At a Glance
The city of Tigard, OR offered support for local businesses during the economic uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. They used their online community engagement site to provide accessible and valid resources as well as information around Tigard CARES, commercial assistance and relief for economic stability fund.
As communities around the globe are grappling with the same health crisis, City of Tigard needed a way to mitigate disinformation, provide an outlet for residents to share their ideas and concerns, as well as provide a comprehensive location for COVID-19 related resources to support community needs.
The City of Tigard has created an amazing set of resources for its general population and the business community. The city hosts a general question and answer tool about COVID-19 that allows the public to set the agenda in the conversation. In some instances, the questions are about city services, partner resources, or safety information. In all circumstances, the city is a conduit of factual information. They dispel myths or rumors and create a one-stop location for community members to get their questions answered during a very confusing time.
Tigard CARES is a commercial assistance and relief for economic stability fund that can be applied for in both English and Spanish, through EngageTigard. Great care has been given to answering common questions and providing specific staff member names and emails so the public can easily retrieve information as basic as a business license number, required for the application. Beyond applications, a series of roundtable forums are hosted for small businesses to share ideas and resources among themselves.
The City also launched an online engagement project called, Shop Tigard, designed to pull in general community participation in an effort to support local businesses. The Places tool (a tool that allows the public to drop pins on a map to share information via text or image) has been utilized as a crowd-sourced map for the public to share which businesses are open. Along with public participation, businesses, themselves, can share their own stories of creativity regarding the safe delivery of goods and services.
- “Tigard CARES” made information and documents easily accessible for the community’s local businesses in need of economic relief grants during the COVID-19 economic uncertainty.
- “You Ask, We Answer” provided a Q&A space for open communication between community and government, answering questions, and providing transparency in the Council’s local response to COVID-19.
- “Shop Tigard” has been a positive influence on both residents & businesses in the community by highlighting local businesses that were safely continuing operations during social distancing.
- “RAFT” supports Tigard residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund provides grants to Tigard-serving non-profits, faith organizations, and other impacted agencies.
- Tigard made their engagement site multi-lingual, creating an accessible and inclusive environment for residents to safely participate and gather information in their native language.
- Brevity and Precision; digital community engagement is more important than ever in the COVID-19 environment and it requires a different approach than in-person events.
- Given that the pandemic is evolving daily, the digital space should reflect current decision-making processes and continuity plans at the same rate.
- Strategically selecting the right digital engagement tools that match the type of feedback the City needs to support residents will provoke more meaningful responses from the community.
- Creating clear and precise digital alternatives to speaking at council meetings brings the public to your engagement space weekly. Use their time wisely to move other projects forward.
- Proactive, positive, and valid messaging is critical in building trust and creating a partnership between government and community.
Who Should Consider?
Any government organization that wants to effectively execute resident engagement efforts for better project planning, to build trust within their community, and to communicate progress to stakeholders.