Image of a forest trail in Portland, Oregon

Sending Healthy Thoughts

Each day since March 12, when Oregon declared its first State of Emergency, has brought new information and new realities. We have moved quickly from social distancing, to teleworking, to the "Stay Home, Save Lives" executive order in order to do exactly that, save lives. Through it all, we are working together as a City to respond to emerging conditions.

At Civic Life, we have 16 unique program services that we are adapting, sometimes daily, with new guidelines from public health and City officials. We are conducting code enforcement visits using technology and continue to provide essential services (see I&R  story below). We continue to support the specific needs of advisory boards and community partners, which understandably vary by language, age, type of business, citizenship status, and more. We have sent staff to serve in the City/County Emergency Coordination Center and every day we coordinate with all City bureaus to focus on emerging priorities, whether closing City facilities to the public for safety or re-opening them as emergency shelters in support of the COVID-19 response. 

In this edition of Civic Life updates, we share one thing we can all do as Portlanders right now (Census!) and resources we can share out with our families and communities. We also highlight the contributions of team members that (continue to) benefit the region. What keeps us grounded through these times is our community and we would love to continue to hear from you. If you have any questions, suggestions, or general thoughts you want to share with us, please drop us a line:   
Image with words: Census Lifestream Party, Join Us April 1, 12-2pm

Let's Get Together (virtually)! 

COVID 19 reminds us that in a public health emergency, we all count.  Now, let’s make sure that we all are counted. You are invited to a CENSUS DAY PARTY on April 1st! Let's come together virtually as a community to celebrate the importance of filling out the 2020 Census. Join We Count Oregon, community partners, elected officials and community leaders to celebrate the ability to gain representation and funding for critical services. Register here to receive the link to the livestream>>
Yellow background with words in black: "Keep Portland Alive"
A poster from a statewide public awareness campaign with Governor Kate Brown, Widen + Kennedy, the Oregon Health Authority, and public health partners.

COVID-19 Resource Pages

Multnomah County and the City of Portland have launched the Joint Volunteer Information Center to coordinate a regional response to COVID-19. Find out how to volunteer or donate much needed items here>>

The Portland Small Business Relief Fund will provide grants and no interest loans to support Portland small businesses experiencing hardships related to COVID-19. Find out more and how to apply here>>

The City of Portland has created a page on their website that has the most up-to-date information on resources and city policies related to COVID-19. You can find the page here>>

The Multnomah County continues to be the lead on public health in our community, you can check their website for regular updates and resources here>>

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a lot of COVID-19 material translated into different languages. These resources are free to download and can be found here>>

Governor Kate Brown launched a statewide public awareness campaign with Widen + Kennedy, the Oregon Health Authority, and public health partners. The goal of the campaign is to unite Oregonians during this unprecedented time of crisis, and spread the word about the urgent importance of staying home to save lives right now. Please help to share this campaign with your network, community members, friends and family. Other languages will be available soon.
A panoramic view of downtown Portland with the Willamette River in the foreground


City of Portland employees are working around the clock to help respond to our City's current State of Emergency. The Office of Management and Finance has begun to compile stories of these employees and their work during this unprecedented time. We are very proud that our coworker, Joanne Johnson, was selected for her guidance and collaboration to make the City of Portland's communication accessible to the disability community.

"While offering recommendations and tools for accessible, equitable community engagement is part of my regular work, there is an increased sense of urgency around supporting people to get it right the first time. Otherwise, people with disabilities feel forgotten, more isolated, and have access to less information in these most uncertain of times." Read more about
Joanne and her work here>>

Here are crucial tips to ensure you are creating communications that are accessible to ALL:
  • Closed captioning on any videos
  • ASL interpreters on screen or screen-in-screen on videos
  • Plain language material provided, including easy read options with icons/pictures
  • Alt-text added to any images or graphics
  • Ensuring any documents shared with the public, including memos, guidance, etc. are screen reader accessible
  • Sharing emergency mental health info along with physical health
  • Information available in multiple languages
  • Any information shared should include a contact phone number & email to request information in an accessible format
  • If people are being directed to a physical location, information should include facility accessibility (is the entrance wheelchair accessible? The restrooms?), transportation routes, and a phone number AND email so people can reach out to see if the space will meet their accessibility needs.
The Office of Equity and Human Rights recently released this video as a resource on how to create accessible social media posts>>
Employees of the Information & Referral program pause their work to pose for a group picture
The invaluable I&R team hard at work (while practicing social distancing in their cubicles!), responding to your questions via phone calls and emails.

Information & Referral

While Civic Life employees adjust to working remotely, our bureau’s program, Information & Referral continues to commute to the City’s Kelly Building in Southeast Portland so they can respond to phone calls and emails about the current changes to our City and County services and programs. The seven employees (and one very cute dog!) at the contact center are currently receiving around 400 calls and emails per day. The majority of calls this week have related to the Governor’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive order. Last week, the team fielded a lot of questions about a new Prosper Portland/APANO grant program for small businesses as well as the City/County eviction moratorium. We are so appreciative of the work of this team and their commitment to provide our Portland community with information on local, regional, and statewide services, programs, and policies!
Information & Referral phone line is available Monday–Friday, 8:00am–5:00pm or by email at
Office of Community & Civic Life
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 110
Portland, Oregon 97204
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