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Advisory Committee Guidance

House Bill 2985, passed by the 2021 Legislative Assembly, directs ODOT to diversify its advisory committees to reflect Oregon’s population’s racial, ethnic and ability composition. The purpose of this page is to provide guidance to committees on equity and where it must be embedded in committee, board and commission practices, operations, charters, bylaws and agreements. People in a meeting

Steps to Take

Each committee should take steps to ensure that equity is prioritized, including:

  1. Reflect on the intent of HB 2985;
  2. Reflect on what diversity means to you as a committee member;
  3. Work to identify and define the “community you serve”; reference Oregon’s Social Equity Web App.
  4. Work to define how the community is being impacted by the decisions you make;
  5. Evaluate what gaps exist in community representation on your committee. Whose perspective is being left out? 
  6. Update committee charter or bylaws to reflect the equity guidance on this web page. Get community and stakeholder input on charter or bylaw updates. Reflect on input, what did you hear? What needs to change based on what you heard?
  7. Discuss each member’s personal responsibility to upholding equity within the committee’s discussions and decision making processes;
  8. Use the Committee Equity Readiness Assessment to assess the readiness of the committee to make needed changes;
  9. Discuss how each member is responsible for respecting and honoring the perspectives of others who experience the world differently than themselves.
To help committees take these steps we've provided detailed guidance below.


  1. Committee Purpose: What is the team tasked with doing? The purpose of the committee should be clear and understood by all members.
  2. Committee Vision and Mission and Values: As you develop your team’s vision mission and values, describe how they connect with ODOT’s mission, vision and values. How do you center equity in all your discussions and decisions? What commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is each member making?
    • ODOT Values: We embrace diversity and foster a culture of inclusion. 
    • Equity Statement: Each committee should consider how they will prioritize equity in their decision making. How will this be demonstrated? Be sure this statement is included in your charter or bylaws.

  1. ​What is a social equity lens? An equity lens is a thought process. It is our own mental tool we look through to ensure we see a problem and visit solutions from every possible viewpoint. In our case, this tool is questions we ask ourselves constantly, through different stages of projects or events, to make sure we don't lose sight of our goals. Looking through this lens interrupts existing bias, pivots longstanding patterns, and evaluates investments and guides decisions and actions.
  2. Apply  ODOT's Social Equity Lens;
    • How will historically excluded communities be informed, consulted, or involved? What methods or tools are you using for engagement? Be specific. 
    • How does this (project/engagement/activity/etc.) address the needs expressed by historically excluded communities? What are the benefits and burdens to those communities? 
    • Does this affect a high social equity index area as referenced in the Oregon’s Social Equity Web App​? If so, is there an opportunity to address economic or health disparities this community experiences?
    • Are there an opportunity in the work you engage with to increase safety and/or access for historically excluded communities? 

  1. C​ommittees should adopt guiding principles that incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion, a framework for expected behavior and decision-making. And should include: 
  2. Align goals and actions with ODOT’s Strategic Plan and the State of Oregon Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan. 
  3. Promote an environment that cultivates and maintains respect, support and inclusion.
  4. Welcome and increase diverse demographic representation and retention.
  5. Invite and meaningfully consider diverse viewpoints.
  6. Intentionally invest time and resources in educating ourselves and our community in actions to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
  7. Consider the equity implications of all policies, procedures and practices as they are created or reviewed. 

Ethical Conduct

  1. ODOT Advisory Committees are dedicated to creating an inclusive environment for everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, age, disability (physical or mental), sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, marital status, and political affiliation as well as gender expression, mental illness, socioeconomic status or background, neuro(a)typicality, or physical appearance. We’re united by ODOT’s values and we celebrate our unique differences. Expected behaviors:
  2. Be supportive of all committee members and stakeholders, both proactively and responsively. 
  3. Be inclusive, be intentional about how conversations translate across cultures and be deliberate in explaining ideas and concepts across diverse cultures and languages. 
  4. Be collaborative, involve all members in brainstorming, planning, discussions, reviews, etc. Share early and ask for feedback often. 
  5. Be generous in both giving and accepting feedback. Good feedback is kind, respectful, clear, and constructive and focused on goals and values rather than personal preferences. 
  6. Be kind. Be polite and friendly in all forms of communication, avoid sarcasm and be cognitive of differences in perception. 
  7. Creating a Code of Conduct for committees will help ensure accountability for behaviors and actions. If your committee doesn’t already have one, please reference ODOT’s Code of Conduct template. 


  1. Demonstrate professional judgment, integrity, strong communication, interpersonal skills, and a high degree of ethical conduct in situations of equity, access, and disparities relating to underrepresented and under-served populations.
  2. Listen to and collaborate with community leaders and community organizations to understand and elevate the needs and challenges facing their communities and creates equitable solutions that better project and service delivery.

​Committee Membership

All advisory committees must make a commitment to ensure representation of the committee is diverse and reflective of the communities we serve. This is to ensure that the viewpoints of those being impacted are included in the discussions and decisions. 
  • ODOT Advisory Committee Coordinator Role: The ODOT Committee Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that committee practices, charters or bylaws reflect the guidance provided in this document. They are also responsible for coordinating with the Office of Social Equity and ODOT Leadership if issues arise. 
  • Composition and Demographics: As required by HB2985, ODOT Policy and in alignment with ODOT’s values, each advisory committee must be composed of persons representing of the community it serves, taking into account race, gender, economic status, age and other factors. 
    • The Committee Membership Analysis matrix should be used in assessing the demographics and composition of each committee. It should also be used in setting goals and targets for committee makeup based on the community you serve.  In May of 2022 the Office of Social Equity has collected the makeup of current membership and this information should be used in your assessment to determine gaps that should be prioritized in your recruitment efforts.
    • To help determine what the committee's target or goals will be, please refer to ODOT’s Social Equity Index Map to better understand the population and demographics of the area you serve.
  • Vacancies: As vacancies arise, it should be viewed as an opportunity to improve the diversity of your committee. All efforts must be made to reach out to community-based organizations and others that can help you recruit diverse candidates.
Issues Resolution and Complaints
It is the responsibility of each advisory committee and their individual members to ensure that all members and stakeholders feel welcomed, valued and safe when engaging in conversation and providing input. 

If issues arise that cross personal boundaries or are perceived as unsafe by a member, including arguments, microaggressions, discrimination, points of controversy or debates, the issue must be taken seriously and all efforts should be made to resolve the complaint. 

Any committee member or its stakeholders are allowed to raise issues or complaints at any time. The first point of contact for members should be the ODOT Committee Coordinator or Liaison.

Recommended steps include:
  • Identify and document issue or complaint
  • Review of the issue or complaint with Committee Chair(s) and ODOT Coordinator
  • Address issue during next scheduled meeting and record discussion and decision
  • ODOT Committee Coordinator should check in with the person who identified the issue and verify whether they are satisfied with results. 
  • If results are not satisfactory, the issue or complaint should be escalated to ODOT Program manager and/or ODOT Division Administrator who oversees the subject matter of the advisory committee. 
  • Program Manager or Division Administrator should meet with the person who identified the issue along with Committee Chair and ODOT Coordinator to develop a plan to address the issue. 
  • If the issue or complaint is specific to microaggressions or discrimination against a person’s protected class, including race, color, sex, ethnic origin, age and/or disability, the Assistant Director of Social Equity must be made aware of the complaint and the proposed plan to address the issue. 

HB 2992
The Governor makes appointments to over 250 boards and commissions connected to various policy and subject matter areas. Oregon law allows state board and commission members to receive statutory per diem compensation and reimbursement of certain expenses for each day or portion, which time is spent performing board or commission duties. 

HB 2992, which was passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, is intended to reduce systemic barriers to participation in state boards and commissions by increasing the daily compensation rate from $30 to an amount equal to the per diem compensation paid to members of the Legislative Assembly for each day spent performing board and commission duties. 

As funds are available, agencies are to pay per diem compensation and expenses for “qualified members,” defined as:

  • Members who are (1) not in full-time public service, and (2) have an adjusted gross income from the previous tax year of less than $50,000, or less than $100,000 reported on a joint income tax return. The only exception to the requirement is if the qualified member declines compensation. 
  • Members employed full-time in public service are not eligible to receive per diem compensation but may receive expense reimbursements.
  • Members who are not “qualified” or decline to receive per diem can request to participate in the Equitable Engagement Compensation Program and receive cash cards for their time, which are subject to taxation.
Equitable Engagement Compensation Program (EECP)
The purpose of the EECP is to remove barriers that have systemically prevented marginalized populations and others from participating in public engagement and advisory activities with ODOT. 

ODOT and ODOT Committees regularly seek input from community members statewide on a variety of projects, plans, policies, etc. However; many individuals find it a hardship to participate due to taking unpaid time off work, travel expenses, childcare costs, etc. The goal of the EECP is to address these barriers by providing payment to community members for the participation in our engagement activities.  

The  EECP  establishes three  tools  to  address  these barriers  and  promote more  inclusive  engagement:  
  1. Incentives: Incentives are payments to individuals for participation in targeted one-time meetings, activities, or events. Examples include focus groups, workshops, hiring or evaluation panels, etc.
  2. Stipends: Stipends are payments to individuals for their participation on formal advisory committees or groups that meet two times or more.  Stipends may be used for committees   or   groups   that   advise   the   Department   on   projects,   plans, policies, rulemaking, etc.
  3. Community  Engagement  Contracts.  Community   Engagement  Contracts procure services  directly  from an individual participant or a community-based organization (CBO) for specific responsibilities and deliverables such as, but not limited to:  preparing for and attending meetings;  providing formal written comments; the same participant or CBO to participate in multiple committees, projects, or efforts; or having CBOs represent the department at community engagement activities. 
These tools recognize the culturally informed knowledge that  people draw from and their experiences in the community, which are essential to informing the Department’s decisions.

Translation Services
We are working to improve and provide tran​slation services. For questions and needs, please reach out to the Office of Social Equity

As you consider outreach to community members, know that an intentional thought process that considers meaningful action and meaningful outcomes is needed. In this effort of outreach we are all working toward becoming change agents and must individually and collectively: Consider the Environment, Check Assumptions, Ensure Inclusion, and Assess and Adjust. 

  • Consider your Environment: Recognize that you hold multiple identities that contribute to the diversity within an environment. Identifying and acknowledging who is in the space is important to honoring individuals and their lived experiences. Being aware of the varying personal identities is a first step in learning about and accepting others. This will influence the way committees advocate for certain services, design programs and policies, and the level of interaction you have with community members. 
  • Test your Assumptions: There is always an opportunity to ask ourselves if our ideas are biased or preloaded with unconfirmed information. After we check in with our committees we must always remain open to new and different ways of understanding and giving action to a cause. 
  • Ensure Inclusion: Inclusion is a state of belonging where people of different backgrounds, experiences and identities are valued, integrated, and welcomed equitably as decision-makers, collaborators and colleagues. Ultimately, inclusion is the environment that organizations create to allow these differences to thrive and is the first intentional act and minimal effort that should be offered to any space or environment. 
  • Assess and Adjust: Using the social equity lens we must develop specific and appropriate plans of actions based on the various communities we serve. Learn from community members then assess and adjust efforts. 
  • Engagement: Engagement is an intentional effort to interact with another group that may be different or may or may not have been previously engaged. Before we step into the practice of engagement, we must first identify what we do and do not know about current practices and discuss how we will transition to a new practice and maintain that way of engagement by asking yourself and other committee members to reflect on the following: 
    • What obstacles to equity exist in our committee culture, policies, and activities?
    • What are the systemic and social barriers experienced by people within the community we serve?
    • How can you use your experience to understand and become a change agent and help to shift exclusionary practices within the advisory committee and the overall services ODOT provides? 
    • What assumptions do we carry about marginalized communities that we need more information about in order to better engage the community? How will we hold ourselves accountable to maintain the intentional practice of equity?
    • Are we thinking about the marginalized groups of people impacted by our work prior to making a decision? How are they being impacted?  How can they be informed, involved, and consulted? What precludes us from meaningfully engaging? How can we hold ourselves accountable for this new effort and ensure inclusion? 
    • An active change agent does the following: 
      • I listen to all voices.
      • I am aware of the advantages and disadvantages that exist.
      • I check in on assumptions.
      • I make intentional effort to be inclusive of all communities and perspectives. 
      • I help others to know when exclusion occurs and ways we are acknowledging and avoiding that practice.
      • I share power and promote the leadership of those that are most marginalized. 
    • Engagement Guide: Involve your committee and select community stakeholders to work through the questions of the engagement guide. 

While welcoming diverse members into your committee, it is important to create an environment that fosters equity where all members can contribute and thrive. Consider the following: 
  • Can you build trust? Be open to learning about your new committee member, their perspective and worldview on sustainability a​nd environmental issues. Be willing to engage in uncomfortable topics, which may include race. Be willing to receive feedback and also provide clear feedback on performance.
  • Can you identify interests? Know what the new committee member wants to learn and be exposed to. Why are they here?
  • Can you build social networks? As a committee, you serve as a connector to other individuals and organizations that align with the committee interests. Connect to affinity groups, professional associations, and other social groupings that support new committee members of color.  Encourage informational interviews with people at different levels of decision making in the organization. 
  • Do you have committee mentors? Identify individuals that can serve as formal or informal mentors to help navigate problems, but also provide assistance in thinking about how to develop strategies for optimal outcomes. 
  • Can you avoid putting the new committee members of color in the position to be the sole educator on race? Create an environment that normalizes learning about institutional bias and racism, including self-reflection about one’s relationship to these systems.
  • Be careful that they are doing this work with sufficient time and resources and with a group of collaborators to avoid burnout and frustration. 
  • Can you check-in regularly on the experience they are having, and if the new committee member feels they have what they need to be successful? Work to identify when dominant culture is impacting the ability of your new committee members to effectively participate, contribute, or be accepted in the committee. (i.e., communication styles that favor linear presentation as opposed to non-linear; taking turns vs. jumping in to voice an opinion; responses to showing of different kinds of emotion; defensive responses to bringing up cultural blind spots).
  • Can you normalize self-care especially when a traumatic event has happened or when there is a triggering environment? For example, racially motivated incidents are on the rise across the country and impact people of color differently than white people. Events, even if they are not local, can be very personal because of long-standing racial trauma. Triggering events can also come in the form of macroaggressions. Acknowledging what has happened and creating space for staff to process collectively or individually as they need to will help them to be more present and focused in the long-run. 
  • Can you dedicate time to build relationships with community organizations that you are expected to connect with? That can mean showing up to their events where we are not driving the agenda.
  • Can you train or do Continuing Education to build up cultural skills and competencies?

As a vacancy arises on committees, this should be viewed as an opportunity to increase the diversity of the committee. 

The Governor’s Office will recruit and fill vacancies for Governor Appointed committee members. The following guidance is for committees that are not governor appointed.

Address the gap that exists: 

  • Identify appointment/recruitment needs. Use the Committee Membership Analysis matrix to identify gaps in your membership, both in racial/ethnic and ability composition as well as in technical skills and network connections. 
  • Prepare the position description/role in coordination with various stakeholders. Identify what qualifications, special skills or attributes are needed on the committee. 
  • Develop flyers and other materials that can be shared broadly, describe why the committee exists, the committee work plans and goals. 
  • This is also a good opportunity to describe the committee and ODOT’s value of diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Advertise: Share job posting with community based organization websites and public boards.
  • Search professional organizations for potential candidates. Partner with minority serving institutions, 
  • Ask existing committee members to share broadly with their networks.

Applications and Screening

  • Interested candidates should fill out the ODOT Committee Interest form​ and return it along with any other materials (e.g. resume, cover letter).
  • Create a diverse hiring committee to screen candidate applications and interview (select current committee members and community members).
  • Ensure that diversity is not simply race, ethnicity, and culture, but orientations, age, language, ability, socioeconomic, geographic and other identities.
  • Refer back to the membership analysis matrix and be sure that candidates meet the needs of the committee. Don’t feel rushed, if you did not get qualified candidates, keep the recruitment open and do some additional outreach. Reach out to ODOT’s Office of Social Equity if you are having trouble receiving diverse candidate applications.
  • Select new member and make offer.

  • As you develop an on​boarding plan for new members, think about how you would retain and grow committee members, what do they need to know, what training is needed, how will you keep them engaged and what connections and networks would be helpful for them to engage with?
  • Discuss with new members organization culture and norms (i.e., expectations for how to represent the department with the public, communication norms, any expectations on appearance and time).
  • Provide new members with an overview of racial equity work, committee functions, and how decisions are made with ODOT.
  • Connect new members with an informal committee “buddy” to help them learn more about what to expect when working for the committee.
  • Connect new members to activities and networks like affinity groups, lunch and learn sessions, committee gatherings based on their interests.
  • When a member of your committee elects to leave the committee be sure to work with the member to identify issues or opportunities for improvement. Conduct an exit interview and identify the needs for a new member.
  • Trainings: The ODOT Office of Social Equity will provide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training for all Advisory Committees and their members. The Office of Social Equity will also provide ongoing support and resources as needed. Questions and needs should be communicated with Advisory Committee Coordinators who will meet regularly with the Office of Social Equity. 
  • Other additional resources: