Resilience. The ability to anticipate, absorb, recover from and adapt to challenges. More and more, the media and political figures are taking up the charge of resilience. The Oregon legislature is considering several bills this session to address resilience in the state.
From a community resilience standpoint, those challenges include economic struggles, environmental threats, and social concerns. The Community Service Center is bringing its resources, talents and energy to bear in projects across all four of its programs to support communities in their ability to address those challenges. Many of these projects increase the resilience of the community in multiple ways, while accomplishing other objectives at the same time.
CPW is engaged in two projects to help increase community resilience at a regional scale. One team is coordinating an update of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the Cascades West Economic Development District of Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Benton Counties. The CPW team is incorporating the vulnerability of businesses to hazards in addition to more traditional considerations like employment, industry needs and entrepreneurship, greatly increasing the resilience of the business community. Another team is providing policy analysis for Deschutes County to increase hazards resilience. This project will result in adjustments to the county development code with incentives and regulations to reduce risk to hazards such as flood, landslide and wildfire.
OPDR is helping counties all along the Oregon coast to be more resilient to a variety of hazards. The four counties on the southern coast are in the process of updating their Natural Hazard Mitigation Plans, which identify strategies for proactively reducing vulnerability to hazards. Lincoln and Tillamook Counties are also engaged in Risk MAP (Mapping, Assessment, and Planning) projects, to help communities use hazard maps to increase the resilience of their infrastructure, public health, and social services. Risk MAP incorporates mapped data into a wider range of community concerns.
EDAUC recently completed a project to investigate the potential for a public market focused on local food in Lane County. The resilience benefits of such a market would be improved public health, new local jobs and other economic benefits for the region, and enhanced social fabric through a year-round community gathering place. This type of multi-objective project uses resources to improve the community’s access to healthy food, good jobs, and local culture with a single initiative.
RARE has four AmeriCorps placements working on the Oregon Main Street Program to strengthen local economies and networks between businesses. In Reedsport, businesses are meeting regularly and agreeing on key issues thanks to the work of Emesha Jackson. Four more RARE placements are working on food resilience issues through assessments and projects. Communities like Enterprise, where RARE participant Lauren Johnson is coordinating efforts, are remote. Ensuring that food can be produced and distributed locally is vital to the resilience of many rural communities.
While Oregon’s lawmakers explore policy options to increase the state’s resilience, CSC projects are building broad community resilience at the city, county and regional level. All of these efforts help to make Oregon a safer, more prosperous place.