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The Oregonian: Beaverton working with Portland State to begin crafting minority inclusion plan
Author: Nicole Friedman
Posted: February 25, 2013

Read the original article in The Oregonian here.

Beaverton is working with Portland State University to create an action plan for how the city can better reach out to its minority populations.

The first stage of planning, which began in January, will culminate in a two-day event in June: one day for 100 to 200 minority community leaders to share their opinions with the city, and one day for the city to inform its minority populations about the programs and services that are available to them.

"We don't want a report" to tell the city what it already knows about its demographic make-up, said Daniel Vázquez, the city's cultural inclusion coordinator, in an interview. "We want to know, what can we do?"

Of the city's roughly 91,500 residents, about 30 percent are ethnic minorities.

Vázquez, who was hired for the new one-year position in October, presented his progress and plans to the City Council at its meeting Tuesday.

Mayor Denny Doyle said at the meeting that he will submit a budget request to make Vázquez's position permanent.

About a dozen representatives from local ethnic groups and nonprofit organizations attended the meeting to hear Vázquez's report.

"The folks that are here tonight clearly indicate that we're touching those communities that we’ve overlooked for far too long," Doyle said.

PSU's Center for Public Service selected Beaverton for its new Public Service Innovation Laboratory. The city paid between $5,000 and $8,000 to work with the center for six months, Vázquez said.

A final action plan will not be completed by June, but the two-day event will help set the stage for further action, Vázquez said.

The Oregon Technology Business Center, a city-funded program that supports start-up technology businesses, also gave a report at tonight's meeting.

In 2012, Beaverton-based businesses that are affiliated with the center earned $23 million in revenue and raised nearly $3 million in grants and investor funding, said Steve Morris, the center's executive director.

"Most of these companies are in Beaverton because of OTBC," Morris said.

Also at tonight's meeting:

The council approved an expansion of the city's enterprise zone. The expansion, which has also been approved by Washington County and the Port of Portland, will now be sent to Business Oregon for final approval. The city finalized its proposed enterprise zone boundaries — which include Nike-owned land that sits inside and outside the city borders — after Nike made its pending expansion plans public.

The council discussed changes to the city's solid waste and recycling franchise rules that would extend the length of contracts and require franchisees to use newer, more environmentally friendly vehicles.