In Their Own Words: Bold Goals for Our State and Our Communities

Oregonians share, in their own words, the bold goals they would like to see achieved in their state or in their community.

Image: Bulletin board, "Goals", blank sticky notes

From March 5th through 10th, 2021, the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center conducted a statewide survey of Oregonians’ values and beliefs, including whether there are bold goals they would like the state and their community to strive for over the next decade. Individuals who responded that they did have such a goal, were asked what that goal is. This online survey consisted of 601 Oregon residents ages 18+ and took approximately 15 minutes to complete. Responses were analyzed and categorized to allow for a better understanding of trends in Oregonians’ values and beliefs. The survey’s margin of error, for the full sample, ranges from ±2.4% to ±4.0% depending on how the response category percentages split for any given question. Findings will include a citation of the relevant question, which can be referenced in the annotated questionnaire and tabs at the bottom of the page.

Respondents were split into two groups, where Split A (n=301) weighed in on goals related to Oregon statewide (Q16-17) and Split B (n=300) weighed in on goals related to their community (Q18-19). Neither group responded to both sets of questions. Respondents were told: “Some of the following questions will make reference to “your community.” Please consider the term to mean all the people in the community where you live.”

Bold Goals for Our State

  • Six in ten (61%) say there is a bold goal they would like Oregon to strive for over the next decade. Only 13% say they do not have such a goal and 26% are unsure. Men are more likely than women to say they have a goal for Oregon (65% vs. 57%). Women and those ages 65+ had the highest levels of unsure responses (34% and 35%, respectively) (Q16).
  • Those who said they have a bold goal they would like Oregon to strive for were asked to explain what that goal is. Responses varied, but there were some key themes, including: combating homelessness, ending the pandemic, fighting climate change, government reform, greater equity and inclusion, and helping businesses thrive. Overall, there were 54 mentions of “homeless (houseless)/homelessness (houselessness),” making this a top-tier goal for Oregonians. Below are some representative quotes (Q17):

“Better management of homelessness, mental health problems, and drug abuse. Early assistance, rehabilitation, counseling, support services, etc.”

Female, age 45-64, Lane County, white or Caucasian

“We need to get our state back open for business; it needs to be easier for businesses to survive in this state, which includes better tax benefits for small businesses. We need to reopen the schools and not have online learning only. The children do not benefit from this, they need to mix with others and learn from it.”

Female, age 65+, Marion County, white or Caucasian

“More Independence from government overreach and bloat. Getting back to what made our state work. Bring back logging, fishing industries. Don’t let Portland and Salem speak for the entire state.”

Male, age 45-64, Clatsop County, white or Caucasian

“For Oregonians to be able to have more affordable housing. Not just for low-income individuals but the struggling, working, middle class families. When the minimum wage is increased, the cost of living always goes up along with it…I would love to see more of us to be able to go back to work and fix our economy by coming together as a community. The homelessness crisis among the youth and adults alike is also heartbreaking and must be tended to as well. Our people, fellow Americans, are hurting out here for help.”

Female, age 18-29, Jackson County, Hispanic/Latinx
Title: What is your bold goal for Oregon?
Wordcloud (in order of prominence): Homelessness, government reform, livability, help people, better, affordable, community, tax reform, healthcare, small businesses, education, work together, different governor, equality, children, freedom, diversity, less liberalism, wages, equality, reopen, drugs, reopen schools, respect, balance, global warming, republican government

“Make government accountable at all levels – zero tolerance of lies and misinformation from government and public servants.”

Male, age 45-64, Washington County, Asian or Pacific Islander

“More solar and wind power for all. More public housing options with case management services for the homeless and unhoused. Combined police and mental health units called out to most emergency calls for citizen help. Expanded alcohol and drug addiction services. More low-cost childcare for working families.”

Female, age 65+, Coos County, white or Caucasian

“That our government and the citizenry of this state could learn to understand each other better and we didn’t have this deep divide between the eastern and western part of this state. I feel this continued division will be the undoing of not only this state but the country.”

Male, age 65+, Deschutes County, white or Caucasian

Bold Goals for Our Communities

  • One half (50%) of Oregonians say they have a bold goal they would like their community to strive for over the next decade, 28% say they do not and 22% are unsure. Women are slightly more likely than men to say they have such a goal (53% vs. 48%). Those with school-aged children are more likely than those without to say they have a bold goal for their community (64% vs. 46%) (Q18).
  • Those who said they have a bold goal they would like their community to strive for were asked what that goal is. Responses varied, but key themes included: combating homelessness, increasing affordable housing, being compassionate and neighborly, having safe and clean neighborhoods, and increasing mental health services. There were 58 mentions of “homeless (houseless)/homelessness (houselessness),” meaning this was again a top-tier goal for Oregonians. Below are some representative quotes (Q19):
Title: What is your bold goal for your community?
Wordcloud (in order of prominence): Community, better, homelessness, work for the common good, help each other, everyone, affordability, cleaner and safer, local businesses, housing, equality, education, together, jobs, health, united, political tolerance, don't be like Portland, wages, climate change, economy

“To work together to solve the problems of homelessness and mental illness.”

Male, age 45-64, Jackson County, white or Caucasian

“To figure out housing for all – from homeless to working people who cannot afford to buy a home in our community.”

Female, age 65+, Deschutes County, white or Caucasian

“A sense of community, a sense that we are all in this together regardless of our differences, that we can work together.”

Female, age 65+, Washington County, Native American or American Indian

“Everyone who lives in this community has safe drinking water, secure shelter with heat and a place to cook and keep food refrigerated. Citizens will be safe walking the streets even at night. Police will have support and staffing when dealing with people dealing with mental illness. People dealing with mental illness and drug addiction will have timely in-patient treatment.”

Female, age 65+, Multnomah County, other ethnicity

“Provide housing for the homeless and mental health care to all who need it.”

Male, age 45-64, Multnomah County, white or Caucasian

“Safety, equality and good health. My hope is that we will all continue to safeguard our health, respect each other and find peaceful solutions to problems.”

Female, age 30-44, Multnomah County, Asian or Pacific Islander

Demographic Trends

Identifying What Unites Us and Understanding What Divides Us

  • Oregonians of color and whites are equally as likely to have bold goals for Oregon (both 61%), whereas Oregonians of color are slightly more likely than whites to have goals for their community (56% vs. 49%) (Q16, Q18).
  • Rural Oregonians are more likely than urbanites to have bold goals for Oregon (69% vs. 60%), whereas urban Oregonians are more likely than their rural counterparts to have goals for their community (60% vs. 50%) (Q16, Q18).

This research was completed as a community service by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center, an independent and non-partisan organization. OVBC is an Oregon charitable nonprofit corporation (www.oregonvbc.org).

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