Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
Session 09A: Leadership, Social Equity and Workforce Development: Social Equity
Tuesday, 10/Sep/2019:
8:00am - 9:30am

Session Chair: Lara Kammereck, Carollo;
Location: F150

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8:00am - 8:45am

Race and Social Justice Initiative: Who Has a Seat at the Table?

Brenda Gardner, Nathaniel Hunter, Rose Ann Lopez

Seattle Public Utilities, United States of America; , ,

Often when we think of race and social justice initiatives (RSJI) at organizations and utilities we think of trainings and workshops, but we often miss stakeholder inclusion. A successful RSJI program encompasses more than just training, it changes the way we do business. At Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), we have changed the way we do business by creating a Racial Equity Toolkit (RET) and implementing it on our projects. 

This presentation will cover a few specific drainage and waste water projects to show how the RET was implemented, what the outcomes were, and any lessons learned along the way. We will illustrate the immediate and long-term benefits of implementing the RET on large- and small-scale projects, such as the Henderson Combined Sewer Overflow project ($40M), and Haller Lake Facility Improvements project ($1.2M).  We will show how implementation of the RET on these projects allowed for earlier engagement of community members and operation and maintenance staff which enabled partnership ahead of the planning stage resulting in more valuable final products. 

As a utility we recognize that we need to be accountable to the rate payer for the work that we do, while being inclusive and imbedding Race and Social Justice. For this to happen we needed to be more creative and to ensure that we were targeting underserved communities. Our customers and employees both deserve an equitable level of service no matter their neighborhood, socioeconomic status, or ability to navigate SPUs process. Our goal in sharing the RET is to educate, uplift and provide tools to those looking to implement equity at their organizations and in their communities.

8:45am - 9:30am

Advancing the Role of Equity in Portland BES Resiliency Planning

Nishant Parulekar1, Rosey Jencks2

1City of Portland, Environmental Services; 2Brown and Caldwell; ,

The City of Portland is a national leader in incorporating equity considerations into local government’s business practices. Like its sister agencies around the country, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) is committed to more equitably serve its community members through its business practices and to use its stormwater and wastewater investments, policies, and programs as a tool to provide better services to under-served and under-represented populations ensuring that all rate payers enjoy equitable services. As a part of the BES Resiliency Master Plan (RMP), BES requested assistance in advancing its process of including equity considerations in its RMP’s capital project selection, prioritization, development, as well as in their future capital planning work. The project team reviewed some of the City of Portland’s current efforts around equity, reviewed national best practices in incorporating equity into resiliency planning, and explored the progress being made by industry peers in the incorporation of equity into capital planning. Peer agencies, including King County in the Seattle Metro area, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission programs were reviewed. Finding that this practice is largely in its infancy, the project team drafted an equity framework for incorporating equity considerations into the RMP. This presentation will review the state of the practice and provide an overview of the proposed process and summarize BES’s next steps.

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