Salem Planners Receive State Engagement Award

Posted on June 28, 2022

Salem, Ore. – Salem planners were honored Monday night for the almost four years of community engagement work involved in the Our Salem Comprehensive Plan update project. The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development recognized Our Salem with a 2022 Achievement in Community Engagement (ACE) Award during the June 27 Salem City Council meeting.

“What impressed our committee members most about the Our Salem community engagement project was really the staff’s willingness to pivot,” said Leah Rausch, Chair of the Oregon Community Involvement Advisory Committee, which judges and presents the annual awards. “Early in the process, they saw some deficiencies in their outreach design and took action to address them.”

Our Salem coordinators pursued more inclusive engagement, reaching beyond typical land use advocacy groups to share the project with:

  • people of color,
  • youth,
  • seniors,
  • people with disabilities,
  • cultural groups,
  • low-income residents, and
  • others.

The ACE Award recognizes organizations and individuals who have actively promoted and implemented the values of Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goal 1 through an outstanding community engagement strategy.

All projects recognized with an ACE Award have successful elements in common. Each project:

  • Demonstrates a well-thought-out approach,
  • Makes innovative use of resources,
  • Builds partnerships across and throughout the community,
  • Intentionally engages historically marginalized and underserved communities.

Community Development Director Norman Wright recognized three individuals who were pivotal to the project, Lisa Anderson-Ogilvie, Assistant Director of Community Development; Eunice Kim, Our Salem Project Manager; and Austin Ross, planner.

“This is a testament to their tireless effort to make sure that they reach every person they can in the City of Salem and the best possible symbol and representation of a vision that they created together with the entire community,” Wright said.

Innovation was even more crucial to the process when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged early in the process.

This isn’t the first time the City of Salem has received the ACE award. They were honored in 2018 for the NESCA and Lansing neighborhood plans.

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