Youth Voice, Youth Vote Participatory Budgeting (YV² PB)
A Bit of Background
Youth are uniquely impacted by COVID-19 and are vastly underrepresented in government decisions made on their behalf. That’s why five collaborating non-profit organizations, the Seeding Justice Foundation, and three State Legislators launched the Youth Voice, Youth Vote PB (YV² PB) in 2022. Oregon's first participatory budgeting process, YV² PB enlists youth and their families to propose and select roughly $500,000 in COVID-19 relief and recovery projects in State Senate Districts 24 and 25, a project area that spans East Portland, East Multnomah County, and portions of North Clackamas County and over seven school districts. The first cycle of PB in 2022 and 2023 will allocate American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars committed by State Legislators Kayse Jama, Chris Gorsek, and Ricki Ruiz. A second cycle could allocate ARPA funds from the City of Portland and City of Gresham within a smaller project area in 2023 and 2024. Over the course of two PB cycles, YV² PB aims to engage at least 5,000 people in exercising their power to benefit their communities and spearhead PB in Oregon. In the process, YV² PB promises to expand civic leadership and organizing skills while enhancing and rebuilding community, relationships, and mental health outcomes.
Oregon's First Participatory Budgeting Process
By sharing real power over real money, participatory budgeting (PB) taps the expertise of those most impacted by systemic inequities by provides a mechanism to directly engage those most underrepresented in government in decision making. By exercising their power though the PB process, participants expand the civic leadership and organizing skills that power social movements while building trust and transparency around the use of public funds. PB has spread rapidly around the globe since starting in Brazil in 1989 and across the US after launching in Chicago in 2009. But PB has yet to come to Oregon–until now. With the strategic investment of ARPA funds by State Legislators, organizational commitments, and both individual and grant donations to kickstart this effort, YV² PB will launch Oregon's first PB process.
The first PB cycle starting in 2022 will aim to engage at least 2,000 youth across these phases: process implementation, project development, outreach, and voting to decide how to spend roughly $500,000 in ARPA funds in early 2023. If we are successful in securing additional ARPA funds a second PB cycle will run in 2023 to 2024. We are also seeking $180,000 in funding to further support youth-led design and implementation with extensive community outreach and engagement ensure robust and equitable participation.