Greetings from Portland, OR!
We here at the Portland Enrichment Program are incredibly excited to be firing up for our next Summer of Solutions!
In Portland, we work primarily with an organization called the Foster Green Eco-District. They are main stakeholders in a fairly large area of Portland with the same name. The neighborhoods that the Eco-District encompass are all incredibly diverse and working class. Many of the residents are new immigrants or work irregular and abnormal hours. This, if course, is not the image that most people have of Portland, and we intend to fulfill several goals of social justice through our projects, among others.
Last year, we conducted a listening project with over one thousand people in the Eco-District designed to gauge the interests that residents had in regards to sustainability and neighborhood livability. We have streamlined the process from last year, and this summer we will work towards our goal of visiting every resident of the Eco-District over the next three years. This is no small feat, as the Eco-District contains over twenty-five thousand unique addresses. We are aided in this goal by our many community, city, state, and regional level partners.
When we visit residents of the Eco-District, we conduct a survey of their interests, but we also engage them in producing a sustainable future for themselves. The Foster Green Community Challenge is a way for residents to sign up and take personal steps to live sustainably. Many of the actions are low or no cost.
Another initiative that we are undertaking (and this writer is spearheading) is what we call the Challenge in a Box. The model that we have created and are testing in the Foster Green Eco-District is one that we would love to see expanded not only to other regions of Portland, but also to other cities all across the United States. The Challenge in a Box contains the materials, directions, and models that we have used to greatly expedite the startup process in other places. The faster the Challenge is set up and ready to go, the faster that strong Community Engagement data and effects may be generated.
We hope you’re excited at the prospects of our newly rejuvenated program! We can’t wait to get started!
Leo Qin, Program Leader