Engage Citizens, Break New Ground, and Succeed – the theme of IAP2 USA Awards
(Portland, OR, Sept. 10, 2015) – Two very public U.S. organizations have been honored for their dedication to include “ordinary” people throughout their processes. The International Association for Public Participation, USA (IAP2 USA) presented its annual Core Values Awards to Oregon Metro and the St. Vrain Valley School District of Longmont, Colorado at the IAP2 North American Conference in Portland, Oregon.
The IAP2 Core Values Awards celebrate work that exemplifies the key principles of Public Participation (P2). These principles (the Core Values) include the belief that people affected by a process have a right to be consulted on the process and to know how their input influenced that process.
The “Powell-Division Transportation and Development Project”, a multi-level partnership led by Oregon Metro, was named Project of the Year, for recognizing the importance of engaging the citizens in this highly culturally-diverse area. The transportation project itself aims to solve congestion issues along a major route linking Portland and Gresham, the largest and fourth-largest cities in Oregon, respectively.
Oregon Metro faced public skepticism and a sense among the people of being disconnected, and P2 consultants used a variety of methods to overcome that. Work groups focused on specific concerns, there were face-to-face public meetings, online tools, and multilingual single-question surveys at bus stops; languages used included Spanish, Tongan, Bhutanese, Vietnamese and Russian.
“Because of these challenges, this vital project could have died on the vine or caused huge distrust and public backlash if it had been handled with a top-down approach,” says David Hovde, President of IAP2 USA. “Instead, the planners and practitioners followed the IAP2 Core Values to ensure that people were involved, had an impact and ultimately benefited from the service.”
The St. Vrain Valley Public School District of Longmont, Colorado, was named Organization of the Year for its initiative to have “non-professionals” in the education field – parents and students – join with teachers and administrators to cast the vision and set the course for the school district.
“Public participation is so critically important,” says Dr. Don Haddad, District Superintendent. “In St. Vrain, it’s one of the most important things we do and I would attribute it to one of the reasons we have enjoyed so much success.”
Oregon Metro and St. Vrain Valley Schools will now compete against Projects and Organizations of the Year from other IAP2 Affiliates around the world for top honors from the worldwide IAP2 Federation. Those awards will be announced at the IAP2 Australasian Conference in Perth, Australia, in October.
Video presentations on these winning projects can be seen online.
Also honored at the IAP2 Core Values Awards were the Canadian winners:
Project of the Year and the Award for Indigenous Engagement – to Beringia Community Planning and the Pigangikum Health Authority for a project to deal with mental health issues on the Pigangikum First Nation in northwestern Ontario.
Organization of the Year – to the City of Victoria, British Columbia, for “Foundations for Success”, an initiative to enhance the culture of public participation in civic affairs.
Award for P2 for the Greater Good – to “Our Hawkwood” and Forum Stakeholder Relations for a community-developed plan to improve the quality of life in the Hawkwood neighborhood of Calgary, Alberta.
Award for Enhancing the Practice (of P2) through Creativity, Contribution and Innovation in the Field – to the City of Calgary, Alberta, for “Action Plan 2015-2018”, a project to increase citizen involvement in civic business.
For more information, visit the IAP2 USA Core Values Awards page.