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Historic Community Engagement Partnership Unites Local Governments for Equitable Pandemic Recovery

Washington County and the cities of Beaverton and Hillsboro are collaborating to center racial equity in developing and implementing a community engagement strategy to mitigate inequities created and exacerbated by the pandemic.
News article
Release date: 03/24/2022
Sponsored by: County Administrative Office

Centering racial equity in ongoing pandemic recovery efforts, Washington County and the cities of Hillsboro and Beaverton are implementing a historic, shared approach to community engagement.

The three local governments formally agreed on March 15, 2022, to work in partnership to:

  • Advance culturally responsive engagement with community-based organizations
  • Identify community engagement policies and best practices for consistency across governments
  • Ground pandemic recovery strategy in the needs of marginalized communities

This groundbreaking project will strengthen government-community relationships, ensure replicable methods that allow for long-term analyses, and reinforce decision-making processes with lasting impacts beyond pandemic recovery.

Three Local Governments, One Approach

To kick off the collaboration, the three governments are hiring a shared community engagement consultant (or consultant team) to co-design the engagement strategy with culturally specific community organizations and directly fund their capacity-building efforts.

The collaborative has an active Request for Proposals (RFP).

“This partnership unifies us around common priorities to listen and respond to our community members, particularly those who are underrepresented and marginalized,” said Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway. “As our communities grow bigger, we grow together and strengthen each other, and we know from our experiences during the pandemic that we are all better when we work together.”

“The City of Beaverton commits to viewing our work through an equity lens and making adjustments where needed,” said Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty. “This collaboration will enable us to multiply our efforts across the region to better hear from and serve our communities.”

“Washington County’s partnerships with community-based organizations set the foundation to establish our original COVID-19 Racial Equity workgroup in 2020,” said Washington County Board Chair Kathryn Harrington. “We have re-designed our COVID-19 response, and we are proud to expand its breadth and depth, along with our city partners, for equitable COVID-19 recovery.”

American Rescue Plan Act Funds

Washington County and the cities of Beaverton and Hillsboro are investing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds in this collaborative work.

The Federal government allocated ARPA funds to ensure local governments can respond to the public health needs and economic impacts of the pandemic, with special attention to addressing disproportionate impacts to marginalized populations.

For more information about how each local government is using American Rescue Plan Act funds, visit their dedicated webpages:

City of Beaverton: Federal American Rescue Plan Act Fund

City of Hillsboro: American Rescue Plan | City of Hillsboro, OR

Washington County: American Rescue Plan: Investing in Washington County

Media Contacts:

Patrick Preston, City of Hillsboro – 503-681-6218; [email protected]  
Dianna Ballash, City of Beaverton – 503-213-0789; [email protected]
Silvia Pereida, Washington County – 503-307-0932; [email protected]