Outreach at 2013 Medford Multicultural Fair
LCPP researchers engaged over 100 local Latinos in conversation about the issues facing their community during “participation by play” sessions at the fall 2013 Medford Multicultural Fair. Professor Gerardo Sandoval and Mr. James Rojas, founder of Place It and the Latino Urban Forum, encouraged participants to interact with a model of central Medford and share their ideas of how to improve Medford.
Participants emphasized that Medford Latinos want more recreational activities and family-friendly events in public parks, improved biking infrastructure, and an inclusive community that promotes equal treatment and opportunity. For many Latinos LCPP spoke with, this was their first opportunity to help define city planning priorities.
Outreach via “Tienditas” Latino Small Businesses
As part of a UO Sustainable Cities Year Course, LCPP researchers and UO students conducted outreach via two Latino small businesses “tienditas” in Medford during spring 2014. Students set up two interactive models of central Medford in front of local Latino businesses throughout Memorial Day weekend. LCPP researchers and students used the “participation by play” method to engage 300 Medford Latinos in conversation about the issues facing the Medford Latino community and on their ideas for improving conditions for Latinos.
Three key themes emerged from the project:
- Medford lacks enough public infrastructure to provide activities for young Latinos –including public parks in which Latinos feel welcome, sporting facilities for accessible by young Latinos (such as skate parks and football fields) and enough social activities/venues for adolescent Latinos.
- Local Latinos feel that there isn’t a central public place, such as a plaza, in which the Medford Latino community feels safe and welcome to celebrate Latino culture (such as through community gatherings or holiday celebrations).
- Medford Latinos feel that they are not well represented in formal government positions and decision making institutions.
At a public event organized by the University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program in spring 2014, project findings were presented to City of Medford Commissioners, Mayor, and Chief of Police along with many other of Medford’s civic leaders. LCPP researchers and University of Oregon students engaged these attendees and other members of the Medford community in conversation about the issues facing the local Latino community. Following this event, there has been increasing momentum toward a continuing collaboration between the City of Medford, LCPP researchers and community members aimed at better representing Latinos in defining city planning and policy priorities.
Medford Multicultural Fair, September 2014
At the 2014 Medford Multicultural Fair, Dr. Sandoval and University of Oregon graduate students shared the findings from the Medford “tienditas” outreach project conducted in the Spring of 2014. Sharing project findings directly with community members is a feedback mechanism built into the LCPP project that aims to raise community consciousness around common issues facing local Latinos and empower community members to get involved in planning and public policy decision making. The feedback sessions also served as a way to gain further insight and legitimize the issues and themes uncovered by the initial project findings directly from the Latino Medford community.
Without a knowledge sharing mechanism that ties the information collected back to the Latino community, the information gathered would only sit on selves as reports that are not acted upon. LCPP brings the local knowledge and issues identified back to Latino communities where those problems and community needs can be acted upon by stakeholders to create community change.
Eugene/Springfield – Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Workshops, Winter-Spring 2015
Following the 2009-2011 outreach project in Eugene/Springfield, LCPP and the City of Eugene are planning to conduct a series of workshops with the local Latino community to identify needs and policy priorities to make Eugene’s parks and open spaces more welcoming for low-income immigrant Latinos. The participatory workshops will help inform an update of the City of Eugene Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Comprehensive Plan.
Medford, OR – Further Outreach by partnering with Latino Roots in the City of Medford, Winter-Spring 2015
LCPP is partnering with the Latino Roots Project to bring the historical exhibit to Medford. The Latino Roots Panels will be in display at various civic institutions throughout the City of Medford to help highlight Latino heritage and history in Oregon. The syncing of both projects (LCPP) and Latino Roots, will create synergies for historical representation and empowerment in Oregon communities.
TBA, OR – New Outreach Project through Sustainable Cities Initiative, Spring 2015
Each year LCPP, and Dr. Sandoval’s Public Participation in Diverse Communities course at the University of Oregon, conduct an LCPP outreach project in collaboration with the University’s Sustainable City Year program (SCY). SCY is a University of Oregon program that connects students with cities in Oregon to provide affordable planning and policy consultancy while giving the students invaluable “real-world” experience. In 2014, over 40 University of Oregon courses and hundreds of students worked with the City of Medford, including Dr. Sandoval’s Public Participation Course in Diverse Communities. Dr. Sandoval and University of Oregon students will conduct an LCPP outreach project through the SCY collaboration in 2015. The location for this year’s project has not been announced.