Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Planning process vs citizen involvement

Ever feel like you are being "processed?"

Have you felt tike this for some time?

Me too.  For at least 18 years, but most likely more.  There doesn't seem to be much that has changed over time, only a refinement of the processes and dim remembrance of anything different.  The last ditch for anyone who wants to make a difference is to run for mayor or city council, but the pressure to conform to a predetermined agenda continues there too.

I clipped this "In My Opinion" column from the Oregonian, April 9, 1997, and ran across it today while going through some very old files.  I'd like to share it with you before the actual article meets the recycle bin.  I apologize for the poor quality of the images - I could not find the article online, so my photos will have to do.  If the article is unreadable, let me know and I will try again.

A place at the table
The Oregonian, April 9, 1997  Commentary by John Legry
Citizen involvement doesn't mean public hearings to ratify decisions already made

Favorite quotes:

Public process is a mechanical technique used to get people to comment, report their "participation" in findings and, all too often, justify a predetermined decision.  

But, when was the last time anyone asked you to review the land use growth policy for its impact on your life?  

Generally speaking, and despite Metro 2040 discussions, what is considered is the size of the pie, not whether or not it should be baked in the first place.  

The powers that be favor process over involvement.  

The downtown Office of Neighborhoods - not itself slated for a budget cut of any kind - has grown over eight years from $250,000 to an annual budget of half a million dollars, but is predominantly occupied with inside City Hall initiatives: city services outreach, meeting facilitation and public process activities.  

These groups should be considered the first line of Portland's democratic process.  They should be cherished and protected as one of the only real counterbalances to the growth and development industry in existence.  

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