2019 Community Oregon Program

Community Oregon 2019

The second Community Oregon program took place in the spring, summer and fall of 2019, with participants from across the state of Oregon – from Portland to Klamath Falls, from Hillsboro to Baker City.

group photo_best
2019 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 September 21 in Portland. 

Community Oregon Camp

Participants first attended a three-day retreat held at Lake Creek Lodge in Camp Sherman, 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.

Communication 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. Sometimes these exchanges happened in groups, and other times, they were in a one-on-one format. The visits occurred in the four months following the Community Oregon Camp retreat and were an opportunity for immersion in a community significantly different from one's own.

Community Oregon participant, Mike, sharing information about Sherman County with his urban participants visiting from Portland
Community Oregon urban participants, Jo (center) and Dave (right), visiting rural participant, Tom, at his home in Baker City, Oregon

Community Oregon Expo

Participants spoke at a public event held on September 21 at Concordia University 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 four months.

Community Oregon participants on stage during 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.

The second Community Oregon cohort consisted of 14 participants.

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.


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

Thanks To