Equity Atlas 3.0

Andrew Riley

Meyer Memorial Trust Awards $95,000 to the new Regional Equity Atlas team

On behalf of the Regional Equity Atlas project team, 1000 Friends of Oregon is proud to announce that Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded $95,000 toward the development of the next iteration of the Regional Equity Atlas! The work of creating the next Regional Equity Atlas - what we've sometimes taken to calling the "3.0" edition - is led by a transition team comprising 1000 Friends of Oregon, the Coalition of Communities of ColorEcoTrust, and Futurewise.

The Regional Equity Atlas, originally developed by the Coalition for a Livable Future, uses maps, policy analysis, and community-based research to promote widespread opportunity for a stronger, healthier, and more sustainable Portland metro region. The Atlas is also one of the most widely utilized tool in Oregon to display and analyze the geography of opportunity and investment. The Atlas helps us answer the critical question: Who in our community has access to our exceptional quality of life, and who is still being left out?

The initial version was published in a hard-copy atlas format in 2007, and a “version 2.0” was later brought online, along with tools that allowed users to create their own maps, and add equity stories to the Atlas, supplementing the quantitative data with narratives that helped convey the lived experiences that data might fail to capture. 

The Equity Atlas is also more than just a map: it is designed to equip communities with the knowledge and tools they need to advocate for policy change, while giving policymakers a better understanding of what kind of - and where - disparities exist in our communities. That's why we are also thrilled that the Coalition of Communities of Color has joined our transition team, bringing with them extensive expertise in equitable research methods, as well as deep relationships with community-based organizations focused on serving people of color. 

In 2017 and beyond, we'll be working directly with communities and community-based organizations to build Equity Atlas 3.0 through grassroots public engagement. And to do so, we'll be guided by a value often called "research justice," the recognition that marginalized communities are experts in their own lives, and should have the capacity & resources to create, analyze, and utilize data to effectively advance their agendas. We will also be extending the geography of the Atlas to allow for analysis across more of Oregon, and between the major population centers of Portland and Seattle. And, we will be updating data, developing capacity within community-based organizations and community leaders to use the atlas, and expanding on the equity stories, illuminating further connections between lived experiences and larger patterns evident in the data.

By working hand-in-hand with community members to design a tool that fully represents the reality of disparities in our communities, and by expanding our scope beyond just the Portland metro area, we can ensure that our engagement process is both meaningful and equitable. Stay tuned for what's to come!

We're deeply thankful to our partners at Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, and Bullitt Foundation for their support in updating and expanding the Regional Equity Atlas; we could not do this project without the generous support of our philanthropic community. If you want to learn more about the Atlas, or to stay in touch about the project as it evolves, please contact 1000 Friends of Oregon's Community Engagement Coordinator, Andrew Riley, at andrew@friends.org or (503) 497-1000, x129