What does your town need to thrive in 2033?‏

Many of you joined us for the a conversation about envisioning our small town commons in 2033 at the Rural Caucus & Strategy Session in June. Since then, ROP has taken this conversation across the state and it has been an exciting couple of months on the road! We have been going community to community, living room to living room, to discuss what our towns need to thrive 20 years from now, and what we can do to make that vision a reality starting right now. As you can imagine, the conversations have been dynamic and rich, and have helped identify local priorities for how ROP can support groups in advancing democracy in their communities in 2014. Here we will share a small snapshot of the thinking that has come out so far! Contact me at jessica@rop.org if you’re interested in bringing this conversation to your town!

The invitation reads: “You are invited to a living room conversation on what a community needs from the commons to thrive. We all know that our commons — what we hold in common, from social services to our environment — are under siege. What publicly-owned commons does rural and small town Oregon need and deserve to be strong, healthy, and vibrant? How do we begin to create the communities we want to live in? This conversation will consider a commons that we shape and have bottom lines about.”

The conversation agenda digs into the following questions:

What do you need to still be in this community 20 years from now? What will the next generation need to stay in this community?
What institutions already exist in our communities? What are the ways folks are working together to create solutions to the ever growing holes in our safety nets?
What can we do create real spheres of democratic decision-making in our communities?
What are we going to do about the ballot coming up in November 2014? How are folks locally talking about access to drivers cards? Marriage equality?
The first question ROP asked is, “what do you need to remain living in this community twenty years from now?” Check out how a couple of Southern Oregon communities answered below:

Josephine County said:

Quality higher education (robust, a lot of options), a major university
Cultural activities
Wild green spaces
An active political left
A right to say no to pesticide spraying on their property
Law enforcement
Regulation of logging
No GMO contamination putting farmers out of business
State Bank, collective management of our money, “claim an economy of our own”
Healthcare – we owe it to ourselves and our fellow citizens
A baseline of social service baseline for everyone
We have a need for some public and some private (we don’t want our newspapers written by our government)
Libraries, roads, schools, clean water
Access to land (cost prohibitive right now)
Access to groceries and books within 10mi
Art school, clown school, transformative social justice theater
A creative culture that supports artistic jobs
Public transportation
No discrimination based on gender/race/LGBTQ
Access to the ability to affect change pretty immediately
A common space for people to gather (like a centrally located park? No expectation to pay to use it, as with coffee shop)
Jackson County added:

Livable climate
Employment — living wage
Independent economy — transportation, production
Maintain rural agriculture — stop exporting out so much and feed our people here
Independent energy — end oil dependency
Education closer to home — apprenticeships, trades, vocational training
Break out of global economic system
Reasonable retirement
What would you add to this list? Are you interested in bringing this conversation to your community? Contact me at
jessica@rop.org and we will touch base about when ROP can come out to your town!