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Uplifting youth voices in participatory budgeting

Youth Voice, Youth Vote PB (YV² PB)

Project Background

Youth Voice Youth Vote Project Area

Youth are uniquely impacted by COVID-19 and are vastly underrepresented in government decisions made on their behalf. That’s why PB Oregon is co-launching the Youth Voice, Youth Vote PB (YV² PB) in 2022. Oregon's first PB process, YV² PB, enlists youth to propose and select over $500,000 in COVID-19 relief and recovery projects in State Senate Districts 24 and 25, a project area (right) that spans East Portland, East Multnomah County, and portions of North Clackamas County and over seven school districts. The first cycle of PB in 2022 and 2023 allocated American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars committed by State Legislators Kayse Jama, Chris Gorsek, and Ricki Ruiz. A second cycle could allocate ARPA funds from the City of Portland and City of Gresham within a smaller project area in 2023 and 2024. Over the course of two PB cycles, YV² PB aims to engage at least 5,000 people in exercising their power to benefit their communities and spearhead PB in Oregon. In the process, YV² PB promises to expand civic leadership and organizing skills while enhancing and rebuilding community, relationships, and mental health outcomes. 

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Oregon's First Participatory Budgeting Process

By sharing real power over real money, participatory budgeting (PB) taps the expertise of those most impacted by systemic inequities by provides a mechanism to directly engage those most underrepresented in government in decision making. By exercising their power though the PB process, participants expand the civic leadership and organizing skills that power social movements while building trust and transparency around the use of public funds. PB has spread rapidly around the globe since starting in Brazil in 1989 and across the US after launching in Chicago in 2009. But PB has yet to come to Oregon––until now. With the strategic investment of ARPA funds by State Legislators, organizational commitments, and both individual and grant donations to kickstart this effort, YV² PB launched Oregon's first PB process.


The first PB cycle starting in 2022 aims to engage at least 2,000 youth across these phases. The steering committee co-designed the process and produced the process rule book generation in the Summer. Idea collection occurred in the Fall.

Youth and partnering organizations transformed youth-generated ideas into feasible project proposals for the ballot in the project development and voting phases. Youth cast more than 800 votes by the July 15 deadline to select five projects:

  1. Young Professionals

  2. Summer Job Fair

  3. Youth Housing/Rental Assistance

  4. Menstrual/Hygiene Products

  5. Youth Art Collective

Project implementation is active through the end of 2024.

Implementing Organizations

Participatory Budgeting Oregon selected five organizations to to collaborate with youth to design, budget, and implement projects. All but one organization stayed on in 2024 to implement the projects. PB Oregon announced a request for proposals for a new organization to implement a project for the Housing & Homeless Services category. 

Youth Health Services

Hey Doc Clinic

Housing & Homeless Services

Native American Youth & Family Center

Youth Public Art

Friends of Noise

Youth Recreation & Cultural Programs


Economic Justice

Day One Tech


Participatory Budgeting Oregon and Core Organizations Behind  YV² PB

Five core organizations (Core 5), Seeding Justice, a local foundation, and the three State Legislators signed a Declaration of Cooperation in June 2021 to launch YV² PB

PB Oregon We work for more participatory and just public budgeting for all Oregonians by centering the expertise and leadership of underrepresented communities.


Rosewood Initiative A place-based nonprofit that supports community-driven solutions for a healthier neighborhood. We work together with neighbors and partners to make an impact on the lives of Rosewood residents.


East County Rising Community Projects A grassroots organization energizing East Multnomah County residents to create equitable, livable communities centering underrepresented & marginalized people


Unite Oregon Led by people of color, immigrants and refugees, rural communities, and people experiencing poverty, we work across Oregon to build a unified intercultural movement for justice.

Play Grow Learn Dedicated to healthy opportunities for sheltered and underserved youth in the community to play, grow, and learn. Initially aimed to support homeless youth, with the extended mission to serve all disenfranchised youth and families.

After several months of planning, PB Oregon, Unite Oregon, Rosewood Initiative, East County Rising Community Projects, Play Grow Learn, and Seeding Justice signed a Memoranda of Understanding on March 7, 2022 to implement the first cycle of YV² PB in 2022-2023. The Core 5 organizations are engaged in a variety of project planning activities with the goal of launching idea collection in October.

Since signing the Declaration of Cooperation last July, we have raised over $60,000 from private foundations for process development and implementation. We are actively pursuing an additional $130,000 in funding support robust youth-led design and implementation. In the first cycle, we hoped to engage at least 2,000 youth through process design, idea collection, project development, outreach, and voting to decide how to spend at least $500,000 in ARPA funds, and project implementation. We are also pursing a larger pot ARPA funds from the City of Portland and City of Gresham for a second cycle of PB in 2023-2024 that would engage an additional 3,000 youth.

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