Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 24th, 2015 at 2:10 pm
distributed is a big part of PBOT’s equity strategy.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
The Portland Bureau of Transportation has taken a major step toward being a more inclusive agency with the announcement today that they’re recruiting for a new position: Equity and Inclusion Manager.
The agency will pay over $107,000 for the right “change agent” they hope will fill a “high profile within the Bureau,” and, “make decisions impacting all areas and functions” of the 750 person bureau.
Equity is a major initiative not just within PBOT but across city bureaus. The Portland Police Bureau hired their first-ever equity and diversity manager just last month. City initiative or not, PBOT has focused on equity for many years now and the effort has found new life as a priority for Director Leah Treat.
PBOT convened an internal Equity Committee last spring. It includes 14 staffers representing each department within the agency — from active transportation planning to business services and even maintenance. The committee members have received professional training and they are expected to now train other staff members as well as be a resource for project managers.
PBOT has also engaged community groups including neighborhood associations, immigrant and refugee advocacy groups and others, to help them craft their approach to equity.
When it comes to putting equity into action, PBOT spokeswoman Diane Dulken says the agency’s Active Transportation division, “Is best model the bureau has as far as incorporating equity.” PBOT’s Safe Routes to School Policy, a 50-page document published in 2012, mentions “equity” 48 times on nearly half of its pages. Here’s how the city’s Safe Routes program defines equity
“… policies that increase the accessibility of transportation choices and their benefits to currently and historically underserved populations, including people of color, people experiencing poverty, people with disabilities, and people who experience language barriers.”
Making sure that school-related transportation projects are fairly distributed took on even greater urgency when voters passed the Portland Public Schools bond measure last year. That measure will pump an estimated $5 million into Safe Routes to Schools capital projects over the next seven years.
While many advocates, and city staffers are satisfied with the “Five E’s” of Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, and Evaluation when it comes to planning and projects, PBOT’s Safe Routes program prefers a sixth “E”: Equity. When they realized state and federal funding for Safe Routes infrastructure projects and programs didn’t include equity as a criteria, PBOT added it to that as well. Now, all capital funding decisions are scored with equity in mind (specifically, more points are given to projects at schools who have a higher percentage of students who receive free/reduced lunch, are within community of color, have physical disabilities, or who come from families where English is not the primary language).
To get a better understanding of what PBOT’s equity and inclusion manager will do, check out the official job description below:
The Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) vision is to be a diverse organization that models inclusivity and promotes equity through its service delivery, internal operations, organizational culture, and in its work with partners and the community. The Equity and Inclusion Manager is essential to help ensure that this bureau of 750 FTE proactively implements equitable policies, practices, and actions, as well as to help influence attitudes within the Bureau that will produce equitable authority, access, opportunities, treatment impacts and outcomes for all PBOT employees and stakeholders. This is a newly created position reporting directly to the Bureau Director. The position has a high level of discretion in carrying out duties and assignments and the position’s responsibilities are broad in scope, strategic in nature, and impact all of the Bureau’s employees, operations, programs, and service partnerships.
The Equity and Inclusion Manager combines knowledge of the Bureau’s mission and operations with best practices in equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion to develop and manage initiatives that will contribute to the achievement of the Bureau’s and City’s strategic equity goals. This positon works with internal Bureau staff on a daily basis and works closely with the Bureau’s Equity Committee, the Citywide Equity Committee, and City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights. It also acts as the principle liaison to other City bureaus and external groups on City policy initiatives designed to increase the organization’s capacity to provide culturally appropriate services to all Portlanders, including underserved populations, communities of color, and disabled communities.
The Equity and Inclusion Manager provides expert technical guidance and implementation leadership to PBOT management on equity, inclusion, and social justice issues within Bureau programs that impact the public. In addition, this position provides assistance and support to the Bureau in designing and transparently implementing goals, policies, training, tools, change strategies, metrics, data collection standards, and accountability reporting for Bureau functions. Further, this position provides overall management and coordination in the implementation of the Bureau’s new Equity and Inclusion program, including development and implementation of the annual work plan and an annual program report to the Bureau Director and Equity Committee.
The position closes on March 13th, or as soon as PBOT receives 75 applications.