City officials say they want Washington County's largest city to prioritize equity.

PMG FILE PHOTO - A diverse group of activists rally in favor of Hillsboro declaring itself a sanctuary city in February 2017.The City of Hillsboro has published a draft of the "equity statement" that the City Council is considering.

Hillsboro city spokesman Patrick Preston said the City Council has identified the issue of equity as a top priority, and putting out a statement about Hillsboro's commitment to pursue equality for residents of color, with disabilities, of different genders and beyond has been a longstanding goal.

The draft statement:

Equity is central to the City of Hillsboro's mission and core values. Equity, particularly racial equity, is essential to providing exceptional public services and creating an inclusive and safe work environment for everyone.

Equity is the pursuit of equality. We strive to advance equity work in Hillsboro by identifying disparate social and economic outcomes, by centering those who have historically been left out of the decision making process, and by removing barriers to end disparities and achieve equality.

The City recognizes that people of color and other communities have been historically marginalized and excluded — both intentionally and unintentionally – from constructing the institutions that govern our lives and the services we depend on to protect our health, safety, and well-being. We further acknowledge that structural and cultural barriers impact access to, and representation in, City government.

Without an intentional focus on equity, we will continue to perpetuate and deepen inequality. We must ensure that all people in Hillsboro experience a sense of belonging, prosperity, and happiness, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or other individual identities.

To realize our mission and core values, the City of Hillsboro commits to integrating equity into the fabric of our organization and the delivery of public services in pursuit of equal, fair, and just outcomes for all.

Preston said the statement was developed by Hillsboro's internal "equity team," an interdepartmental group of city employees tasked with promoting equity.

The city will hold a pair of "listening sessions" to take in public feedback on the draft statement.

The first listening session will be at the Hillsboro Shute Park Library, 775 S.E. 10th Ave., from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17.

The second listening session will be at the Hillsboro Brookwood Library, 2850 N.E. Brookwood Parkway, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22.

Members of the equity team and other city representatives will be on hand at both listening sessions to answer questions and discuss how they developed the statement.

The Hillsboro City Council will also discuss the draft statement at its Tuesday, Aug. 6, work session, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Shirley Huffman Auditorium of the Hillsboro Civic Center, 150 E. Main St. in downtown Hillsboro.

The City Council is expected to hold a second work session Tuesday, Sept. 3, also at 6 p.m. in the Shirley Huffman Auditorium.

In a statement, Mayor Steve Callaway explained why he believes equity is important for Hillsboro, a city of more than 100,000 people, roughly one in four of whom is Hispanic or Latino and roughly one in 10 of whom is Asian or of Asian heritage.

"Equity is the foundation for a healthy and strong community," Callaway stated. "Those who live here, work here, or visit here all benefit when our city works to achieve equity for our entire community."

The city has also set up an equity website.

By Mark Miller
Washington County Editor
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