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17 nel, for example, the committee discusses what would hap- prepares and sends meeting materials to the vision-impaired pen if they didn't have a tunnel--and the engineers are there, member 1 to 2 days in advance to allow him adequate prepa- so they can listen to concerns and respond to questions." ration time. Care is used to send him the materials in a for- mat adaptable to his reader, and visual images are translated into specific verbal descriptions. During the CAC meeting presentations, project engineers are careful to describe all visual materials in detail to allow all committee members to fully participate. Recruiting and retaining CAC members with disabilities has benefited both the project and the Metropolitan Coun- cil immensely. According to Caufman, "the Metropolitan Council has really learned a lot about the needs of the dis- abled community." Lessons Learned FIGURE 4 Metropolitan Council Chair Peter Bell talks with Since the CAC was established in early 2007, two main chal- members of the Central Corridor Community Advisory lenges emerged. The first involved meeting format. Initially, Committee. Source: Metropolitan Council. CAC meetings were conducted in more of a workshop format using informal breakout focus groups. However, they received Although this structure has been somewhat controversial overwhelming feedback from members that this practice was within the CAC, the majority of members are content with not working. Committee members began inviting additional the discussion format. "One of the problems with voting is members of the public who shared their viewpoint to "stack" that it would not be purely democratic as far as equal repre- the compilation of meeting comments one way or another. In sentation is concerned," Caufman explained. "Even with 40 this format, it was difficult to tell who was an official CAC members, you can't represent the entire corridor." Overall, member and who was a public-at-large member. CAC mem- the Central Corridor CAC has successfully moved through bers were concerned that they could not reach all of the tables 37 issues during the project scoping, design, and preliminary that interested them during the time allotted. After hearing engineering phases. CAC member feedback, project staff adopted a more tradi- tional presentation and question-and-answer format. Innovative Practices The second lesson learned was the benefit of breaking One strength of the Central Corridor CAC was the metic- out business community stakeholders from citizen group ulous attention paid to ensuring that a diverse array of stakeholders. In response to divergent subject interests and stakeholder voices within the project area is represented preferences about meeting times (business people prefer to throughout the planning process. The Metropolitan Council meet during work hours) project staff developed a separate has worked to ensure diversity of representation by pursuing Business Advisory Committee (BAC). This encouraged the following: participation by business members. Including stakeholder representatives from more than 30 groups within the project corridor Trimet, Portland, Oregon: Advisory Actively recruiting and including members with Committees that Provide Continuous disabilities Involvement from Initial Corridor Planning Hiring a multilingual outreach coordinator team to through Design collect input from hard-to reach immigrant and minor- ity communities Agency: TriMet In addition to ethnic and geographic diversity, the Cen- Contact: Ann Becklund, Director of Community Affairs tral Corridor CAC also includes a vision-impaired and two and Claudia Steinberg, Manager of Community Affairs mobility-impaired members. Stakeholder organizations rep- resented on the CAC include the American Council for the Committee: I-205, Portland Mall, and Milwaukee Light Blind and the Minnesota State Council on Disability. Staff Rail Community Advisory Committees

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18 TABLE 6 the majority of capital projects. CACs are formed on an ad TRIMET CAC HIGHLIGHTS hoc basis in response to specific agency or project needs. 21 to 25 members (dependent on The committees are created early in the process to invite Members project needs) input from the beginning and disband once the project is Invited members approved by policy- complete. Selection process level committee Advisory Committee Approach Authority level Recommendations Reporting Reports to Policy Committee via CAC Agency staff develop a charge for each CAC. CACs are relationships chair not guided by formal rules because a CAC's primary role Note: CAC = citizen advisory committee. can change throughout the planning process, as the project moves from the early planning to the final design and con- struction stages. Clear expectations are communicated by Overview the agency as the CAC's role changes. In general, however, CACs perform the following functions throughout the plan- TriMet provides transit service in three counties in the Port- ning process: land, Oregon, region. The transit agency has constructed 44 miles of light rail since the 1980s and is currently in the design Sharing information with community members phase of the 6-mile Portland to Milwaukee Light Rail Project Gathering information from community members to that will include a new bridge over the Willamette River. share with the agency Acting as spokesperson (e.g., speaking engagements, As the region's transit agency, TriMet operates buses, media contacts) light rail, and commuter rail, while also partnering with Providing input the city of Portland to operate a streetcar. TriMet typically Developing recommendations leads design and construction for major high-capacity transit Endorsing major decisions. projects while Metro, the area's MPO and elected regional government, leads the planning phases. Generally, Metro CACs provide input to the multiagency steering commit- leads planning and public involvement through the comple- tee, the policy committee, and the agency project managers. tion of the draft environmental impact statement for major Frequently, the CAC chair is also a member of the Steering capital projects; TriMet generally leads projects from the Committee and serves as a liaison between the two groups. preliminary engineering stage through construction and CAC recommendations are generally advisory, although the operations. specific level of decision-making authority can vary by com- mittee. CAC recommendations are given a lot of weight and Regardless of which agency is in the lead, TriMet and are taken seriously by decision makers. In the rare event a Metro use a similar approach to decision making on these CAC recommendation is not adopted, the reasons are clearly large, complex, and often controversial projects. Typically, explained in a CAC meeting. the agencies engage elected officials, staff, and community members in a network of advisory committees from the Although the network of various committee types allows early stages of project planning to the final project design for the participation of elected officials and agency staff and construction. Elected and appointed officials participate throughout the planning process, participation on the CAC as part of a steering committee or policy committee, senior is restricted to community members only. According to Ann staff participate as part of a project management group, Becklund, TriMet's director of Community Affairs, "For our jurisdictional staff participate as part of a technical advisory community, peer committees of citizen representatives have committee, and community members participate as part of worked well, rather than mixing elected officials or paid staff a CAC. This committee structure is an expected part of the with citizen volunteers on our CACs. The presence of elected process for planning and constructing light rail and provides officials on this type of lay committee may politicize the pro- each interested community with an appropriate place to par- cess and skew the balance of CACs." ticipate in the process. The same CAC stays in place through- out the entire project, from planning to construction, despite TriMet recruits a diverse range of members to repre- the change in agency leadership from phase to phase. sent communities affected by the project. Many committee members begin serving on CACs during the early planning TriMet prides itself on community engagement and stages of a project and continue throughout the project's life involvement. TriMet assigns a community affairs manager despite the fact that the lead agency changes. The size of and outreach team to each project and designs an appropriate each CAC is as large as necessary to get the needed diversity involvement strategy for each project. The agency engages of viewpoints. In practice, this amounts to about 21 to 25 CACs as part of the overall public involvement process for members. For example, the PortlandMilwaukee Light Rail