Our Partner: Jason Dedrick

Partner Interview: Jason Dedrick

Policy & Systems Analyst
City of Eugene, City Manager’s Office

 What Community Service Center program(s) did you work with?

Community Planning Workshop (CPW)

University of Oregon Economic Development Center

Briefly describe the project(s) you work on with the CSC.

Recently we have been working with Bethany Stiener of CPW on the Diversity Equity Strategic Plan, I have also worked with Bob Parker on the Lane Livability Consortium project and also partnering with Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) when I worked for the Crooked River Watershed Council in Prineville, OR.

Why did you decide to work with the Community Service Center (CSC)?

The CSC has a good reputation in terms of quality work including staff and students. Working with students is compelling in that most bring a fresh approach to the process. These students are outsiders that come with a more creative approach than traditional organizations.

What were the benefits of engaging the CSC program?

The CSC has added value with student teams and is a proven partner in the community through their work on other city related projects. An added bonus is their convenient location on campus. I also think the academic environment brings a more thoughtful approach than a standard contractor, as the students and staff immerse themselves throughout the project.

What role did CSC staff/students/members have in the project?

The staff and student role was highly collaborative; they organized everything including meetings, survey development, timeline creation, adjusted and maintained the scope of work, and showed interest in all aspects of the project.

How did the engagement of the CSC program(s) increase your organization capacity to complete the project?

They flat out increased our capacity on these projects more than what we could do on our own staff time. They continued to bring added value, different perspectives, and new ideas throughout the process.

What advice do you have to other potential community partners about working with the CSC?

Just do it.  Get involved with the student process, engage them and you will get more out of the project.

Call to Action:

The City of Eugene offers many great internship opportunities across our many departments and work groups. Check out the link below for information on becoming an intern. It provides you with real-world experience and is a fantastic addition to your resume.


More about the Community Planning Workshop(CPW)

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Institutional Knowledge: A Bank of Wealth by KC McFerson

Institutional Knowledge: A Bank of Wealth by KC McFerson

My Community Planning Workshop (CPW) team is working with two small Oregon communities to improve water quality in their jurisdictions – the City of Oakridge, on the Willamette River, and Gold Hill, on the Rogue River. Navigating a new area of planning, policy, and regulation can be a challenging task, especially for communities that are not familiar with the process. Luckily, cities collaborating with the Community Service Center (CSC) and Community Planning Workshop (CPW)  can utilize a powerful tool: institutional knowledge.

Institutional knowledge means that current projects benefit from lessons learned in previous projects that are similar. CPW has built substantial institutional knowledge around improving water quality in small communities through the last few years. Recently, CPW worked on similar projects with other Oregon cities, including Shady Cove, Coburg, and Turner. The lessons from these prior experiences developed an institutional knowledge that brings a variety of benefits.

1.     Benefits to service learning. Institutional knowledge gives a team working on a current project access to lessons learned from prior processes and projects. Seeing what was and was not effective in Shady Cove, Coburg, and Turner has helped my team research efficiently and build a stronger relationship with our steering committees. Ultimately, this results in a better process and final product that enriches learning.

2.     Benefits to client city. A better process and product means a better result for the client city and a strengthened community. As a city, particularly a small one, tries to comply with state and federal water quality regulations, it faces many questions. Should it move forward on its own? Should it partner with a state agency? Should it do nothing and be penalized? Should it hire a consultant? And if it does hire a consultant to help it through the process, why should it? What’s the hook? The hook is institutional knowledge.

 3.     Benefits to the environment. A better process and product not only means a better result for the client city, but also a better result for the subject of the project. In this case, it means improved water quality in the Willamette and Rogue River Basins. The faster and more effectively we complete water quality projects, the faster the Willamette and Rogue Rivers become clean and healthy.

Institutional knowledge is vital for small Oregon communities trying hard to improve life for their citizens while complying with state and federal regulations. It allows us as service learners to make a meaningful contribution. And it creates a better end product, which is delivered with greater efficiency than before. But perhaps the greatest wealth accrued from institutional knowledge, in this case, is improved water quality in Oregon’s river basins. Take that to the bank…the riverbank.

More about KC McFerson

More about the Community Planning Workshop(CPW)