Office of Equity & Community Engagement
The events and conversations over the past few years have made it clear that we need to step up our efforts to make Eugene a more just, safe, and equitable place to work and live. Equity must be embedded in everything we do. Community engagement is an essential function and is considered in every project from pre-planning to delivery and evaluations. While the organization has always incorporated engagement into efforts to support the community, we have an opportunity to be even more proactive and coordinated.
Over the past few years, teams from all over the organization have said yes to the challenge of making our programs, services, and spaces more welcoming and inclusive:
- Almost every City of Eugene employee has attended the Belonging series and other diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training.
- We formed the Strategic Equity Advisors group to collaborate with Execs on equity issues.
- Equity committees have been created in multiple departments and divisions to assist with education and to promote changes to their work and how they serve the community.
- We have seen promising ideas, approaches, and tools being used and shared among staff.
- We have had important and difficult conversations in multiple formats.
- We have identified 64 equity initiatives and related policies across the organization and have more work in development to better support our employees and our community.
A lot has been done and we thank everyone who has been involved in these efforts. Now, it is time for us to take a next step.
While we recognize all that has been implemented, we also acknowledge that the decentralized nature of that work creates redundancy, some approaches may be conflicting with each other, or they may not align with organizational priorities. The absence of an equity office makes it difficult for the community to know what we are doing and for staff to find the resources they need. Thus, we are introducing the Office of Equity & Community Engagement. The new office will be located in the City Manager’s Office and will absorb the programs and staff currently in the office of Human Rights & Neighborhood Involvement (HRNI).
This change will help to support and strengthen the existing HRNI programs including the Human Rights Program, Neighborhood Association Program, and Language Access Program, which will continue on within this new structure.
The new Office of Equity & Community Engagement will serve as a hub for staff to share information on the work being done, to access resources and best practices, to cooperate on equity challenges, to promote community education, and foster staff development. Equity & Community Engagement staff will coordinate with staff appointed by each department and/or division to create a network of equity champions across the entire organization.
In the upcoming weeks, Execs and Division Managers will determine who will represent their units in this new equity network. For some units, a dedicated staff may be appointed and/or hired to lead their equity initiatives. Other units may prefer to enlist an existing committee or work group for that purpose. Independent of the chosen format, the entire organization will be able to cooperate and benefit from this new structure. We describe this as centralized coordination with decentralized action. Our goal is to get to a place in which embedding equity becomes so common, that specific staff and programs are no longer needed. When we get there, all COE staff will consider equity in everything they do.
As we build a new Equity & Community Engagement website and team, we will keep reaching to our community partners and will update this page as more information and resources become available.
Office of Equity & Community Engagement
Fabio Andrade – Manager
Lorna Flormoe – Equity & Access Planner
Robert Brack – Community & Neighborhood Liaison AIC
Cindy Koehler – Sr. Program Coordinator
Jarret Anderson – Equity Analyst AIC
Vacant – Multicultural Liaison (recruitment underway)
Vacant – Human Rights & Equity Analyst (recruitment underway)