Tag: Master of Community and Regional Planning program

Creating Connections for Campus Safety

By Amy Henson

The Oregon Disaster Resilient Universities Network (DRU) is a network of over 1,600 campus emergency management professionals connected through a listserv hosted by the University of Oregon. DRU is one of the partners CPW is collaborating with to develop the National Emergency Management Needs Assessment. As part of the National Needs Assessment, sponsored by the National Center for Campus Public Safety (NCCPS), we had scoped a DRU summit to explore the results of our needs assessment survey and better understand issues that campus emergency management programs face.

NCCPS TeamIn fall 2015, as a response to the tragic events at Umpqua Community College, Governor Kate Brown established a campus safety workgroup with the charge to identify resource needs and potential state policy to enable a coordinated strategy across the higher education system, both public and private institutions. Governor Brown appointed Andre Le Duc, the UO’s Chief Resilience Officer, to chair the committee. As it turns out, Le Duc is also on the board of the NCCPS.

Since our work with NCCPS included a summit and the Governor’s Workgroup was in an information gathering phase, Le Duc proposed we combine the DRU summit with the Workgroup meeting. So, in conjunction with the University of Oregon Office of Emergency Management and Continuity, we took part in the planning and facilitation of the event. We were excited to be part of the statewide campus safety effort, especially since we had been working on the national needs assessment project, and agreed to participate!

The CPW team hosted the Summit and it went GREAT! The CPW team, as well as CSC faculty, worked as facilitators through the all-day summit. Due to the abundance of facilitators, we were able to effectively register the participants, hand out nametags, direct participants to tables, and begin forming relationships with our guests for the day. After an introduction of the day and a brief background of the participating organizations by Andre Le Duc, the agenda really got started.

We assigned participants to tables with practitioners from other departments and other schools. We did this to engage conversations that may not occur in their regular professional setting. In order to ensure that participants were engaged in the process, the facilitators sat at each table and started with some brainstorming questions before probing into more detail. It was also valuable to keep the tables the same through the day; each table had a sense of camaraderie with those who they sat next to. We also provided a very loose schedule with breaks and a full hour lunch which allowed fDRU Oregon Summitor casual conversation and networking. We  scheduled a burrito bar for lunch, to ensure positive attitudes would continue through the afternoon.

The day began with a presentation of the preliminary findings from a national needs assessment survey administered by our CPW team. In analyzing the findings, the team grouped the needs into four theme areas: institutional commitment, staffing, training & exercises, and plans & continuity. We used these themes throughout the day and through facilitated conversation were able to parse out the needs that all of Oregon’s campuses have, regardless of size, popular majors, or whether they are public or private. After the CPW team presented, we then welcomed speakers on the topics of preparedness, continuity, response, and recovery.

After each speaker, the participants took part in table discussions, facilitated by CSC/CPW team. Each participant received a worksheet to fill out, providing the opportunity to share thoughts in various manners. We wanted to ensure that no matter how people chose to express themselves, we would be able to cater to those styles. The facilitators allowed the table groups to discuss the various components of need in their universities, and stepped in only when the conversation drifted too far from the original topic, or if participants struggled to find the “jumping off” point of the conversation.

While there were some things I would definitely change in the day (it was seven hours, the conversations got a little redundant at the end, etc.), but overall, it was great day. The conversations that occurred and the relationships that were forged could not have been any better. I think that if we can continue to build on this work, Oregon and her students will have a safer and more prepared future. I look forward to continuing working with the work group through the rest of the summer.

Amy Henson
Amanda (Amy) Henson is a second year Master’s of Public Administration student, focusing in higher education administration and policy. She enjoys hot coffee, cold ice cream, and spontaneous weekend adventures.

Planting the Seeds of Change

By Madi Pluss

The sun is shining, the days grow longer, and all around Oregon small flowers are emerging. The grey and overcast landscape is now painted with faint traces of pastels. Out of the cold slumbering soil, small flower buds reach to feel the warmth. As the seasons shift and life awakens from weeks in dormant dark winter, the Tillamook Code Review also begins to blossom.

At the start of the season, the gardener plans their plot. They study the almanac and determine which plants will fare well, which crops will be the most fruitful, and what will yield the most success. For the past 8 weeks, our project has also been in the formative phase of development. Underground, we were collecting data, conceptualizing, reading, discussing, and compiling an extensive library of strategies. We began with only small seeds of knowledge, barely even able to find Tillamook County on a map. Guided by our seasoned project advisor, we were challenged by unfamiliar practices, ordinances, and code language. We dug deep to establish our approach and determine the priority hazards. The early months were a time where we defined our scope of work, determined a focus of research, and established the landscape for our final deliverable.

We are at the point in our project where the roots are embedded, our concepts are taking hold, and analysis is making its first appearance. Our project advisor, Michael Howard, has taken a step back in our meetings, communication with the client, and overall planning process, which is giving us space to grow on our own. This is the time where the strongest concepts will thrive and we will weed out the weaker elements of the project. As we write case studies, we acknowledge what is truly feasible.

Looking forward, our work will come to fruition and the fruits of our labor will be revealed. On the 6th of April, we will be participating a joint meeting, along with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, and Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries. We will brief the Tillamook County Board of County Commissioners, Planning Commission, and other important individuals involved with natural hazard mitigation and resilience in Tillamook County about the Risk MAP program and our code review work. Like a sprout reaching for the sun, we will reach out to the participants and share our methodology, suggestions, proposed strategies, and foreseen implications. After this introductory meeting, we will meet with the Planning Commission and provide more in-depth code review.  Their suggestions and input act as the fertilization that will be integrated and will help us glean the most pertinent techniques appropriate for Tillamook County. As the term ends, we will harvest recommendations out of the strongest reviews and we will produce the deliverable that will serve as an essential component for improved hazard mitigation code for Tillamook County.

Madi Pluss

Madi Pluss                      
Born and raised in Colorado, mountains and outdoor recreation has always been a big part of my life, and out of reverence for natural processes and events, I recognize the need to mitigate hazards and protect human livelihood. In the future, I would like to focus on addressing issues related to growth and development, and mitigating natural hazard for highly urbanized areas. In my free time, you can find me in the yoga studio, supporting local music, or enjoying a good coffee. I am very excited to be working on this project and look forward to gaining a stronger understanding of code review and the planning process.