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It’s an exciting time for the Oregon IDA Initiative. Yesterday, Governor Brown announced more than $9 million of IDA funds are headed to Oregon communities. And Assets Opportunity Day, April 28th, is right around the corner. That means buses, vans and cars from every corner of the state will converge on the capitol to talk about the amazing Oregon IDA Initiative and the value of saving and building assets that make dreams come true.
This is one of those special opportunities when you get to gather with people like you who just get it. And you get to stand with them and potentially make Oregon a better place for thousands of others by sharing your passion about IDAs with legislators.
In early March a very similar event was held for housing advocates and it was a blast. But most importantly it kicked off incredible momentum and energy in Salem for stable, affordable homes that looks like it could yield major funding results. You can check out a recap here.
But along with all the excitement comes questions about the details. Here are some FAQs we’ve compiled based on questions we’ve been getting from people like you. Let us know if you have any questions that aren’t answered below.
We can’t stress enough that registering ahead of time will ensure your best possible experience. With your registration we can get an accurate head count for food and have the best chance of scheduling you with your legislator (some legislators ask for a list of constituents before they will take a meeting).
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I go?
We’ll be starting the day at The Spinning Room at the Willamette Heritage Center (1313 Mill St SE, Salem). This is where you’ll get information about what group you’ll be with, when your legislative appointments are, trainings and it is also where the food will be.
How do I get to The Spinning Room?
- Once at the Willamette Heritage Center, enter through the first building which has a sign that reads: “Mission Mill Museum & Marion County Historical Society.”
- Follow signs to pass through this building to the outside courtyard.
- Cross the courtyard to the “Thomas Kay Woolen Mill”, take the elevator to the 3rd floor
- Enter the Spinning Room!
There will be very clear signage to direct you to the Spinning Room.
Where do I park?
There is a large parking lot at the Willamette Heritage Center. If we exceed their lot, we will have parking passes available.
Buses cannot park at the Willamette Heritage Center. They will be able to drop participants off. Please ask your bus driver to pick participants up in front of the capitol. Access to the Willamette Heritage Center ends at 3pm.
Will there be food and beverages?
There will be coffee, tea, soda and water available throughout the day. We will have breakfast items like pastries and fruit in the morning. There will be a boxed lunch with sandwiches chips and fruit. We will have some gluten-free and vegetarian options available. Lunch will arrive at 11 am in The Spinning Room at the Heritage Center and there will be time to eat lunch before and after the noon rally.
How do I make sure I get a boxed lunch and a visit with my legislator?
Register! By signing up here, you ensure that we have the information we need to order enough food and schedule legislative visits.
What is the day’s agenda?
The schedule isn't set in stone because of the busy nature of the legislature. Please allow for last minute changes. You'll get a complete and detailed agenda the day of the event. But here is what you likely can expect!
9 AM - Registration opens!
- Legislative visits are scheduled throughout the day, check in with your team lead when you arrive
Morning activities include:
- Meet Your Team & Start Prepping for Visits!
- Welcome & Agenda
- Presentations from Other Assets Groups
- Issue Training & How to Talk to Your Legislator
- Lunch will arrive at 11, there will be time to eat lunch before and after the rally
Noon – Rally on the capitol steps!
- Group photo
Afternoon activities include:
- Legislative Visits
- Completing Visit Report Forms
3 PM – The Spinning Room closes
- Please be prepared to spend the rest of your time at the capitol building. We will be available to answer questions and provide you support from the informational tent area set up on the capitol steps.
4 PM – Our day ends
What if I have a morning appointment with my legislator?
We will do our best to alert you right when you arrive that you have a morning meeting with your legislator. Our preference is to schedule them in the afternoon, but we have to accommodate the legislators’ schedules. There will be a chance to catch up on training activities later in the day.
What if I can’t make it in the morning or I need to leave early?
Please let us know (email us here) if you haven’t already about late arrivals or early departures. We will do our best to schedule legislative meetings when you are here. We have many groups making long drives from southern, eastern, central and far northwest Oregon. Contact us with questions.
What do I bring?
Bring your energy and enthusiasm! If you have any special dietary needs, please make sure to pack appropriate food. We will have some gluten-free and vegetarian options available.
What do I wear?
Dress in layers and be prepared for rain. It’s April in Oregon! Wear comfortable shoes, we will be walking a couple of blocks to the capitol building. There is no dress code, so wear what will make you proud to represent your community. We will have a limited number of orange IDA t-shirts available as well.
What do I say to my legislator?
You will have a chance to prepare for your meeting with a team lead who will be assigned to you at the event. Unless you are a team lead (which you'll know ahead of time) you won't be asked to answer technical details about legislation. Legislators just want to hear about your experiences. Here is a sample template for telling your story. You may want to think about it ahead of time because you'll have a short amount of time to talk. Legislative meetings are 15 minutes or less.
- Speak to values: What dream or value did your/their IDA help you achieve? Did it help make your life better for your kids? Did it open new paths to opportunity or prosperity?
- Provide background: What was life like before your IDA/before your participant’s IDA? What challenges were you/they facing?
- Give specifics: What did your IDA do for you/for your participant? What was it like?
- Share local details: Who helped make this possible? (what program did you/they participate in?). Could other people in your community accomplish their dreams if they access to the IDA?
Will I definitely get to speak to my legislator?
Many people will get a chance to speak. Everyone will have a chance to make a difference. We can't guarantee you'll be able to speak, but just showing up and meeting your legislator face-to-face or waving at them at the rally makes a huge difference. The vast majority of people in the state don't take the time to travel to Salem to advocate. Showing up tells your elected official that you're motivated, care about this issue and their decision to support it will make a difference in your district.
Are there materials I can see ahead of time?
Of course. We will have copies of these on April 28, but you can check out the one-pagers:
More questions? Please email us.
A few days ago Rep. Gene Whisnant (R-Sunriver) was walking the narrow halls of the capitol building. He ran into someone from a prominent organization in Central Oregon. During their conversation, this person told Rep. Whisnant that his organization was thinking of endorsing the IDA legislation. Without hesitation Rep. Whisnant enveloped the person in a big hug of appreciation.
Oregon legislators and leaders are hearing your message loud and clear. The Oregon IDA Initiative works and more people need to be able to participate! But we’re still in the first half of the legislative session. We need to keep the momentum going. How the IDA will look in the next 7 years depends on you.
HB 2011 Passes Out of Committee Unanimously
Thanks to Chair Tobias Reed and the Higher Education, Innovation, and Workforce Development for their leadership and unanimous passage of the Oregon IDA Bill (HB 2011) to the Joint Committee on Tax Credits.
And thanks to you! The energy and insight shown by supporters of the Oregon IDA Initiative have made all the difference.
Oregon’s future depends on removing barriers to opportunity for all residents. And removing those barriers depends on building financial skills, savings and an attitude of hope.
We know how we can get more people to participate fully in the economy and grow local communities.
If we are able to renew, expand, and increase the IDA more than 17,000 people will be new homeowners, small business owners or will be able to get an education.
But the reality in Salem is a good idea isn’t enough. Legislators need to hear from voters that IDAs are one of the issues they need to pay attention to. If their neighbors and constituents care – they will too.
Here are two things you can do that would make the biggest impact on the renewal and expansion of the IDA.
Advocate for IDAs in Salem or Near Your City
1) Come to Salem and Advocate
Assets Opportunity Day – the day largely devoted to asking legislators to renew and expand the IDA – is on April 28. That’s just around the corner. And we need you there.
We know Salem is a long way for some. But showing up in person to speak to your elected officials face-to-face has immeasurable impact.
Here’s what you can expect if you come:
- All breakfast, lunch and beverages will be provided
- You receive a training on how to speak to legislators and what legislative meetings look like.
- We’ll schedule meetings with legislators for you, so you don’t have to worry about those logistics.
- There will be a fun, inspiring noon-time rally where you get to share your passion with people like you.
Let us know if travel is a barrier.
2) Advocate at a local Ways and Means Roadshow
Speak face-to-face with members of the powerful Ways and Means committee. Speaking up at these “Roadshows” will remind committee members that the legislature has an opportunity to make dreams come true for 17,000 people working to provide for their families and communities.
Let us know if you can attend and would like to testify and we will follow up with more details. Also, the hearings tend to fill up quickly so arrive early! The hearings are scheduled as follows:
Friday, April 10 – La Grande
5:30 -7 p.m. at Eastern Oregon University
Saturday, April 11 – Boardman
12:30-2 p.m. at the S.A.G.E Center at the Port of Morrow
Tuesday, April 14 – Lincoln City
6:30 - 8 p.m. in the Lincoln City Cultural Center
Thursday, April 16 – Gresham
7 - 8:30 p.m. at Mt. Hood Community College
Tuesday, April 21 – Portland (PCC Rock Creek)
7 – 8:30 p.m. – at the Portland Community College Rock Creek Campus
Thursday, April 23 – Springfield
6:30 - 8 p.m. – (site to be determined)
Friday, April 24 – Klamath Falls
5:30-7 p.m. – at the Oregon Institute of Technology
Saturday, April 25 – Grants Pass
12:30-2 p.m. –Performing Arts Center Lecture Hall at Grants Pass High School
Participating in these face-to-face events sticks with legislators. They’ll remember your face and your passion. And who knows, they may even give you a hug.