Community Planning Workshop students evaluate five-year Diversity and Equity Strategic Plan

DESP Team interviews Jon Ruiz, Eugene City Manager

The City of Eugene is four years into a five-year Diversity and Equity Strategic Plan (DESP) to improve the organization’s culture around equity and human rights. The City and our Community Planning Workshop team partnered up to check off a plan action item and conduct an evaluation on the progress of the plan.

To evaluate the city’s progress on equity and human rights, our team uses surveys, interviews with executives and department DESP committees, focus groups, and related research. City staff received the survey in mid-February, and by the time the survey closed, 47% of the 1,400 staff members responded. We were thrilled with the response and are now analyzing the results to find key themes. In mid-to-late February our team also conducted all 13 interviews and team members continue to synthesize the results.

In late June, we’ll present the City with our final report. In it, we’ll include the key themes from the survey, interviews, and focus groups, and recommendations for future action. The DESP expires in 2014 and we are working with the City to understand what should replace it, if anything at all.

With much work done and much more to do, our team is happy with the progress and enjoying our partnership with the City of Eugene.

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The Community Planning Workshop Assists Small Cities with Water Quality Planning

CPW students Ben Protzman, Rebecca Harbage, Geoff Ostrove; Turner City Administrator David Sawyer

The Community Planning Workshop (CPW) is helping five small Oregon cities develop local programs that protect wetlands, stream corridors, and surface water quality. The work is part of a pilot project funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality that links under-resourced communities with the university, providing technical assistance to the communities and service learning opportunities to students. The approach focuses on identifying and addressing the unique challenges and needs of each community and therefore differs from the more common tactic of adopting generic model codes.

The project has thus far involved drafting regulatory ordinances for two communities, the most common approach to protecting water quality. It has also involved innovative community-based outreach programs to accompany regulation. In other communities, the work has resulted in the development of a unique non-regulatory surface water management program that relies heavily on water quality education and voluntary protection efforts. The non-regulatory surface water management program is the first of its kind for cities in Oregon.

More about the Community Planning Workshop(CPW)