Our neighbors . . . our communities . . . our partners in public engagement

A new program to assist the community, cities and partners

What are CELs (Community Engagement Liaisons)

  • CELs are English-fluent, City of Portland-trained civic activists AND they are respected elders or activists in their respective communities of nurture.

  • CELs provide effective avenues for authentic public participation.

  • CELs identify specific ethno-cultural and language communities in your service area;


Why we need CELs

We've just celebrated 50 years of the 1964 US Civil Rights Act. Title VI requires our public services be accessible in all languages spoken in the many communities we serve.

Today, 1-in-5 Portlanders are foreign born. For Beaverton it's 1-in-4. Nearly half of our public school kids go home to ethnic minority families.



  • Sharing more equitably our public services, benefits, and burdens, requires intentional engagement of underserved communities.

  • Having our many communities participate fully in our robust public life requires authentic partnerships. Hiring an interpreter to speak to populations you hope will show up, is not true civic engagement and will not produce equity.