What should Molalla look and feel like in the future is a question the City of Molalla wants help in determining.
To that end, the city is ready for phase 2 of the Molalla Area Visioning Project, and it wants community input.
With phase 1 complete, the city now turns to phase 2, which includes a survey that will be open to the public through Jan. 31, 2018. To access the survey, go to https://molalla.forms-db.com/view.php?id=13822.
"City council set a goal to do a visioning process last year. Once the new council members were seated this year, they tasked Leota (fellow councilor Leota Childress) and I to lead the project and come up with a process," explained Molalla City Councilor Elizabeth Klein. "We reached out to the Ford Family Foundation and received support from Roque Barros."
"He helped us understand what successful community outreach processes look like and encouraged us to embark on a 90-day pilot project to see if the community would support the process."
Additionally, the city received an $850 grant from the Ford Family Foundation to help pay for the pilot project.
The city offered community members a look at what phase 1 had produced during a community visioning meeting on June 21. Nearly 50 visioning leaders met at Molalla High School to hear a presentation of findings from the approximately 140 surveys that were completed.
Word clouds were used to demonstrate feedback from the surveys with the larger words reflecting the most common themes.
What phase 1 revealed was that Molalla-area residents want to connect through social media such as the city website and Facebook primarily. The initial work also revealed that Molalla residents associate words like "beautiful, country, small town, friendly, tranquil and safe" with the town.
The survey should take about five minutes to work through and asks questions such as "What do you like about the Molalla area?" and "List 3 things that you would like to see added to the Molalla area to improve quality of life."
"Personally, I'm excited to see what we learn from this broader outreach," said Klein. "Especially what will be revealed about what is valued in our community, what people want and are willing to invest in, and how they see Molalla in the future. I believe it's a pivotal time for our area and there is so much potential for good things to happen here."
At the June 21 meeting, participants were asked four questions. Here's the feedback.
What Encourages You?
- The positive feedback and overwhelming optimism.
- The response to the visioning process.
- Acknowledgement of the importance of people and relationships.
- Pride in community and this place.
- People are invested in this city.
- The action words people used "Growing", "Raising a Family", etc.
-Positive feedback about leadership changes both in city and community groups.
- Sheer number of people who are interested in improving the downtown.
- People used words to describe the community as "calm" and "safe."
What Surprises You?
- That people don't have a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of school district, city, etc.
- The number of people interested in having better or more access to trails, walking paths, recreation close-in to town .
- There was an abundance of similar responses which included positive words or phrases.
- The desire for the community to affect change even in areas where city does not have control (i.e. ODOT).
- Perception of where "center of town" really is. There is little to attract people to the downtown area.
- City staff was surprised that some feedback confirmed City was doing a good job in certain areas Spanish speaking families would like to engage, but may not be receiving information or invitations.
- Limited responses using negative words.
What Do The Results Say?
- People are completely vested – they want to keep things going in the right directions.
- Communication is key – need to do this better.
- The number of people that filled out the survey indicates that people want to be engaged.
- We will have an opportunity to articulate community values with what we have and will learn.
- There are loud and negative people in every community, but this feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
- People want to be connected – having a relational value statement will be core.
- We need to figure out how to change habits and get people to stop in our downtown by arousing curiosity.
- The community is ready for this process.
- It may be a pivotal point to take the city to the next level.
- Architectural uniformity in downtown needs to be addressed.
- We need to define "community" broadly to make all the people we serve feel like they are included and belong (there are 46,000 people in our service area with only 9,000 living in city limits).
- What is measured gets done.
- We will get unity through our values.