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Agenda Item - 2020-11-17 - Number 8.1 - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force Findings 8.1 oyA E 0, COUNCIL REPORT Alt illook E G Subject: Lake Oswego Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force Findings Meeting Date: November 17, Staff Member: Charity 0. Taylor, 2020 Management Analyst Department: City Manager's Office Action Required Advisory Board/Commission Recommendation ❑ Motion ❑ Approval ❑ Public Hearing ❑ Denial ❑ Ordinance ❑ None Forwarded ❑ Resolution ❑X Not Applicable ❑X Information Only Comments: ❑ Council Direction ❑ Consent Agenda Staff Recommendation: N/A Recommended Language for Motion: N/A Project / Issue Relates To: ❑X Council ❑Adopted Master ❑Not Applicable Goals/Priorities Plan(s) 503.635.0215 380 A Avenue PO BOX 369 Lake Oswego, OR 97034 www.lakeosweao.city Page 2 BACKGROUND In May 2019, the Lake Oswego City Council passed Resolution 19-31, establishing a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force. Council charged the Task Force with, "identifying barriers to participation on the City's boards and commissions, making suggestions to reduce those barriers, identifying methods to increase the applicant pool for City job openings, and making suggestions on how the City can increase the diversity of its applicant pool." On June 16, 2020 Council revised the Task Force's charges to the following: • Changes in community engagement practices. Are there ways the City could increase the number and diversity of people who can influence City decisions? What are the barriers to participation? • Ways to make City facilities and services more welcoming to diverse people. This likely includes ways to make City facilities more physically accessible as well. What makes a program or physical space welcoming? Are there skills that our staff need to accomplish this work? • How can we hire, train, retain, and support a diverse workforce? What additional issues and skills need to be addressed to retain diverse staff? How should the City set up an internal staff team to support its DEI efforts? • Ways to build relationships with people and groups who haven't been traditionally involved with City services. At the July 21, 2020 meeting, the DEI Task Force presented its community outreach strategy, which included online surveys and virtual focus groups on five topics based on the aforementioned charges: • Boards and commissions • Community engagement • Youth engagement • Human Resources • Facilities and programs The City website, communications team, civic organizations and print media advertised DEI outreach opportunities. Facilitator Bill de la Cruz and DEI Task Force members led focus group sessions and notetakers from Portland State and 503.635.0215 380 A Avenue PO BOX 369 Lake Oswego, OR 97034 www.lakeoswego.city Page 3 Willamette University captured participant responses, which were coded to ensure anonymity in the reporting process. Virtual focus groups were conducted between August 31-October 19, 2020. Community based focus groups started on August 31 and concluded on September 23, 2020, and virtual focus groups for City employees began on October 13 and concluded on October 19, 2020. As an alternate option to the virtual focus groups, surveys were made available to community members from August 24-September 27, 2020, and to City staff in October. The table below provides an overview of the focus group attendance by topic area and survey count. Topic Area Focus Group Focus Group Focus Group Survey Sessions Sessions Hosted Participant Total Count2 Offered 1 Boards and 4 2 14 26 Commissions Community 4 4 20 47 Engagement Youth 4 2 6 4 Engagement Human 6 5 16 15 Resources Facilities and 2 1 4 69 Programs TOTAL 20 14 59 161 1 One person participated in two focus groups on two different topics. 2 Total participant count for surveys is 133; some participants completed more than one survey. 503.635.0215 380 A Avenue PO BOX 369 Lake Oswego, OR 97034 www.lakeoswego.city Page 4 DISCUSSION Despite outreach efforts for the virtual focus groups and survey, participation was low compared to the overall City population. There were two main external events that the DEI Task Force believes impacted participation. The first is the COVID-19 pandemic. When the DEI Task Force began their work in January 2020, the plan was to use word of mouth, in addition to traditional advertising, to recruit people to participate in the focus groups. The limits to in-person meetings and gatherings greatly prohibited the ability of the DEI Task Force members to connect with people and encourage their participation. In addition, the move to a virtual format was new to some and potentially created a less safe space in which they could participate. Virtual formats limit methods of engagement, and for a topic that is traumatic to some members of the community, they may have chosen to opt out of participating. Some participants noted the virtual format as the reason for being available to provide input, as it worked better with their schedules. The second external event was the wildfires. Virtual focus groups began on August 31. Less than two weeks later on September 11, the City declared a state of emergency and the City of Lake Oswego moved into Level One Get Ready status by Clackamas County. People who signed up to participate in the virtual focus groups cancelled as they could not make the time to participate because they were busy helping others or otherwise preparing to evacuate. Despite the small sample size, the DEI Task Force believes that the data gathered was sufficient for them to conduct a theme analysis. The key themes identified are grouped by topic. Some themes, such as child care and transportation, were mentioned in more than one subject area. Boards and Commissions Topic Area Theme 1: Bias ■ Multiple references to presumptions of discrimination serving as a barrier to participation. ■ Reports of feeling excluded during meetings by past members. ■ Reports of suspected bias during past interviews. 503.635.0215 380 A Avenue PO BOX 369 Lake Oswego, OR 97034 www.lakeoswego.city Page 5 Theme 2: Increase Engagement ■ Increase intentional outreach to community members. ■ Lack of child care can be a limitation. ■ Some engagement practices limit interaction with public officials. ■ No clear expectation of time commitment and necessary qualifications. Participants expressed meeting times and in person meetings as barriers to engagement. 14 people participated in the Boards and Commissions Focus Groups, and 26 people completed the survey. Community Engagement Topic Area Theme 1: Challenges to Engagement ■ There is interest in serving the community, but some community members do not know where to engage or how to engage. ■ Reports of City not being receptive to feedback. Theme 2: Accountability and Relationship Building ■ City solicits feedback, but does not do a good job at reporting the results or next steps back to the community. ■ Town halls and public meetings could be more relational versus transactional experiences. Theme 3: Inclusion and Systemic Change ■ Language, visual, and audio disability access is important, and the City needs to determine how to best integrate this into their outreach practices. ■ The Library offers regular discussion around DEI, but not as many other opportunities exist for the community to discuss this topic. 20 people participated in the Community Engagement Focus Groups, and 47 people completed the survey. 503.635.0215 380 A Avenue PO BOX 369 Lake Oswego, OR 97034 www.lakeoswego.city Page 6 Youth Engagement Topic Area Theme 1: Polarization and Desired Inclusion ■ Some groups youth are involved in are diverse and inclusive toward people of color and some are not. ■ Not many opportunities for those who are in middle school. Theme 2: Culture and Accountability ■ Varying degrees of people's understanding of racial issues. ■ Need to continue to build relationships in the community. 6 people participated in the Youth Engagement Focus Groups, and 4 people completed the survey. Human Resources Topic Area Theme 1: Internal Culture ■ Internally inclusive but a very white population. ■ Culture varies department to department based on leadership. ■ "Nice" culture — you go along to get along. Theme 2: Consistency and Internal Practices ■ Hiring is decentralized with some oversight by HR. ■ No DEI hiring or retention strategy. Theme 3: Employee Engagement ■ Cost of housing and limited transportation choices is a barrier. ■ Employee onboarding is an HR touchpoint and it needs to be an "employee engagement" touchpoint. 16 people participated in the Human Resources Focus Groups, and 15 people completed the survey. 503.635.0215 380 A Avenue PO BOX 369 Lake Oswego, OR 97034 www.lakeoswego.city Page 7 Facilities and Programs Topic Area Theme 1: Access and Safety ■ Mostly felt satisfied with the facilities and programs, specifically Parks and Recreation and Library. ■ Spaces do not feel welcoming to some BIPOC. ■ Participants said materials in languages other than English are a sign of inclusion. Theme 2: Socio-economic and Family Diversity ■ Programming focuses on certain ages, incomes and two-parent households. ■ Programming lacks cultural diversity. 4 people participated in the Facilities and Programs Focus Groups, and 69 people completed the survey. Specific statements from focus group and survey participants are attached to this report to provide Council a better sense of the feedback and themes. Since confidentiality is important, names of the participants have been removed. Participants were given code names, such as D11 or G6, which will appear in some of the statements. Facilitator Bill de la Cruz and DEI Task Force members will be present their preliminary findings at the November 17, 2020 City Council meeting. Based on these themes, the DEI Task Force will begin its work to identify recommendations. It is expected that the Task Force will provide a finalize report to Council on December 15. ATTACHMENTS 1. DEI Task Force Preliminary Findings Supporting Statements 503.635.0215 380 A Avenue PO BOX 369 Lake Oswego, OR 97034 www.lakeoswego.city Boards and Commissions Topic Area Theme 1: Bias Multiple references to presumptions of discrimination serving as a barrier to participation. "I have serious doubts that a group of white, male, privileged interviewers and Mayor would select me, as a woman, for a position on a board." Reports of feeling excluded during meetings by past members. "We had a very active, very talented young woman step down because she felt she wasn't being heard." "Boards and Commissions have dynamics. When I first started serving on the Planning Committee, when you come on as a new member, they...have their habits and get acquainted with the habits." Reports of suspected bias during past interviews. "Being new to the city and knowing there were a lot of applicants whom have been involved in the 'parks realm', I sensed my odds of getting on were low but the panelists were grateful in my interest and encouraged me to continue to apply." "The interview was in the middle of the day. I was an independent contractor at the time so I could accommodate the time. The interview felt really subjective, I felt grilled or 'on trial' by 3 white men." Theme 2: Increase Engagement Increase intentional outreach to community members. "Discuss the skills or interests you are looking for, if applicant pool is not diverse be willing to seek out individuals you think would help the makeup of the board be more diverse." "If the goal is to diversify board and commission, history has shown it doesn't happen on its own, we have to do deliberate outreach." Attachment 1 - Preliminary Findings Supporting Statements 1 Lack of child care can be a limitation. "Also, the lack of a childcare stipend combined with when the committees usually meet are barriers." Some engagement practices limit interaction with public officials. People seeking change in Lake Oswego should attract POC in committees. However, all the bureaucrats tend to produce and reproduce structures that cannot lead to change. D11 thinks it is important to get people not only from different backgrounds on committees but also to have education on this issue. Honest communication can help with that but people in power tend to not want to listen to that sort of communication which is why the city council meetings limit guests to 3-minute speaking time. No clear expectation of time commitment and necessary qualifications. Participants expressed meeting times in person as barriers to engagement. "Was going to apply for a board but quit because I got imposter's syndrome. I had so many questions. What were the qualifications that I would be judged on? I wanted to know what my odds were, so I knew whether to put in the time to apply." "I am a single mom, I work full time in Lake Oswego. I wanted to be on some committees, I sent in an application for the 50+ one. They met at Friday at 10am so those that work 8-5 can't participate." Community Engagement Topic Area Theme 1: Challenges to Engagement There is interest in serving the community, but some community members do not know where or how to engage. "Just arrived and looking for how to engage." "Hold a newcomers fair or in service to learn more how to become more involved in community opportunities." Attachment 1 - Preliminary Findings Supporting Statements 2 "But this is something that I have been interested in, but have not known how to connect, but this event was easier to connect to because I got an email about it that invited me to look at what focus groups I wanted to be in..." "I think that's where I am, trying to gather information to help me understand how to become involved...so I am happy to be meeting people, seeing some faces and learning other people's involvement. Reports of City not being receptive to feedback. "While I commend LO for following process, I've found many arrogant to deal with and frustrated to have to listen to citizens with an issue to note." "Generally, my experience with community engagement in speaking at many city council meetings and one planning commission meeting has not been super positive. While I'm grateful for the chance to speak, and at times have felt heard, I generally have not felt like my testimony has been welcomed." Theme 2: Accountability and Relationship Building City solicits feedback, but does not do a good job at reporting the results or next steps back to the community. "There needs to be follow through and feedback when input is given to the city. We provide comments and never hear back on our thoughts and ideas. It's like there's a black hole and honestly it makes stepping up with ideas harder because the effort seemingly isn't wanted. These surveys and focus groups are a great first step." Town halls and public meetings could be more relational versus transactional experiences. "City staff and elected officials could foster trusting relationships by meeting people where they congregate instead of assuming everyone is comfortable applying for a board or even attending a city council meeting." "I'd love it if the city held occasional open houses - come talk with us, come talk with the City leaders. " Attachment 1 - Preliminary Findings Supporting Statements 3 Theme 3: Inclusion and Systemic Change Language, visual, and audio disability access is important, and the City needs to determine how to best integrate this into their outreach practices. "I would encourage putting designated funds toward robust community engagement support mechanisms like distributing technology and Wi-Fi hotspots to participants you're looking to engage, offsetting cost of transportation and childcare to encourage attendee participation, creating multi-language flyers and translating website and communication materials..." The Library offers regular discussion around DEI, but not as many other opportunities exist for the community to discuss this topic. "I am an active community member, who has been involved with the school district (DEI & fundraising efforts), partnered with the library for Multicultural Children's Book Day, parks & rec youth programs..." Youth Engagement Topic Area Theme 1: Polarization and Desired Inclusion Some groups youth are involved in are diverse and inclusive toward people of color and some are not. "My experience has been a mixed situation. I interact with a lot of people that show great openness and inclusiveness toward people of color. When I go to work, when I go to school...people treat people with respect. I can call Lake Oswego my hometown. There's also situations where people don't show respect to people of color." Not many opportunities for those who are in middle school. "On the city level, there aren't many opportunities younger than high school. There are opportunities for middle school students in sports, at churches, but not really offered by the city. In G6's experience, middle school is when students have the time to engage with leadership opportunities. When kids get to high school they are so busy and have so many things going on, it's almost like starting opportunities at high school is too late." Attachment 1 - Preliminary Findings Supporting Statements 4 Theme 2: Culture and Accountability Varying degrees of people's understanding of racial issues. "We've had many opportunities to teach people—unfortunately I feel there's a disproportionate burden on people of color to educate people vs. white people taking upon ourselves. I'd like to see more community-led discussions." Need to continue to build relationships in the community. "There are microaggressions. People treat people of color different based on class. We're focusing on the negative side, as an optimistic person I focus on the positive. If we can amplify their voice in the community, we can make this community better. Is there DEI in this community? Definitely yes. Could we do more work? Yes, to make the city better." Human Resources Topic Area Theme 1: Internal Culture Internally inclusive but a very white population. "I have had good experiences when working with other departments over the years. It would be interesting to see what people think about welcoming and inclusiveness when people come in now. I wouldn't be here this long if I didn't enjoy working for the city." Culture varies department to department based on leadership. "I think it depends on which manager you work for in which department. I know that we tend to have things kind of forwarded to us from the City Manager directly or repeated verbatim with a "this is what happened at the city council meeting" or whatever it might be, but I know that not all departments have that, especially not for all staff. Like they might do that with their supervisors or with a lead group, but not with all their employees in that department. So, I think it depends." "Nice" culture — you go along to get along. "We are definitely in the "there is a conflict, but we are just going to move on", kind of brush it under the rug and move on." Attachment 1 - Preliminary Findings Supporting Statements 5 Theme 2: Consistency and Internal Practices Hiring is decentralized with some oversight by HR. "There's not a rubric on how we do it, or directions. HR is a consultant in it, basically, and they coordinate it, but they don't advise on how different points of the hiring, and I think that is one of our biggest challenges. People have been doing the hiring for 20 years, and our outcomes are not changing." No DEI hiring or retention strategy. "On more of the DEI side of things I think we haven't made it a priority and that is very evident across the board. At all levels from communication to website all the way to hiring." Theme 3: Employee Engagement Cost of housing and limited transportation choices is a barrier. "There's a lot of pushback whenever there are talks of trying to expand TriMet routes within the city, and the city itself is not a place that most people can afford to live in, myself included." Employee onboarding is an HR touchpoint and it needs to be an "employee engagement" touchpoint. "I know that I see the same job listings all the time, so I think it would be really great to look at the first week of the onboarding process. Now, you sit in a conference room with one other person, and review these documents. You don't really get a sense of the values, or goals really, or mission / value statements. This is your insurance binder, basically. I think that is an opportunity lost...l think that it would be really great to expand that a bit more than just, "here are your w-4s", "sign them", and use that as an engagement point." Facilities and Programs Topic Area Theme 1: Access and Safety Mostly felt satisfied with the facilities and programs, specifically Parks and Recreation and the Library. Attachment 1 - Preliminary Findings Supporting Statements 6 "We constantly make use of our parks, and library. Couldn't be happier with them." "It was great. The library and the librarians are fantastic. We've been to all the parks with play structures, and they are well maintained, and clean." Spaces do not feel welcoming to some BIPOC. "My minority friends feel unwelcome in Lake Oswego." "I have done music in the park. I would not do fitness classes as the individuals in the catalog pictures make me feel that I will be the only person of color in the class. And I don't know if any other people of color that participate in those classes." Participants said materials in languages other than English are a sign of inclusion. "Accessible for all: ADA accessible buildings, parks (does Lake Oswego have any fully accessible playgrounds?), when I see event listings I automatically look to see if interpreting services are offered if needed (ADA, specifically ASL, American Sign Language) since that is federally mandated. But also access to other languages is something I notice." Theme 2: Socio-economic and Family Diversity Programming focuses on certain ages, incomes and two-parent households. "There are great programs available. I feel that sometimes they are not accessible to working families." Programming lacks cultural diversity. "Although our core events are well run (art festival, car and boat show, lake run, etc.), they target a very specific demographic much like the upper class, white demographic who lives here already. Maybe we should have a rotating cultural event each year? Greek festival, Italian festival, Indian festival, southern festival...etc." "If there are really great programs, I'm an average resident I don't know if things are going around. Just communication of getting things out. Communicating it in a way were more people can know what is going on. One post was celebrating Attachment 1 - Preliminary Findings Supporting Statements 7 Hispanic heritage month. But How? Are there events? Are we doing things to embrace other cultures. We say we are celebrating but how?" Attachment 1 - Preliminary Findings Supporting Statements 8