Three Valleys Project

Bridge Building Activities 
Commonway Institute seeks and creates opportunities to bring people together in activities such as the  Three Valleys Project (3VP).  The 3VP, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, worked over a three year period to build bridges of understanding and civic engagement among potential adversaries in small towns.  Latino and Anglo youth, farmworkers and growers, law enforcement and schools, and other stakeholders met in facilitated roundtable discussions that eased cultural tensions and built common ground. 

The Three Valleys Project assisted small towns in easing cultural tensions created by rapidly shifting demographics, by facilitating roundtable discussions among potential adversaries. 

Where is
“Three Valleys”? 
“Three Valleys” is not a place; it refers to the three target areas of our work.  The “three valleys” are rural agricultural areas which surround the city of Portland, OR.  These areas include: 
  • Hood River Valley (Hood River, White Salmon, Cascade Locks, etc.) 
  • Mid-Willamette Valley (Woodburn, Hubbard, Gervais, etc.) 

  • Tualatin Valley (Forest Grove, Cornelius, etc.) 
    “Three Valleys” is also a state of mind: Three Valleys exists anywhere people are trying to come to grips with changes in their communities. 
    The Goals of 3VP 
    There were three principal goals for 3VP:  Moving Beyond Fear:  Embracing A Multi-Cultural Reality 
    reducing racism, cultural antagonism and social isolation; building cultural diversity and sensitivity. 
    Generating A Civic Dialog 
    facilitating the creation and expansion of a larger civic community; helping all of the people who live in a given area become full participating citizens of that area. 
    Encouraging Systemic Change 
    addressing systemic and institutional problems challenging true multi-cultural citizenship in the Valleys. 
    The 3VP Stakeholders
    We worked with representatives of all  of the stakeholder groups in each area.  3VP  philosophy: we cannot have a meaningful dialog unless all significant points of view are participating.  Primary stakeholder groups include:  civic/government; law enforcement; social service providers; growers and other employers of Latinos; schools; Latino and Anglo youth; farmworker advocates; businesses; legal/courts; cultural services; religion. 
    The Need For 3VP 
    The United States is in the beginning stages of the most dramatic demographic shift since millions of African-Americans left the South following Reconstruction.  The Latinization of America is being felt everywhere, including the small towns and rural areas of  the Pacific Northwest. 
    In both large and small towns, there is little interaction between Anglo and Latino populations unless there is a crisis, like a shooting or a critical need for social services.  There is little context for the Anglo and Latino populations to interact.  This isolation, denial and alienation feeds into the general malaise and pulling apart of the social fabric that America is experiencing as a nation. In the face of rapidly shifting ethnicity, there are no built up networks, shared norms, collaborative problem-solving and trust -- the elements of social capital. 
    There are lots of projects that try to make things better for special interest groups; 

    How Is 3VP  Different?

    Our work is not to benefit any particular group; our work is to benefit all.  We are not an Hispanic advocacy group, nor an Anglo advocacy group, nor a businesspersons’ advocacy group.  We are “Advocates of the Whole”; instead of working to benefit a special interest group, our work is not over until all stakeholders in a conversation reach consensus.  Our goal is to create an inclusive process, leading to an inclusive community. 
    Return to "Creating a World That Works for All"
    Return to Commonway Home Page