Multnomah Youth Commission member stands in front of a room and presents
Multnomah Youth Commission member, LaShawn McCarthy, presents during their 2019 swearing in ceremony. 

Candidate Forums

Engaging political candidates on important topics.

The May primaries are right around the corner and a great way to learn more about the race is through a candidate forum! The Multnomah Youth Commission, the official City and County youth policy body, has been successfully hosting candidate forums for years. We recently sat down with two of its members, LaShawn McCarthy and Stephen Liu, to hear more about their process. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Thank you for taking the time to talk about Multnomah Youth Commission and its candidate forum process! Can you start by explaining a candidate forum?

Stephen: Sure, a candidate forum is an event where community can learn about candidates’ perspectives, thoughts, and ideas.

LaShawn: And for Multnomah Youth Commission, it is opportunity for youth to interact and share their ideas with political candidates. 

A candidate forum needs to be non-partisan which includes making sure you extend an invite to everyone running for office. Can you tell me a little about this process?

LaShawn: We take advantage of the City and County websites because they have a complete list of who has filed for office, as well as candidates' campaign emails and phone numbers. It is important that both the audience and candidates know MYC is not endorsing anyone. Instead, the forum’s purpose is to create a resource for youth to understand how local politics work and hear how the candidates are engaged in topics that matter to youth. The event begins with a basic overview of the functioning of City and County governments as well as the main responsibilities of each political position.
How do you get the word out and invite the general public?

Stephen: Our candidate forum is first and foremost for youth. Adults are invited to come and listen as well as help us with setting up, but we ask them to only observe. What we have seen and know from experience is that if adults participate, they often dominate the discussion
LaShawn: We do a lot of outreach to schools and talk to local organizations that have young leaders. Outreach is a really important part because we need to engage a lot of youth to make it a successful event.
What would you say to someone that says, I am not old enough to vote, so why would I come to this?

Stephen: Although youth can’t vote, they can show the candidates that they have a voice. In fact, at the end of the forum, we ask the youth attendees to select who they believe are the best candidates and MYC publishes the results in a press release. 

LaShawn: I would say, although you are not old enough to vote, these candidates are running for positions that will ultimately impact you. Your perspective is unique, and candidates benefit from hearing your ideas and opinions. And voting is not the only way to be civically engaged—get involved in other political events, sit on commissions, join a board. Your voice matters, regardless of your age!

Thanking about hosting a candidate forum? The great news is that anyone can organize and host a forum, but if you are using funding from the city, you must follow specific rules which can be found in the following documents:
US Map with the words "2020 Census" on top

The Census Is Coming!

Census mailers will begin arriving in mailboxes in the next couple of weeks.

Once every 10 years, the Census Bureau coordinates a campaign to accurately count every person living in the U.S. The results of this count will determine funding and political representation for the next DECADE. You read that right, what we learn from the 2020 Census will impact us for the next 10 years. Who counts in the 2020 Census? Everyone! Every person, including children, residing in a household needs to be included on your census form. Here are two important ways the Census results will directly impact you and Oregon:

Representation: Determines how the 435 U.S. House of Representatives seats are divided among our 50 states. It is predicted that if everyone in Oregon is counted, our state will gain a 6th congressional seat. An extra seat means Oregon’s voice in Washington D.C. will be amplified! 

Funding: Informs how billions of dollars are distributed for critical public services including: roads, schools, and hospitals. It is estimated that Oregon will receive about $3,200 per year, per person counted in the Census. That equals billions of federal dollars that will be allocated to Oregon over the next 10 years.

Find out more here about the Census and its impact on Oregon here>>
A landscape photo of a forest and blue sky. Words "Climate Emergency Declaration" laid on top of image

Climate Emergency Declaration

The City is seeking your input!

After six months of working with residents, businesses, youth leadership, city bureaus, social justice organizations and environmental organizations, the City has released a draft Climate Emergency Declaration. This declaration advances climate justice and climate action initiatives led by the community, especially frontline communities of color and youth. Climate change is accelerating and your voice matters. The City wants to hear your feedback on the draft before March 16! Read the draft declaration and submit comments here>>
Front entrance of Portland City Hall

Civic Life is Hiring

We are currently hiring for a Business Operations Lead

The Business Operations Lead will be both a team supervisor and an individual contributor, and will be responsible for the following functions:
  • Human resources processes for hiring, evaluating, onboarding and other personnel actions.
  • Financial management of the bureau's budget including budget development, budget monitoring and application of applicable financial policies.
  • Purchasing and purchasing approval processes.
  • Contract management and monitoring.
Find a full description of the position and how to apply here>>
Close up of a calendar

Online Events Calendar


Visit our online calendar to find information regarding community and neighborhood events. 

If you have an event you would like to be considered for the calendar or if you have an image you would like to share of a recent event, please contact us at

Visit Civic Life calendar here.

A close up of a presenter's hand making a gesture while talking

Bureau Advisory Committee

BAC supports Civic Life by providing the bureau director guidance on the effective use of Civic Life resources as it relates to its overall strategic aim and racial equity plan. The next two BAC public meetings are:

March 18, 5:30pm*
May 20, 5:30pm*

*NEW LOCATION for the meetings: Kelly Penumbra Building, 4747 E Burnside

You can find the
meeting calendar here.
Office of Community & Civic Life
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 110
Portland, Oregon 97204
Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can
update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.