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Advocacy and Coalition Building: Fighting Transit Opposition by Julie Gustafson

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Coalition building and community outreach are extremely important factors. Each influences the decision-making process of government officials. How can you broaden coalitions and increase community engagement? Explore several creative tactics and strategies that helped revitalize entire neighborhoods through educating and engaging a broad spectrum of community stakeholders. Hear three approaches that led to long-lasting coalitions and a more in-depth level of community engagement -- programs that went beyond the usual strategies of sponsoring neighborhood events to solicit feedback. Learn about citizen advocacy classes, regional-scale collaborations, neighborhood initiatives and more.

Moderator: William Schroeer, Executive Director, East Metro Strong, Northfield, Minnesota
Julie Gustafson, Community Relations Program Manager, Portland Streetcar, Inc., Portland, Oregon
Art Guzzetti, Vice President, Policy, American Public Transportation Association, Washington, DC
Veronica Hahni, Executive Director, Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative, Los Angeles, California
Megan Channell, AICP, Principal Planner, San Mateo County Transit District, San Carlos, California

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Advocacy and Coalition Building: Fighting Transit Opposition by Julie Gustafson

  1. 1. Advocacy and Coalition Building: Portland Traffic and Transportation Class: Increasing awareness and understanding in local advocates through education
  2. 2. Why Train the “Enemy”? !  Late 1980s to Early 1990s – Tense relations between City and community advocates !  A lack of effective communication existed between neighborhood advocates, experts in their streets and issues, and the trained professionals at the City. !  Desire from leadership to introduce advocates to the bureaus and how they work as well introduce the advocates to the city.
  3. 3. Setting the Tone !  University setting was key to promote civil discussion rather than contentious arguments. !  Top official of agency or department presents for 1 hour including questions. !  No substitutions allowed !  Several current presenters are former students of the class.
  4. 4. Inspired by the Past Four hour site visit one Saturday during the term. Visiting projects completed throughout Portland’s history.
  5. 5. Developing the Future !  Participants work throughout class on their particular issue to create a 3 minute presentation. !  Assignments during the term include creating a map, reaching out to public agencies involved and communicating why the solution won’t happen.
  6. 6. From Class Project to Reality !  4 lane road with no traffic calming elements. !  Frequent location for speeding violations. !  Used as bypass road for traffic to get through a residential neighborhood. !  Members of Neighborhood Association enrolled in class 5 times to perfect plan. !  Project implemented with new bio-swales, median plantings and clearly defined lanes
  7. 7. From Class Project to Reality !  Busy street adjacent to local high school and community park. !  Frequently used crossing for neighborhood students. !  4 lanes, 2 in each direction, no bulb outs, no marked crossings. !  Following fatality of pedestrian, 5 neighborhood advocates joined class to develop plan for intersection. !  Plan developed in class and then presented to City Council where it was approved and implemented.
  8. 8. Thank You Julie Gustafson Community Relations Manager, Portland Streetcar, Inc. Co-Coordinator of Portland Traffic & Transportation Class Julie.Gustafson@portlandstreetcar.org

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