The final and most critical stage of our Regional Equity Atlas Project is taking action on the research. Our Equity Action Agenda is a blueprint for action that responds to the research and direction from the community. Put simply, the Agenda's overall goal is to ensure opportunity for all. It establishes policy priorities that aim to address systemic causes of inequities in access to essential community resources and opportunities for prosperity and good health.
Our region is known for smart, innovative urban planning, leadership in the sustainability movement, and exceptional public participation in civic life. We believe that if we tap into these talents and work together, in a way that includes ALL communities, we can build a better, healthier, greener future for everyone.
The Equity Atlas Agenda reflects a common vision
The Agenda unites the work of numerous community organizations under a common vision. In most cases, CLF's partner organizations lead the work to advance Agenda policy priorities. In some cases, CLF staff is leading. More information about the Agenda's lead partners, which initiatives they are leading, and more detail on how initiatives are being carried out will be available soon.
To achieve the Agenda's goal of securing opportunity for all, we must pay special attention to and work with the people in our communities who are being left behind, in particular, low-income families and communities of color. We must tear down the walls that block opportunity and health so that all residents in our region can contribute to and participate in creating a sustainable future.
The agenda can be broken down into three different policy areas:
Initiative 1: Secure ongoing local, regional, and state revenue to develop and preserve affordable homes to meet regional needs.
- Support the Oregon Housing Alliance legislative agenda aimed at raising $100 million in new funding for housing.
- Advocate for increasing the portion of urban renewal district funding for affordable housing.
Initiative 2: Promote strategies for mixed-income, transit accessible, “20-minute communities” where residents are nearby nature, able to travel by foot or bike to work, shopping, school, parks and urban agriculture, and where they feel a sense of community.
- Secure full funding for Metro's Regional Revolving Loan Fund and work to ensure that loan recipients plan to build green, mixed-use, mixed income projects that are linked with parks and natural areas within walking distance of residents.
- Promote incentives and policy changes that increase the linkage between affordable housing and transit, bike and pedestrian investments through relevant regional transportation programs.
- Support incentives for employer-assisted housing that aims to support workers' ability to live close to their workplaces, prioritizing low-wage workers.
- Promote policy changes that will increase efficient use of land, lower construction costs, make housing more affordable, and free up land for permanent greenspace and habitat protection, and other public uses.
- Support mandatory and incentive zoning strategies to increase affordable housing supply and disperse affordable units throughout communities.
- Support strategies that create and ensure home ownership opportunities in perpetuity.
- Link investments in affordable housing with investments in public greenspace, including projects that convert brownfields to greenspaces with adjacent affordable housing
- Promote public policy that increases opportunities for urban agriculture (home, school, community gardens).
- Increase food outlets selling healthy food and decrease food outlets selling unhealthy food.
Initiative 3: Develop and promote policies to implement a regional system of parks and natural areas in low-income, park deficient neighborhoods that provide safe places for children to play, structured activities for youth and social gathering spaces for families.
- Advocate for a portion of all local open spaces bond measures to be dedicated to increasing the percentage of the population living within 1/4 mile walking distance of a park or natural area.
- Advocate for capacity-building grants targeted to low-income neighborhoods, identified in the Equity Atlas as park or natural area deficient, in order to green under-natured or park deficient areas via Metro’s Nature in the Neighborhood Capital Grants Program or other funding sources.
Initiative 4: Improve systems for addressing substandard housing through improved education, dispute resolution, housing code development and housing code enforcement.
Initiative 5: Redevelop brownfields and other contaminated sites, prioritizing projects in the region’s most vulnerable and neglected neighborhoods and fostering community-based decision making on future uses for redeveloped sites.
Initiative 6: Promote equitable regional and state greenhouse gas emissions reduction programs to advance climate justice.
Initiative 7: Promote the redesign of school facilities to provide healthy learning environments for students and that serve as cultural, recreation, and education centers for surrounding communities, while also supporting healthy natural systems.
Initiative 1: Expand financial education, asset building, and small business opportunity programs in low-income communities and communities of color.
- Endorse creation of additional categories of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) and new funding at the state level as a new source of funds for IDAs.
- Support the expansion of asset-building opportunities for renters, focusing on expanding IDA asset categories for long-term equity building to include more than just homeownership.
- Support increased investment by the state in microenterprise loans and programs through existing Community Development Financial Institutions.
Initiative 2: Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit in Oregon and return millions of dollars to the poorest working families with children to help pay for basic necessities.
Initiative 3: Improve oversight and consumer protections for consumer loan borrowers and create additional tools to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
Initiative 4: Incubate and promote community-owned, green, affordable, mixed-use development projects that provide ownership and employment opportunities to low-income people.
Initiative 5: Increase ride sharing programs, ensuring their accessibility by populations most in need.
Initiative 6: Promote culturally competent curriculum, programs and standards in schools that prepare youth to create a thriving, just, and sustainable world.
- Support a culturally-relevant curriculum that prepares students to succeed in the context of 21st century economic, social, political cultural, environmental realities.
- Support initiatives to ensure culturally-relevant teacher training to promote cultural proficiency in education.
- Support improved and stricter evaluation and district standards on cultural proficiency.
Initiative 7: Develop and support funding for good green living-wage jobs. These jobs should provide health benefits, career pathway opportunities and be accessible to historically disadvantaged groups.
- Create a regional work force development plan for the maintenance of green infrastructure.
- Pass a regional greenspaces levy to fund a Regional Conservation Corp to provide natural area stewardship and green jobs.
- Identify job training and employment opportunities emerging from public investment, and ensure linkage is made to appropriate target populations. Examples of past opportunities include the 2006 Natural Areas Bond Measure; Grey to Green (Portland Bureau of Environmental Services); Healthy Streams Plan (Clean Water Services); and other green infrastructure investments by surface water management agencies and local parks departments and districts.
Initiative 1: Promote the use of health equity criteria to evaluate projects, policies, and investments, and monitor their implementation.
- Integrate equity criteria into Metro's Making the Greatest Place process for both land use and transportation, while concurrently promoting integration of these criteria into comprehensive plan updates which are currently underway in a dozen jurisdictions across the region.
- Support targeted projects that advance equity for inclusion in the state Regional Transportation Plan. Promote projects that prioritize health, equity, climate change, and transportation choice for funding in Metro's Regional Transportation Plan.
- Make congestion pricing work for working families by crafting and promoting a plan that ensures working people benefit most and low-income people are not negatively impacted.
- Support efforts to increase minority contracting in publicly subsidized development projects, including linking job training and microcredit lending opportunities wherever possible. Ensure businesses provide area standard wages with benefits.
- Advance the health equity recommendations of the Columbia River Crossing Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and promote the use of HIAs in other projects.
- Develop and implement a third-party certification program for the equitable design, construction, and investment associated with real estate development.
Initiative 2: Promote the use of data and methodologies recommended by culturally specific communities to ensure that public services and resources match the actual needs of each group.