Through our Civics 101 series, guests learned about Portland's local government structure, how the region's governmental bodies interact, and guests also had a chance to speak with elected officials.
Session #1: How do cities work? How can you participate in and influence local government?
Thursday, Oct. 15, 1-3pm | Guest speaker: City Councilor Jerry W. Hinton
Experience how municipal government works and how city structures vary from city to city. Gain awareness of the purview of cities and how that varies from counties and the regional government.
Hear from Gresham Councilor Hinton about how he got involved in local government, what he sees as the big issues facing Gresham, and how citizens of all generations can get involved in local issues.
Session #2: How do counties function and how do county, local, and regional officials coordinate their efforts? How can you get involved in County issues that matter to you?
Thursday, Oct. 22, 1-3pm | Guest speaker: Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson
Learn the difference between county and city roles and responsibilities and how the County Commission is structured. Hear from Multnomah Councilor Jessica Vega Pederson, from the County’s District 4, which includes Gresham and most of East County, about the most important issues facing the County and how she feels the public’s concerns can best be conveyed to Commissioners.
Commissioner Vega Pederson was the first Latina elected to the Oregon House of Representatives where she served for one term before running for Multnomah County Commission. She has served one term on the County Commission and was reelected to that seat in May 2020.
Session #3: What are regional governments, why are they created, and how are they funded? What are their areas of influence?
Friday, Oct. 30, 1-3pm. | Guest speaker: Councilor Shirley Craddick
Gain a broader view of the connection between federal, state, county, and local laws by learning about regional governments through the lens of Metro. Learn more about why regional governments exist, how they function and why they can accomplish tasks that other levels of government can’t. Councilor Craddick will speak about Metro’s funding sources and areas of focus and how community members can influence their work.Councilor Craddick represents District 1, which includes Fairview, Gresham, Troutdale, Wood Village, portions of East Portland and the unincorporated communities of Damascus and Boring. She became a Metro Councilor in 2011 and her current term ends in 2023. She previously served as a Gresham City Councilor from 2004 to 2010.
Session #4: "What Now?!" - Advocacy in Practice
Saturday, Nov 14, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Presentation: Tips & Tools, Practice your Skills – Learn from other advocates!
This is your chance to put your knowledge into action. At this session, we’ll recap key messages from the previous sessions and highlight advocacy tools and practices you’ll need to work with city, county, and regional elected officials. We’ll hear from special guest advocates and help you to create your own action plan to affirm how you’d like to use your “voice” to influence government. Whether you want to research policy, join an advisory board, or become more vocal, there is a place for you in local government. Let’s get started!