The following are examples of programs that, in their subject matter, community engagement, and/or use of partnerships, represent strong fits to Oregon Humanities’ grant criteria.
Sloughtown Listening Sessions, Columbia Slough Watershed Council and Historic Parkrose Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative (2017)
The Columbia Slough Watershed Council and the Historic Parkrose Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative in Portland will organize six neighborhood listening sessions that aim to build a shared vision for how homeless camps, habitat restoration, public safety, and public access can coexist along the Columbia Slough. The multi-session series is intended to allow for deep conversation to surface tensions and increase understanding between residents, businesses, environmentalists, law enforcement, faith communities, people experiencing homelessness, and other community members with regard to their connection to this natural area.
The increase in homeless campers along the Columbia Slough has resulted in conflicts (both perceived and real) with groups that use these natural spaces or live and conduct business nearby. In an effort to honor the historic challenges in civic participation by those experiencing homelessness, CSWC and HPNPI will have a specific focus on inviting and meaningfully engaging people experiencing homelessness, their experiences, and needs. This focus will include strategic outreach methods, partnership development, and specific conversations to ensure that their presence and voice is given equitable space in the conversation.
The listening sessions are designed to find solutions to balance competing needs and move the whole community forward. These series will help highlight shared interests and, through dialogue, create better understanding and relationships between various stakeholders in the Slough. CSWC will also develop a toolkit to share with other groups who manage natural resources as a tool to navigate multiple interests and land uses.
In Our Valley…, RiverStars Performing Arts (2017)
RiverStars Performing Arts will convene youth in Josephine County to interview community members and reflect on how social change happens and how people see their own role in making change in their community. During the Fall of 2017, participants will interview their families, church communities, and peers and use the resulting information to create a performance and public dialogue program that invites further community reflection on change and its local impact. The aim of this project is to empower youth as community leaders, and to engage program participants and the larger community in using art and dialogue to increase connectedness and understanding across generational divides.
The project will work with fifty youth, each of whom will engage at least five family, community, or church members in dialogue about how community change happens. RiverStars is looking to engage youth in civic discussions while elevating conversations on social change, needs of rural communities, and general well-being. The themes and topics from the youth-led community interviews will be the foundation for a performance that will help prompt post-show, facilitated reflective dialogues that explore the themes of social change, civic participation, and needs of rural communities. This program is the result of feedback collected from past program and community collaborations; issues and themes are truly responsive to the community.
Unbranded and Unclaimed, Pacific Wild Horse Club (2016)
This project will bring community members together in Bend and Burns to contemplate the issue of wild horse and land management. This is a collaborative effort by Oregon organizations including the Pacific Wild Horse Club, The Museum at Warm Springs, High Desert Museum, Bureau of Land Management, and Ochoco National Forest. Exploring this complex issue and fostering understanding between stakeholders is particularly timely, as the government’s wild horse and burro management plan is under review. A series of programs, including facilitated discussions, panel presentations, community field trips and a Mustang Awareness Day, will encourage sharing of different perspectives.
Unbranded and Unclaimed will include four facilitated discussions about the historical and cultural context of wild horses, natural resource use and herd management, and considering solutions around wild horse adoptions and population control. The program will also include two community learning field trips and events at the annual Mustang Awareness Day. Participants in this series of programs will consider questions such as: 1) What, if any, are our responsibilities to the wild horses of Oregon?; and, 2) What is the value of public land, and who gets to decide how we use it?
The programs are intended to give the larger community—including members of the public, natural resource professionals, equine professionals, historians, nonprofit organizations, tribes, and government entities—opportunities to learn about and address the pressing matters of herd and land management through active participation and communication with a wide variety of perspectives.
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