The Connect with Nature project created a partnership between Metro and community organizations serving people of color in greater Portland to pilot a new way to engage community members in the planning of new parks.
Through a series of community workshops led by people of color, participants shared their values and experiences with nature. They explored how parks and natural areas could be more welcoming and better meet the needs of communities of color.
In addition to identifying barriers people of color face visiting parks and natural areas, Connect with Nature sought to identify and change the barriers in business practices that exclude people of color from participating in planning, designing, building and operating parks.
Connect with Nature put into practice the idea that if people of color are included in planning and decision making, they will share in the benefits that result.
The Connect with Nature report documents this approach to engagement. It shares what Metro and its partners heard from project participants and summarizes themes that emerged in order to inform and inspire richer, more meaningful future collaboration on topics ranging from values, park and natural area infrastructure, park programs and day-to-day park operations.
This report is not a shortcut through community engagement – rather it is a resource to improve future engagement, more effectively build community trust, and engage in more informed and more nuanced conversations.