2017 Community Oregon Program

Community Oregon 2017

The first Community Oregon program took place in the summer and fall of 2017, with participants from across the state of Oregon – from Clackamas to Klamath Falls, from Beaverton to Baker City.

2017 Community Oregon participants

The program consisted of three parts:

  1. Participants attended a three-day retreat.
  2. In urban/rural pairs, participants carried out exchanges – hosting someone from across the divide, then visiting them in their home.
  3. Participants presented their experiences at a public event on November 4th in Portland.

Community Oregon Camp

Participants first attended a three-day retreat held at Kah-Nee-Ta Resort in Warm Springs, Oregon. This was a fun and challenging camp-like experience, where participants learned dialogue skills and got to know fellow Oregonians from all walks of life, led by facilitators from both urban and rural communities.

Dialogue exercise at Community Oregon Camp

Community Oregon Exchange

As the cornerstone of the program, each urban participant hosted a rural participant in their home, and vice versa. These exchange visits occurred in the three months following the Community Oregon Camp retreat and were an opportunity for immersion in a community significantly different from one's own.

Community Oregon participants Tom and Ibrahim, at Tom's house near Baker City

Community Oregon Expo

Participants spoke at a public event held on Nov. 4 in Portland. Their brief and varied presentations explained the knowledge and understanding they had gained – and challenges they had encountered – during their urban-rural exchanges over the previous three months.

Anne, Community Oregon participant from Hermiston, speaking at the Expo.

Program Accommodations

Community Oregon participants are reimbursed for all travel to the Camp, Exchange, and Expo. Expenses for accommodations at the Community Oregon Camp are also covered. Overnight accommodations for the Urban/Rural Exchanges take the form of host community homestays.

Participant Profile

The first Community Oregon cohort consisted of 17 participants. Healthy Democracy partnered with the Association of Oregon Counties, inviting county commissioners and other community leaders to nominate local residents for the program.

Ideal Community Oregon participants are active community members who have an interest in and the courage needed to engage in the sometimes difficult but rewarding process of re-building a sense of community across the state. The program looks for participants from a wide geographic area, and who are representative of the diversity of Oregon’s population, including political perspective, age, occupation/professional sector, religion, race, national origin, and gender.

Program Flyer

Community Oregon Flyer (PDF)

All the information about Community Oregon – in one convenient flyer!


Want to bring an urban-rural exchange program to your state? Or want to participate in future programs?


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