Still at it
Remember the pitch that the Portland Development Commission put out back in May for contractors to do "cultural liaison" work? Looks like there were no takers, or at least no good ones, as the PDC is back out with what is essentially a rerun of the same pitch this month.
It's interesting which groups the PDC says it needs outside help relating to:
The cultural communities that this solicitation covers areWhat? No Klingon?
a. African Countries, (please identify – Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, etc.)
b. African American
c. Hispanic (Mexican)
d. Hispanic (any other - please specify)
e. Native American (Oregon, NW Tribes, other Native American – please specify)
f. Southeast Asian (Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, other SE Asian – please specify)
g. Eastern European (former Soviet Union Countries – please specify)
h. Middle East (please specify)
i. Youth (18-25)
j. Other groups (please specify)
And then there are the tasks that must be performed:
1. Provide entrée to community in culturally sensitive ways:Now, I try to be as culturally sensitive as the next person, but do we really need somebody to translate PDC pronouncements into Serbian, or Native American? And what about "youth" language? Does the PDC really need a consultant to talk to "youth"? "Hey, dude, they're, like, gonna put a streetcar over by the Burgerville, man. Awesomely dank..."
· Train PDC staff on how best serve and engage the community identified in your proposal.
· Host dialogue on key community and PDC issues.
· Translate written material.
· Interpret interactions, speeches, conflicts, etc...
2. Production of public participation materials in language of the service area identified to include:
· Meeting notices
· Project content
· Surveys (paper and electronic)
· News releases, print or other media
3. Meeting planning and facilitation with culturally diverse communities to include:
· Meeting preparation
· Community meetings
· Education on culture of the service area identified
4. Conflict Management and Mediation involving culturally diverse communities to include:
· Issue identification
· Meeting facilitation in a high stakes environment
· Conflict resolution within and between community groups
Before one laughs too hard, though, consider that these are supposed to be multiple contracts of up to $25,000 each, and the whole proposal is listed on the PDC site as a "formal bid opportunity... estimated over $100,000."
So when you're paying your property taxes in November, remember, a buck or two will be for a good cause: If somebody wants to ask Homer Williams "Is that your hand in my pocket?" in Swahili, she'll have someone from Portland State there to convert it to English for him.
Only in Portland will you hear "linchpin" in several click tongues.