Exploring Power & Privilege with Courage, Creativity & Compassion

Monday, December 2nd
7:00 - 8:00 pm
Multnomah Arts Center, Room 30
7688 SW Capitol Hwy
Portland, OR 97219

As individuals and groups, we experience varying levels of privilege and power. Recognizing our relationship to institutionalized oppression can bring feelings of defensiveness, guilt, shame, rage, terror, and grief, among other emotions. How can we craft transformative pathways for these feelings to unfold in ways that deepen our collective healing, rather than taking away from it? What do we, as individuals and communities, need in order to heal and thrive in a beautiful and broken world?

Conversation Leader Ridhi D'Cruz is a place-making sociocultural anthropologist, and permaculture educator living in Portland. They work to foster place-based empowerment within diverse communities, including people facing housing insecurity and governmental agencies, by drawing on diversity, equity, and inclusion, cultural sustainability, social permaculture, and asset-based community development. They also enthusiastically participate in life affirming practices involving urban wildcrafting, plant medicine, natural building, and participatory technology. Ridhi is currently a co-executive director of City Repair Project, a grassroots placemaking nonprofit organization in Portland.


Registration is voluntary and not required. Knowing how many people will attend, helps us prepare meeting materials and make room accommodations.

Childcare:  If would like to attend the conversation but need assistance with paying for childcare, you may visit Politisit at www.politisit.org.  Politisit is a non-profit that reimburses parents for childcare costs while they attend civic events and meetings. In order to ensure institutions, government entities, and elected officials are serving our communities well, we encourage families to engage in civic meetings and legislative discourse.  

Proposed Revision of Civic Engagement City Code 3.96 

City Code Chapter 3.96 creates a framework by which the people of the City of Portland may effectively participate in civic affairs and work to improve the livability and character of their Neighborhoods and the City. This Chapter sets out the basis for City recognition of Neighborhood Associations and District Coalition offices. An audit of the bureau highlighted the need to update Bureau practices and City Code to ensure Portlanders have equal access to City decision-making.

  • Current Chapter 3.96 Office of Neighborhood Involvement (2005)
  • Proposed 3.96.1 Code Change Language  (8/30/19)
  • Commissioner Eudaly presented a Resolution and a Report on the code change on Thursday, November 14, 2019 
  • The new proposed Resolution will do two things:

        1.    "BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the November 2020 Council hearing, presented by Civic Life and informed by the multi-bureau work group, will include recommendations for the timing and additional public processes required, if any, for updating Portland City Code Chapter 3.96"; 
        2.    "BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Civic Life shall bring forth an ordinance to request Council authorization for a three-year extension for the Neighborhood District Coalition contracts, which will currently expire in June 2020".

  • The resolution can be found at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/civic/article/746603. A supporting report can be found at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/civic/article/746599.  City Council did not vote on the Resolution on November 14, but is expected to vote on it by the end of December 2019. Written testimony on the Resolution may be submitted at cctestimony@portlandoregon.gov and or to each city council member (see below). Check the  City Council Work Calendar for updates.

    • Contact City Council 

    Consider calling or writing to Portland City Council regarding your thoughts about the proposed Code Change 3.96. 
    Options for Communicating with City Council (pdf)

    Council Member Name Phone Email
    Mayor Wheeler 503 823-4120 mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov
    Commissioner Eudaly 503 823-4682 Chloe@portlandoregon.gov
    Commissioner Fish 503 823-3589 Nick@portlandoregon.gov
    Commissioner Hardesty 503 823-4151 joann@portlandoregon.gov
    Commissioner Fritz 503 823-3008 Amanda@portlandoregon.gov


    November 2016, Portland City Auditor submitted to City Council: COMMUNITY AND NEIGHBORHOOD INVOLVEMENT: Accountability limited, rules and funding model outdated

    "Conclusion (page 19) - Portland has dedicated volunteers in neighborhoods, business districts, Diversity and Civic Leadership organizations, and many other community groups. These volunteers give significant time and effort on projects ranging from advocating for improved City services to responding to land use proposals to hosting movie nights in local parks. Improving accountability and updating the code and funding models would help ensure their work leads to meaningful results and that the City’s funding is well spent."

    July 2018, City Council responded with Resolution 37373

    "NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Bureau shall convene a Code Change Committee that will recommend changes to Chapter 3.96 that reflect: a unified set of culturally-responsive practices for engaging a diverse range of community partners; an updated description of the Bureau's responsibilities; and a set of voluntary guidelines that represent best practices for civic engagement. These recommendations shall be presented to Council by July 2019."

    Other related materials:

  • SWNI Summit held July 31, 2019  Meeting Materials
  • Listen to OPB Think Out Loud program (July 18, 2019)
    Big Changes for Portland Neighborhood Associations

    Watch on YouTube: City Club of Portland Friday Forum (July 12, 2019)
    The Changing Landscape of Civic Engagement

    More at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/civic/77951

  • YouTube Thumbnail

    Portland's Neighborhood System: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCn_jqO4HwM

    Sherry Arnstein's "Ladder of Citizen Involvement" 

    The ladder is a guide to seeing who has power when important decisions are being made. It has survived for so long because people continue to confront processes that refuse to consider anything beyond the bottom rungs. (From citizenshandbook.org).

    Sherry Arnstein's Ladder of Citizen Involvement