Public Comment: Citizens’ Budget Committee Meeting to Discuss Community Grants

The West Linn Alliance is a volunteer organization with a goal to ensure that all people are welcome in our City. The themes we focus on are diversity, equity, and inclusion. We work in three main areas: government, schools, and community outreach. The funds that we requested in our grant application are primarily focused on community outreach. The requested funds cover speaker fees and costs for printing and hospitality at public meetings. All meetings are open to the public and free.

Our community outreach program is centered around educational and learning events. These activities have included partnering with our library to bring speakers from Oregon Humanities to West Linn. We sponsored several of these conversation project presentations last year, and we hope to bring more to West Linn this year.

We were founding members of the Multi-City Equity Summit held last October, and the West Linn Alliance logged over 200 volunteer hours in support of that event. We have also partnered with Respond to Racism in Lake Oswego and Mary’s Woods Social Justice Committee to bring speakers to the West Linn area. The presentation topics focus on equity, racism, and social justice. We had four of these events planned for the past fiscal year, but three of them were suspended due to COVID-19. The one event we did have last July attracted over 250 people. We are currently working to bring the suspended three-part speaker series to West Linn this autumn

The last part of our outreach program is our community discussion project. This project consists of monthly meetings in West Linn where residents can participate in discussions on specific topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The goal is to engage our community members in discussions so they can express their views, hear what their neighbors think, and learn. The last series of conversations we had were on ally-ship and how to make a difference in fighting racism.

We are also active participants in both government and school issues. We have been very active recently in providing public input into the ongoing discussion on City oversight of the WLPD, after the Michael Fesser incident. Additionally, we regularly attend school board meetings to give public comment on school-related equity issues, and we participated in the WLWV School District’s follow up meeting from the Equity Summit.

We are active in West Linn, and we believe we are making a difference and adding value to the community. Thank you for the chance to speak and for considering our grant proposal.

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