Don’t Rebuild the Systems that Broke

Don’t Rebuild the Systems that Broke

Happening Hour Series – Part 2

By Bobby Cochran, Sam Baraso, Jill Fuglister, Stacey Dalgaard, Alaí Reyes-Santos, and Nils Christoffersen


At our May 6th Happening Hour, Don’t Rebuild the Systems that Broke, we heard from Sam Baraso of Portland Clean Energy Fund and Jill Fuglister of Meyer Memorial Trust on how we can prepare Oregon communities for equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and financial crisis.

Equitable recovery does not mean going back to the way things were — our “normal” reality is deeply flawed. To recover equitably we need to include everyone at the table to design recovery by and for our communities. This means disrupting current power structures and embedding policy at the local and state level that addresses the needs of those historically and currently underrepresented. There is pressure to get on the road to recovery quickly, but too often quick fixes are not inclusive of everyone’s needs. With a little patience, we can support communities by:

  • Investing in those most impacted to design their own future, including indigenous communities, communities of color, rural communities, and small businesses;
  • Working with place-based organizations that are supporting their communities e.g. financial institutions and culturally-specific, indigenous, and people of color-led organizations;
  • Listening to communities’ needs e.g. hosting virtual convenings and community-led conversations focused on community-centered investments and prioritizing communities hit hardest today and historically; and
  • Facilitating partnerships and coalitions that will unite most impacted and place-based communities with other organizations that are working for justice and ecological health to build new networks across issues and geographies, ensuring that they center the leadership of the most impacted communities.


After the Happening Hour, we sat down with Jill, Sam, Nils Christoffersen of Wallowa Resources, Dr. Alaí Reyes-Santos of the University of Oregon, and Stacey Dalgaard of Oregon Environmental Council to discuss where we should go from here. The Happening Hours started as a space to connect, where colleagues could come together to share their thoughts on the current challenges we’re facing, but they have become more than that. The question that keeps resurfacing for us is, are there other conversations around equitable recovery happening around the state, and if so, where, who’s at the table, and how can we link these conversations together? 

To help answer these questions, we’re asking you to share what you know about our state’s equitable recovery plans. Fill out the Google Form to tell us about the conversations you’ve heard or been a part of, what gaps you may have seen, what you’d like included in those conversations, and if there is an opportunity to connect. 

Our next Happening Hour on May 20th will continue the conversation of equitable recovery with a focus on the Federal Stimulus. Join us to discuss lessons learned from the 2008 Recession’s recovery. What was successful, what actions didn’t have an equitable perspective, and how can we ensure that we include equity as we begin reopening communities? 

Thank you for being a part of Happening Hour. We are overwhelmed with the level of engagement and support of these discussions. We look forward to continuing the conversation with you. 

Register for the May 20th Happening Hour.


Do you know about other Equitable Recovery conversations?

Bobby Cochran led Willamette Partnership's work around building community resilience and innovation. He is passionate about supporting community leaders to move resources from dumb stuff to better stuff - especially when that means clean water, better health, and economic inclusion. Bobby is now with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership. He received a Ph.D./M.A. in Urban Studies/Conflict Resolution from Portland State University.


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