Metro is the regional government for the greater Portland, Oregon region. This region is nationally recognized for its strong economy, its livability and its transportation system. But for communities of color, those benefits are more myth than reality.
In June 2016, the Metro Council, the elected body that governs the agency, approved its first Strategic Plan to Advance Racial Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (“Strategic Plan”), which sets the course for Metro’s racial equity work. This Strategic Plan is built around five longterm goals.
• Goal A – Metro convenes and supports regional partners to advance racial equity
• Goal B – Metro meaningfully engages communities of color
• Goal C – Metro hires, trains and promotes a racially diverse workforce
• Goal D – Metro creates safe and welcoming services, programs and destinations
• Goal E – Metro’s resource allocation advances racial equity
The goals are intentional guideposts that direct Metro in creating specific objectives, actions, and measures of evaluation and accountability as the agency works to help the Portland metropolitan region reach its equitable and prosperous destination. Each goal has several related objectives and action items.
Since the adoption of the Strategic Plan, Metro has made significant strides in creating the foundation to infuse racial equity into every component of the agency’s work. These strides have included:
1) The establishment of an agency-wide equity program and team
2) The creation of a community oversight committee with decision-making authority
3) The passing of agency-wide policy that commits Metro to advancing racial equity
4) The infusion of racial equity into staff trainings and the development of racial equity
competency for staff
5) The creation of department-specific racial equity plans
6) The establishment of transparent data and evaluation tracking of agency-wide equity
Although Metro has created significant momentum toward racial equity, the agency still has some distance to travel. Nevertheless, Metro leadership is committed to the advancement of racial equity to ensure that barriers to communities of color are addressed so that all people who live, work and recreate in the Portland region have the opportunity to share in and help define a thriving, livable and prosperous region.