The project idea might start with a nonprofit association leader, a business leader, or a local official. However the idea originates, the designation follows a consistent process:
1. A community in Oregon defines a problem they want to solve.
A project champion such as a state senator, city council member, program director, or community leader recommends a potential project to Oregon Solutions via email, phone, or in a meeting with staff. We ask the project proposer to complete a pre-assessment form. If deemed a good candidate, Oregon Solutions evaluates the project’s suitability based on its potential to address the state’s sustainability community objectives and the need to engage a public, private civic team as well as its prospect for success. The assessment takes two months, involves stakeholder interviews, and considers the effect on various parties. Oregon Solutions typically covers the assessment cost, but in special circumstances may request a portion be covered by a project sponsor.
2. The governor designates an impartial convener to bring people together.
If after assessment the proposed project succeeds in meeting Oregon Solutions criteria, it heads to the governor’s desk for designation. If the governor approves the project, a formal letter of designation is written that outlines the support of the governor’s office and that of state agencies. The governor then appoints a convener to serve as a neutral chair of the project team. In turn, Oregon Solutions selects a staff member, often the person responsible for the assessment, to manage the project.
3. The convener forms a multi-disciplinary team.
The convener and staff gather interested and affected parties to the table.
4. The team collaborates to develop an integrated solution.
Negotiations and problem solving occur through facilitated meetings. Discussions continue until consensus is reached. Collaboration typically occurs over six to eight months with meetings every three to four weeks. Subcommittees may meet in addition to this schedule.
5. Participants sign a Declaration of Cooperation.
The Declaration of Cooperation acts as the blueprint for action. This presiding document identifies the specific contributions, roles and responsibilities of each party moving forward. To celebrate the commitments made, we host an event and invite the press.
6. Implementation begins.
With agreements made and participants playing specific parts, Oregon Solutions steps back and asks the community to step forward. Projects vary. Some are tangible, like a new bike path, whereas others are ongoing such as an agreement to invest in renewable energy technology over time. The community and project team commit to following through. Oregon Solutions hosts a “re-convening” meeting after six months to check in on progress and report back to the governor.