Restructuring Round-table Notes

On November 26th several dozen members of various Neighborhood Action Councils (NACs) met to discuss restructuring the Portland Assembly. We discussed the various subcommittees, our modes of communication, and our visions for moving forward. Below are the notes we took from the meeting. Feel free to contact us with any feedback or ideas.

 

Portland Assembly Points of Unity

 

We Believe That All People Deserve Housing

We Believe That All People Deserve Healthy Food and Water

We Believe That All People Deserve Healthcare

We Believe That All People Deserve Freedom From Persecution By The State

We Believe That All People Deserve Freedom of Movement Without Borders

We Believe That All People Deserve Access To Information and Technological Commons

We Believe That All People Deserve a Right To Self and Community Determination

We Believe That All People Deserve a Right to Physical Safety

We Believe That All People Deserve a Right to Initiative

Step 1: Visioning (15 mins) – Brainstorm what we want the structure of our assembly to represent and what processes are in line with that. – List all ideas on whiteboard – check for objections before writing each one. -Keep on display for entire meeting
Values:
  •        Decentralization
  •        Accessibility
  •        Open-Loop vs. Closed Loop (establish criteria and processes so that we can evaluate and ensure progress)
  •        ID levels of decision making throughout PA – need to clarify
  •        Transparency (re: funds, tasks, etc.)
  •        Engagement
  •        Accountability
  •        Cohesion
  •        Capacity Building/Skill Share/Catalyst
  •        Building Networks/Honoring Capacity/Offering Support & Labor Share 
  •        Self-Determination/Self-Activity/Autonomy
  •        Mutual Aid
  •        Empowerment
  •        Neighborhood-Based
  •        Intentionality re: Inclusion
  •        Solidarity/Interconnection
  •        Security
  •        Anti-Oppression analysis 
  •        Non-Sectarian 
  •        Visible in the Community
 
Step 2: Subcommittee Reports (40 mins) – Each subcommittee with a rep present will go over their responses to the survey from Sept. including their purpose, tasks, membership, level of success, and what issues they face, and answer questions. (10 mins per committee)—can include original answers submitted via Loomio
 

Comms – Takes in info and send out info—social media, emails (MailChimp), incoming email inquiries (7-10 ppl) – could function better if each NAC has a member involved in subcommittee; 2 hours/mo in meetings & 5 hours/mo during month; writing skills and willingness to engage with various platforms. Email comms PA email. Coordinates with web/tech and NACs to share emails from new signups, etc. More emails need to be sent out to communicate more regularly.
 

Web/Tech – Six active ppl—2 wings: admin/maintenance and projects (community need) and pool of talent of folks who can help with these. Existing project: Alerta (?). Need 2-4 ppl for server maintenance; Few hours/month and have also meant for work parties. More virtual. Varies 3-40+  hours depending on availability. Skills: Tech support also needed (5 hours/mo) and other maintenance issues can be non-recurring. U does not have capacity to teach skills, but others are interested in this and have experience to do so. Need to define standards and upheld by subcommittees.
 
ARNW – Functions as a hybrid subcommittee between PA and PNWAWC, hosts trainings for community self-defense tactics and anti-racist education. Need to connect better to NACs to train on patrols, etc. Manual is being used in other states! 8-10 hours per week but others can plug in to table, etc. depending on availability.
 

Logistics – Function of Logistics is to organize and provide technical/material support for events, also defines and documents various processes that make up PA. The “how” “what” and “where” of what it is we’re doing (the work).  During restructuring it would be good to look at how to setup the inputs from the community with respect to the goals of the community.
 

Media – Nearly inactive and have not plugged in new ppl effectively. Has done work on their own in absence of others’ participation. Need three ppl to do work well and to assess needs, respond to others’ ideas, and engage comms more effectively.  1-2 hours/mo in meetings & 2-10 hours/mo during month; need to document PA activities better. Media skills/awareness of NAC priorities (NAC Coordination chat?)
 

Fundraising – Need active committee of three or four. Currently doing this alone and need someone to help with paperwork for the bank, planning and executing fundraising events (TBD—will touch base with a few folks who were previously involved, though loosely). Time spent in meetings – once per month – 1.5 hours/ Time spent working outside of meetings – 2.5 hours/month
 

Key tasks (ongoing):
Fundraising writing
  •  Raise general     community chest funds for PA to cover administrative/meeting costs
  •  Generate     fundraising copy (in collaboration with communications subcommittee) for     Rally crowdfunding site, email blasts, etc., ensuring consistency with PA     vision
PA-wide Coordination
  •  Coordinate and     prioritize various fundraising requests throughout PA
  •  Work with NAC     and subcommittee PICs to strategize and implement fundraising strategies     for NAC-led, jointly funded projects (PA and NAC) 
Treasury
  •  Track PA     Spokescouncil expenses, reimbursing approved expenses and noting all     transactions to ensure accountability
  •  Coordinate as     liaison between PA infrastructure and fundraising subcommittee (treasurer)
  • Keeps funds in     a secure location
Who should I contact if I want to join this subcommittee: fundraising contact form on website. Docs saved in HumHub.
 
 
Infrastructure – “Bootstrapping” to catalyze assembly events, launch initial projects and coordinate subcommittees
Bridge Building – Has been happening on an individual basis but not collectively as much. Desire is to take the lead communicating with directly affected communities. Working closely with PIRC. ROP convening is next week. Trying to build on relationships and partner with local relevant groups (AAPRP, PCHRP, etc.) Want to reinstate intergroup round tables to tie in with PA campaigns and outreach to be more visible and networked. Need for ppl to table at other orgs’ events and set that up to make it an easy process (tool kit and zine library). Criteria for collaborating with other orgs needs to be articulated on a PA-wide basis.  
 

AOA – Visions and principles stated on website. Subcommittee is about ensuring that our content and organizing spaces uphold standards we have established. Safer spaces policy should be posted on website. Four people who have been at max capacity have participated, but more involvement and perspectives are needed. Nature of subcommittee is to do emotional labor and participation may not be for everybody. Suggest that we adopt communication guide (get link) We have materials and someone who is interested in organizing training. We need to have things in place (flow chart?) to address issues preemptively. NACs should be first step in accountability, and will have resources to escalate if necessary. Once this is in place it can become an ad hoc committee.
 

Step 3: Communication and Decision Making Report (15 mins) -Identify how infrastructure, sub committees and NACs currently communicate with each other (5 mins) and make decisions. (10 mins) -List/draw this out on whiteboard
Inventory of our assets for communication:
-Signal, riot, email, doodle, instagram, Loomio, regular meetings, spokescouncils, 
Structure feedback
 
Step 4: Investment and Capacity Reports (30 mins) -Each person present has an opportunity to comment on their current workload and what they feel their capacity is to participate in PA activities going forward. Getting a snapshot of our current level of engagement will help us make realistic proposals for changes to make and where to focus our efforts.

 

BREAK – 15 mins
 

Step 5: Structure Feedback (50 mins) -Time to give feedback on how people perceive the work of subcommittees, as well as how they feel the current structure could better meet the criteria on the vision board. We’ll start with feedback on the general structure and then address each subcommittee in turn, and then communication. Separate sheets of notes will be taken and visible on the wall. See images to the side or notes below.
 

Step 6: Proposing Changes (45 mins) -Now we get to reflect on our feedback notes as a whole and form proposals for changes to make to the structure and subcommittees so they align with ideas from the brainstorm. -Discuss and vote on each proposal.
 

Step 7: Putting it into action (10 mins) -Delegate a team to edit our structure document to reflect the decisions made, draft any other necessary documents, and create a new visual diagram that explains the decision making and organization process -Assess approved proposals for actionable tasks to assign -Notetaker/s will post a communique on our final decisions to agreed upon channel. -Set time frame to check back in and assess how the changes are working.
 
 Consider these elements:
S (supplier) – 
I (inputs) – 
P (process) – 
O (output) – 
C (customers) – 
 


 

Transcription from note pads

Structure/Visions –

What values should our structure represent?

What does that look like?

Decentralization Visibility Facilitating/straightforward involvement

Accessibility

Anti-oppression

Accountability

Non-sectarian

Cohesion

Capacity building/Honoring capacity

Engaging

Transparency

Building networks/inter-connectedness

Empowerment

Open or closed loop processes?

Mutual Aid/Solidarity

Share care labor

Autonomy

Clear boundaries

Security

Prioritizing wellbeing

Communications & Decision-making Feedback:

Too many tech formats (but how much can we control this?)

We need training with communication formats

NACs and Subcommittees should consult with Tech Subcom with considering new communication tools

No discord!

Maybe some points of unity? (Standards)

Train and Explain Change management.

Be self-defining.

Give reasons for change and decide together.

No capitalist language.

More transparency of subcommittee work, publicized

Greater reach of media/events/communications

Systematic communication from NACs & subcommittees, ie. on HumHub every 2 weeks Website form – monthly report

See spokescouncil fulfilling old Infrastructure role –

NAC Coordination increase cohesion

Facilitation training for all

HumHub is a great repository for NAC minutes, etc.

Communications should be easy. — Web tools — Hub Organizer Space —

NAC Persons-in-contact can add to site schedule — Create weekly review blog,

RSS feed

Events approval process

Email for every NAC, clear contact path (for subcommittees too)

Have mailing list reach beyond current PA members

General Feedback:

Regional Assemblies are unnecessary pending increased capacity

Get Trump out of PA documents

Use positive language

Need onboarding process — for NACs and Subcommittees

Ad Hoc needs to be set up to rewrite structure document

We don’t have a lot of people at coordinator capacity (see document with roles and capacity levels)

Logistics:

Requires one rep from each NAC (Communications and ARNW as well)

Some subcommittees are consistent in workload, some are more project-based

“Let’s Run Rip City” is a bad slogan (?)

Some NACs did their own ARNW separate from the subcommittee, but we need cooperation and standards

Look at Frontline Community Council and assess intention vs. effect.

No tokenizing — suggest looking instead to combine with InterGroup Roundtable and Bridge Building Subcommittee to reach less-represented communities

Logistics and events

Don’t set up subcommittees on paper before identifying desired outputs.

Roles and structure document designed around this.

Work on projects — use results to craft structure

Drop Frontline Council and Intergroup Roundtable from Structure document (not currently in existence)

Foresight of Structure document is being underestimated. It’s needed in a robust form to keep from going in circles.

Infrastructure shouldn’t have a vote in the Spokescouncil.

Define processes/tasks so that roles can be easily rotated

Estimate needed capacity to each project before taking it on

Next Steps:

Where the notes will go – Loomio NAC FB Group PA website Email

By when: Next Sunday

Create brainstorming space on Loomio

Proposals are due by Jan. 1, 2018

Where: Loomio – post as a proposal

Use proposal criteria

Tentative plan for spokescouncil mtg in early Feb

ARNW Feedback:

Currently: Collaborates with PNW Antifascist Workers Collective to develop trainings for the anti-racist neighborhood watch model, participate in neighborhood patrols

Suggestions:

New name; Better communication with NACs;

One rep from each NAC;

Heckle NACs and do more patrols;

Outdoor merchandise and signs;

More trainings

Communications Feedback:

Currently: Manages content for website & social media, answer & redirects email, fields media queries

Suggestions:

More updates to ALL mailchimp subscribers to ensure we are getting info out and staying engaged with folks;

More recruitment efforts & social media activity;

One rep from each NAC;

Meld with Media, Technology/Web and Education;

Push more engagement sharing among network;

PA specific style guide;

Editorial Calendar/Publishing Guidelines (help with self-service workflow)

Logistics Feedback:

Currently: Organizes PA general events, documents PA processes

Suggestions:

Needs someone from each NAC;

How to interface with Bridge Building subcom and NACs to duplicate successful events and collaborations around town(?);

Regular schedule of skillshares/trainings & cross-train for tasks;

Develop standardized event approval process;

Plan & execute assemblies quarterly under NAC and Subcommittee direction;

Need community asset table and scheduling tool (on the web);

A deliberate emphasis on high production value events to entice those outside our “scene” – bigger & better!

Media Feedback:

Currently: Creates graphic content such as videos & flyers

Suggestions:

Propaganda should be hosted on site with printable/downloadable content;

Consider adopting ; Media Relations Resources (ie. contact info for media releases, templates, etc.);

Templates for social media etc. for events (make it easier for coordinators to promote);

Reach out to local media more – press packets;

Meld with Communications, Tech/Web, Education;

Need access point for an individual to initiate content creation or a project/service;

Need visual for Resource mapping

Notes on Unrepresented Subcommittees:

Fundraising:

Currently: Manages PA’s community chest, organizes fundraising events, set fundraising goals

Suggestions:

Merch to be sold at Anarres and during tabling at events;

Work on grants;

Planned events 2-4 months with logistics

Technology:

Currently: Maintains websites, manages passwords and security

Suggestions:

Meld with Education,

Communications and Media subcommittees;

Security training

Education:

Currently: Organizes educational events in line with PA vision and principles, speakers, study groups, skills training, etc.

Suggestions:

Combine with logistics;

Also meld some tasks with Tech, Comms and Media;

Write curriculum with NAC input and disseminate;

Develop original educational content to synthesize & contextualize our theoretical framework for our intended audience;

Regularly scheduled skillshares/training

Bridge Building:

Currently: Focused on building/maintaining relationships with other groups

Suggestions:

When one NAC collaborates with a group, make it easier to continue work with said group across larger PA organizing (introductions/networking);

Work with Comms on a 1pg “explainer” about PA;

Tabling schematic and supplies – create tabling crate and go out networking

Anti-Oppression & Accountability:

Currently: Organizes conflict mediation, review documents for inclusive language, develops accountability processes

Suggestions:

Write flowchart with resources;

Combine with HR in infrastructure,

include with responsibilities of exit interviews,

background checks

Communication & Decision-Making:

How are these happening?

Within NACs FoPo/Lents: email, regularly scheduled meetings (use Doodle poll and Facebook)

Montavilla: Slack, Google Docs, HumHub, Email, Facebook & meetings on Sunday (schedule for next meeting set at end of meetings)

SE Central: Signal, reg mtgs, Facebook, HumHub, Email

Piedmont: Signal, FB, reg. Mtgs, email

Within Subcommittees: Riot, Signal, Email, Doodle Between Groups: Signal chat, Phone, Email, Doodle, Loomio, Spokescouncils

To the Public: Website, FB, Twitter, Email/Mailchimp, Github, Loomio, General Assemblies