Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District believes all people deserve improved quality of life through clean water, healthy soil, and diverse habitats. We seek to welcome, engage, and better serve communities of color and other historically marginalized groups in all facets of our organization, activities, and programs. By working proactively and deliberately to be equitable and inclusive, we will be more successful in our work. Our goal is to become fully equitable and inclusive by holding ourselves accountable, utilizing an equity lens, addressing disparities, and sharing our experiences in this pursuit.

Adopted Racial Equity Statement:

Vision – The West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District is a culturally inclusive organization that welcomes and engages people of color in all facets of our organization, activities and programs. The Board and staff of the District, the customers we serve, the contractors we hire and the people who benefit from our work resemble the racial diversity found within our service territory. The District reaches out to communities of color to determine their conservation priorities for the purpose of enhancing livability through healthy soil, clean water and diverse
habitats. We willingly share with others our experiences in pursuing racial equity.

Need – Our District has taken the initiative to review the history of racial disparity in Oregon, and how this history persists in the form of unconscious biases and cultural barriers that contribute to disparities in how we work, whom we work with and whom we serve. We recognize that gaining the perspectives of, and working with, communities of color will increase our organization’s overall strength. By working proactively and deliberately to be equitable and inclusive, we will be more successful in our work.

Accountability – We will hold ourselves accountable to racial equity by addressing disparities when found, and by developing, implementing, tracking and reporting on Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound racial equity goals. Priorities include fully understanding the demographics of the communities we serve, developing new and lasting partnerships with communities of color and organizations that represent them, and recruitment and retention of persons of color on our Board, staff and supporting committees.

Background

In 2014 and 2015, WMSWCD staff completed several trainings on equity and diversity. While the District is proud of the diverse partners and landowners we’ve worked with, we have decided to increase our emphasis on serving our constituents equitably and are exploring strategies to add diversity to the staff and board of directors.

Staff and board members completed a Racial Equity Assessment through a program organized by the Intertwine. By initially focusing on racial equity, we can address Portland’s most glaring inequities while developing policies and practices that result in more accessible programs and services for all. Currently the District is working on a Racial Equity Policy, staff and board cultural competency training and demographic data collection and analysis.

Why is this effort important?

1. Environmental health impacts all and engaging and welcoming all stakeholders is crucial to ensuring success in the District’s mission.
2. District programs may not engage many racially diverse audiences and we lack the demographic information to track whether we are reaching all constituents.
3. The current make up of our board and staff is not as diverse as it could be.
4. Having diverse perspectives in organizational decision-making would increase our District’s overall strength and relevance.
5. The District will be better able to identify and address the priorities of underserved communities of color if it works directly with them to ensure messages and programs are meaningful and accessible.

Our Racial Equity Policy will include the following:

1. A vision statement that highlights the aim to welcome, engage and provide access to people of color in all facets of our organization.
2. District Non-Discrimination Statement (see below)
3. Intended policy outcomes
4. A plan for resource allocation
5. The role partnerships will play in addressing equity
6. Concrete next steps and accountability mechanisms
7. Action items in staff member work plans that address equity through District programming

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District does not discriminate based on any class or identity including age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and veteran status. The District is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. The District makes reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and special needs to provide access to district events, materials and services. If you have requests for accommodations or complaints about discrimination, harassment, inequitable treatment and being denied access to district events, materials and services, or for any questions at all, please contact us at our email info@wmswcd.org or call 503.238.4775.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee

The Committee typically meets bi-monthly from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm in the District conference room at 2701 NW Vaughn Street, Suite 450, Portland.  A special series of additional bi-monthly meetings related to the Long Range Business Plan have been added to the meeting schedule. Members of the public are invited to attend. Meeting agendas are posted below.

Meetings

11/27/19: Agenda & Attachments

10/23/19: Agenda & Attachments

9/25/19: Agenda & Attachments

8/14/19: Agenda & Attachments

7/17/19: Agenda & Attachments

5/14/19: Agenda & Attachments

3/22/19: Agenda, Attachments

1/25/19: Agenda

11/30/18: Agenda, Attachments