Tuesday, November 26
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Civic Engagement at Work

Civic Life employee, Sabrina Wilson, testifies to City Council during the November 14 meeting held at Self Enhancement, Inc.
On November 14, City Council hosted a special council meeting at Self Enhancement, Inc. focused on Civic Life's year-long process to update City Code Chapter 3.96. It was also an opportunity for the council to consider a resolution that will do the following: authorize a three-year extension for Neighborhood District Coalition Office contracts; and convene of a multi-bureau work group to review all cross-referenced responsibilities within City Code Chapter 3.96. The meeting was filled to capacity: more than 150 people showed up, and over 60 signed up to give public testimony.  We want to thank everyone who participated on November 14, your input and support is what keeps civic engagement strong. Council is still working to find a date to vote on the resolution and to allow for the remaining public testimony. We will continue to keep you updated. You can watch a video of the full meeting here>>

What Makes You Feel Safe?

In the final video in our Community Safety series, Director Suk Rhee talks about the importance of the program and why we choose to change its name. To turn on close captions, please click "CC" button on the bottom right of screen once you start video.
When you think about the conditions that you need in order to feel safe, what comes to mind? For some, it may be a safe route for their children to walk to school. For others, it might be a solid emergency preparation plan or a strategy to prevent theft. In the final video in our four-part series about community safety, the director of Civic Life, Suk Rhee, explains the decision behind changing the name of the Crime Prevention Program. The program's new name, Community Safety, communicates our vision to build resilient communities by inviting neighbors to work with each other and with city staff to better address a range of public safety issues. Using this approach, the program connects Portlanders with staff and resources within city bureaus such as Transportation, Emergency Management, Fire & Rescue, Planning & Sustainability, and Police. You can watch the complete video series here>>

Civic Life is Hiring

Civic Life is currently seeking a Cannabis Program Supervisor (Supervisor 1-E). This position makes policy recommendations to Portland City Council, commissioners, and bureau leadership through evaluation of data, research, and best practices. They also manage 7 full-time staff (FTE) in carrying out licensing compliance, advisory body activities, grants management, public communication, and policy.

The Cannabis Program acts as an information resource for Portland cannabis businesses, elected officials, and constituents. The program advocates at the local, state, and Federal level for cannabis policy changes in coordination with the City of Portland's Office of Government Relations and works for more equitable policies and outcomes in cannabis revenue and policy.

Find out more about the position, qualifications, and how to apply here>>

You Count!

Every 10 years our nation gets just one chance to count its entire resident population. Census data decide how the federal government will allocate $900 billion in funding for social services including Medicaid, school-lunch programs, and veterans’ assistance. Unfortunately, there are a significant amount of people who remain uncounted in every census effort. This year Civic Life entered into a grant agreement with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, in an amount not to exceed $600,000. This money will go toward a larger fund, called the Census Equity Fund, to support census engagement in hard-to-count (HTC) communities. The fund is currently accepting applications for Census Assistance Centers serving HTC populations across the state. We would love your help in spreading the word! Applications are due December 4,  Applications are due December 4>>

Staff Updates

An image of new employee Alma Rios-Rodriguez holding her child.Alma Rios-Rodriguez, Information & Referral Specialist
Alma was born and raised in Portland's St. Johns neighborhood. She has a 1-year old daughter who takes up most of her free time outside of work but still finds time to play on a volleyball team every Monday.  She has worked everywhere from food service, luxury retail, to pharmaceuticals and finance. She graduated from the University of Portland with a bachelor’s in Organizational Behaviors and Communications. Alma joined Civic Life on November 25.
Image of new employee Carlee SmithCarlee Smith, East Portland Community Office Grants Coordinator 
Carlee is an organizer, arts administrator, and a beginner weaver. She is the former co-owner of Fat Fancy, a plus-sized, body positive, queer, and feminist owned clothing store in downtown Portland. Since moving to Portland in 2002, she has served on the Board of Directors for Siren Nation, Artists Milepost, Signal Fire Arts and is currently an active member of Art Workers for Equity. Carlee most recently worked as a Grants Associate at the Oregon Community Foundation. Carlee joined Civic Life on November 25.
Image of new employee Polly BirgePolly Birge, Executive Assistant
Polly Birge was born and raised in Spokane, Washington and has lived in Portland for the last 25 years. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology/Women’s Studies and a Masters in Public Administration (Nonprofit Management). A dedicated advocate for the arts, social justice and equity, she has acted as the Executive Director for the Independent Publishing Resource Center as well as the Oregon Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Most recently, she served as the Arts and Culture Policy Director for Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. She loves print art and illustration, organizational strategic planning, music of all genres, smart science-fiction schlock, and dogs. Polly will join Civic Life on November 27.

Online Events Calendar

Visit our online calendar to find out 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 from a recent event, please contact us at

Visit Civic Life online events calendar here>>

Bureau Advisory Committee

The Bureau Advisory Committee (BAC) supports the Office of Community & Civic Life by providing guidance to the director on the effective use of Civic Life resources as it relates to the overall strategic aim and racial equity plan. The next two BAC public meetings are as follows:
  • Monday, December 16, 5:30pm
  • Monday, January 6, 5:30pm
You can find the complete BAC meeting calendar here>>
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