Meet our Alumi —
Lorilei Juntunen, Senior Planner at ECONorthwest
What Community Service Center program(s) did you work with?
The Community Planning Workshop (CPW)
What year(s) were you affiliated with the Community Service Center (CSC)?
2002 – 2004
What was your most memorable experience or greatest accomplishment with CPW?
I was able to work on a variety projects as a student and project manager. My first year on the team involved addressing housing issues for migrant farm workers. We facilitated workshops with the community of workers to dig into the policy issues that regulate housing for migrant workers. I can’t think of another program that you could have such a powerful and surreal experience especially while working in rural Oregon. It was very unusual program to be able to be so bottom up with a project and to be so hands on in something that is far out of the public eye.
Another experience includes my time with OPDR, working to identify resilience issues in communities of the Cascades region. Because of this experience I began working part time with ECONorthwest. That part time job became my career and 9 years later I am employed with the same organization and part owner.
What was the most critical skill(s) you learned from being engaged in CSC programs?
Public speaking and project management were developed while dealing with real communities with varied concerns. We were able to gain experience of how to professionally facilitate a meeting all the while under the watchful eye of this (CPW) program.
What was your first job after engaging with the CSC, with what organization and where?
I started as a research analyst at ECONorthwest, directly related to work at the CSC.
Who is your current employer and what’s your current position/title/role? What do you do in your position?
I am Senior Planner and Managing Director at ECONorthwest in Portland, Oregon
What professional organizations do you belong to?
Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association (OAPA) and the City Club of Portland
What advice would you give someone just entering this field?
Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. If you are not operating at the edge of your comfort zone, you can’t advance. Planning is a rich field; it’s a profession that allows its professionals to practice at the cutting edge of systems change. Take advantage of the opportunities to explore the richness of the field while pushing yourself; if you are not engaged you may miss an opportunity.