Saturday, October 26, 2019

Is "Community Heart and Soul" Right for Union?

The Main Street Union Economic and Development Committee has been charged with developing goals to help advance The City Union into the future. As the committee engages with its citizens, there are some obvious goals that have been articulated; revitalize Main Street, take advantage of the resources the community has to offer visitors and bring employment and industry back to Union.

Our first task in developing goals for our small community of 2100 was the creation of a survey! When we put pen to paper the task emerged into something more daunting. Additional questions arose like, what type of industry is important to our community, what resources such as The Union County Museum, The Union Golf Course or the Union Hotel are of most of value in bringing visitors to our community and more importantly will this survey engage the entire community such as veterans, youth and religious groups?

A referral by Northeast Oregon Economic Development District to the "Community Heart and Soul: Guide To What Matter Most" , book about community engagement, came to light as a possible tool to refine our survey and identify all populations within our community for engagement.

The 80 page the "Community Heart and Soul: Guide To What Matter Most" by The Orton Family Foundation is available for free download at: . Hard copies of the Field Guide are available for purchase.

The document is described by its authors as: "This Field Guide is an overview of our four-phase method that breaks the process down into manageable steps".  Additionally, the document outlines the following, "Community Heart & Soul’s lasting benefits rest on our three principles: Involve Everyone, Focus on What Matters, and Play the Long Game".

The four phases are: Lay your groundwork, Explore your community, Make decisions and Take Action.

These four phases are broken into steps with checklists to help guide readers through the process.
For example in phase one, Lay your groundwork, the steps are:

Get Organized, Create a Work Plan, Spread The Word.
Phase Two and Three are: Gather and Share Stories, Identify What Matters The Most, Develop Options, Make Choices and Formalize Decisions

Phase four is dedicated to mobilizing resources, following through and cultivating "Heart and Soul".

"The Community Heart and Soul: Guide To What Matter Most" seems like an option to help the Main Street Union Economic and Development Committee focus on clear step to include the entire community in decision making and develop a survey that will provide useful information.

A drawback to the system is how fit the activities of the Main Street Union Economic and Development Committee to-date into the field guide and step-by-step plan without slowing momentum for the group.

For more information see:


Main Street Union and Economic Development Committee’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in Union Oregon by leveraging the community...