Eugene Review Panel Public Engagement Recommendations

Hello Eugene Review Panel!

At your February meetings, members of the Panel suggested a number of recommendations related to public engagement in the City of Eugene. Now's your chance as an individual Panelist to support (or oppose) those recommendations.

Your votes will be added up and attached to the final report on public engagement recommendations, which will be sent to the City's Planning Commission and City Council. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

Your name will only be used by HD staff to help anyone who make sure everyone has voted and help anyone who has trouble voting. No one else will see how you've voted.

Recommendation 1: The City should adopt this process.

  • Rationale: There’s a tendency for the loudest voices to rule in town hall meetings organized by the City. This Panel is a part of our Great Democratic Experiment – a jury of our peers.
  • Rationale: Rules of civility create good and productive results.
  • Rationale: Panelists feel a certain weight of responsibility to speak up and be part of something productive.
  • Rationale: By getting a random selection of people, this Panel is much more diverse than who shows up to public meetings.
  • Rationale: Public officials like to get the real, raw story from everyday people. Usually you just get representatives of interest groups. Here Panelists are speaking from our own experiences.
  • Rationale: Processes like these are rewarding and educational! Listening to others on this committee has been educational and helpful to better appreciate the diversity of my neighbors.

Recommendation 1a: The City should adopt this process either by the creation of its own moderation group or by the employment of Healthy Democracy and/or similar civic engagement organizations.

Recommendation 2: The City should devote a little more resources and more time to these processes.

  • Rationale: A process that includes residents of under-represented communities requires more support services that need to be prioritized by the city (Zoom, education, onboarding, stipend, internet access, translation, etc.).
  • Rationale: By front loading this democratic process you are more likely to save money/time/stress because of a better representative voice.

Recommendation 3: Statistical sampling is good to get an idea of what a sample of the population thinks. This kind of selection could also be useful for special committees, Boards, and Commissions.

  • Rationale: Random mailings might be more effective than other recruitment methods because they get a hold of people right where they already are - in their homes.
  • Rationale: Not everyone listens to the radio, reads the newspaper, knows the right people, or is on the right listserv to hear about openings and apply.
  • Rationale: In an informal poll, ⅘ Panelists on the process oversight task committee said they would not have responded to an email or an ad in the Register Guard to join this Panel.

Recommendation 3a: If direct mailings are too expensive, prioritize underrepresented groups. This may require a creative process to find where those folks live.

Recommendation 4: The City should help keep us involved and funnel us into other opportunities so this isn’t just a one-time engagement.

  • Rationale: The number of new people on this Panel is very high – maybe 90+% who have not participated before – so the city should not let us go.

Recommendation 5: There should be a mix of us into other processes = a mix of old and new folks.

Recommendation 5a: Aim for 50/50 split.

  • Rationale: This allows folks with more experience to mentor new folks and for fresh ideas to be infused with those who have experiences going through these processes. This prevents only a few people being the ones who always participate.

Recommendation 6: The City should figure out where the need for volunteers is and provide an inventory of different opportunities for members of this Panel to join.

Recommendation 6a: Provide a map of the support systems that would funnel folks in to participate in those opportunities.

  • Rationale: Some people on this Panel were motivated by the topic, for others it was something else. So the City shouldn’t only offer housing opportunities.
  • Rationale: Volunteers are often expected to do all the legwork to find opportunities.

Recommendation 7: The City should think about what training they can provide to set folks from this Panel up for success in other engagement opportunities.

  • Rationale: Other Boards and Committees are less protected from political influence than this Panel is. People need to be prepared for that.
  • Rationale: Don’t assume the skills and roles from this Panel will translate exactly.
  • Rationale: This panel got trained/on-boarded together by presenters during the process, but this could be done before the process itself. Committees lose or don’t attract people when they don’t do on-boarding right away.

Recommendation 8: Make these processes as apolitical as possible.

  • Rationale: Being free of political influence has been key to this Panel’s productivity.

Recommendation 9: Every committee involving residents should provide laptops, access to the internet, and a stipend (like this process did).

  • Rationale: These are necessary for individuals who would not participate otherwise due to accessibility.
  • Rationale: A fair and even sample of the population is important. Accessibility is key to representative voice.

Recommendation 9a: Provide childcare during meetings.

  • Rationale: Wider diversity of participants, especially for young families.

Recommendation 10: Before rolling out any process like this, prototype it in advance.

  • Rationale: If you want wider adoption of this kind of process, you need to know the success rate, things that can go wrong, etc.
  • Rationale: A template would allow for more seamless adoption and productive outcomes.

Recommendation 11: Evening meetings are really good. Daytime meetings are really hard for folks who work during the day.

  • Rationale: Most are working during the day and Saturdays are tough.

Recommendation 11a: Day time meetings may be beneficial, as well. This could allow a different demographic.

Recommendation 12: Offer translation and interpretation services.

Recommendation 12a: Offer live captioning service for hearing impaired, and services that are available that do translations.

Recommendation 13: Allow for individual input in addition to collective input; provide space for disagreement and free expression of individual opinions.

Recommendation 14: Prior education should not be a requirement for engaging in public processes. It creates a fair environment when everyone starts with the same information.

  • Rationale: Giving everyone the same opportunity/access to information is important.