A Local Collaborative Approach
After coming in with the highest ranked proposal, Vision Action Network (VAN) was recommended by the review committee to be awarded the contract for the Downtown Equity Strategy. VAN is a nonprofit convener and facilitator in Washington County with the mission of bringing all sectors together to collaborate on complex challenges. Since their foundation, they have worked to gather people to address critical issues like housing and homelessness, sustainability, aging, behavioral health, education, and racial equity. For the Downtown Equity Strategy, they will serve as prime convener on a multi-disciplinary project team, which includes four culturally-specific community-based organizations: Adelante Mujeres, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Bienestar, Coalition of Communities of Color and the economic consulting firm, ECONorthwest. All of the project team members have substantial histories of partnering with local jurisdictions to develop strategies and tools that advance racial equity. During the project, they will consistently engage residents and businesses in the project area, especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community members. The diverse makeup of the team also provides a firm foundation and wealth of knowledge about common themes which frequently emerge during conversations with underrepresented people.