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Community development -- Oregon, Enterprise zones -- Oregon, Urban policy, Social mobility, Poverty -- Oregon, Oregon -- Economic conditions


The following is a proposal for identifying, measuring, defining and addressing communities of concentrated poverty in Oregon. Based on information gathered from local, state, federal and international organizations and experts, we can best address communities of concentrated poverty in Oregon by:

  1. Addressing Communities of Concentrated Poverty as Well as Individuals in Poverty—The negative effects of poverty are exacerbated for individuals who live in communities of concentrated poverty. Individuals who are not low-income but who live in communities of concentrated poverty also experience the adverse effects of poverty.
  2. Designing Efforts That Focus on Race, Equity and Social Mobility—It is important to focus on race because communities of color are disproportionately represented in areas of concentrated poverty. In order to improve conditions in these communities, there needs to be a focus on improving social mobility. This entails creating more opportunities for quality healthcare, education, economic and job development, housing, and transportation in order to generate greater equity in outcomes in these areas.
  3. Defining Communities of Concentrated Poverty Using a Multidimensional Definition— The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s poverty dimensions, outlined in its 2016 DAC Guidelines, capture the full picture of living in communities of concentrated poverty; that picture will help communities to better identify challenges, develop outcomes, and create a plan for developing these target areas.
  4. Identifying and Measuring Communities of Concentrated Poverty Using the Self-Sufficiency Standard—The first step to identify communities of concentrated poverty is to use the “High Poverty Hotspots” list from the Oregon Department of Human Services Office of Forecasting, Research, and Analysis. The list is based on the Federal Poverty Level measure. Then, a more accurate indication of the measurement of poverty in these communities can be done using the Self-Sufficiency Standard developed by Dr. Diana Pearce at the University of Washington and adopted by Elizabeth Morehead, Ph.D., and Sheila Martin, Ph.D., at the Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies at Portland State University.
  5. Developing Communities of Opportunity (CoO)—Use the Center for American Progress State Promise Zone Framework to develop an Oregon version and adapt it to incorporate existing efforts. The state will provide preferred access to the CoO, greater technical assistance and resources like AmeriCorps volunteers, and the community will bring together stakeholders and develop a collective impact strategy (measured by common metrics toward common goals) so that the investment is catalyzed and greater than the sum of its parts.


This report is a production of the National Policy Consensus Center at the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University.

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