City-as-Neighborhood PDF Print E-mail

The City-as-Neighborhood Initiative is the product of a major strategic-planning process conducted by the SLF Board of Directors and two community forums in 2005/06. SLF’s analysis showed that Salem-Keizer is too big to be served as one community.  The best programs and outcomes come from “smaller cohesive geographies,” starting with the six (6) high-school feeder districts and moving down to the distinct neighborhoods where people live.  The City-as-Neighborhood Initiative is not limited to faith-based organizations, although getting churches to significantly serve their neighbors is a major thrust.  SLF’s goal is to work with all stakeholders in all neighborhoods to generate excitement, collaboration, and efficiencies in making things better. 

At the heart of City-as-Neighborhood is the position of the SLF Lightning Rod.  By definition, the Lightning Rod lives, works, worships, and passionately serves his/her high-school district, or Keystone Area.  This is the same geography already proscribed by the Community Progress Teams (CPTs) of the Marion County Children & Families Commission.  Likewise, Rotary Clubs, Little Leagues, Young Life, Boys & Girls Club sites—even our zip codes!—are naturally formed around  these Keystone Areas.  The SLF Lightning Rod is a localized bridge-builder, a convener, a collaborator, a problem-solver, and a resource-finder.

City-as-Neighborhood is significant to our community because it:

  • Provides a logical umbrella under which virtually every local cause can find volunteers, resources and effectiveness.
  • Reinforces many community structures already in place, such as schools, Rotary Clubs and other civic organizations, Little Leagues, Boys & Girls Clubs, Young Life, No Meth/Not in My Neighborhood, etc.
  • Magnifies the current initiatives by both the Salem and Keizer City Councils to strengthen the Neighborhood Association structures in both cities.
  • Magnifies the current strategy of the Marion County Children & Families Commission to strengthen and expand its network of Community Progress Teams (CPTs).
  • Gives every person, family, business, church and organization an opportunity to make a deep and significant impact in familiar territory, as opposed to a small (or non-detectable) dent in the large-community context. 
  • Acknowledges that not all poverty is in the inner-city.  City-as-Neighborhood reminds us there are Needs in every neighborhood, as well as the Assets to meet those needs.  Urban or suburban, affluent or poor, each neighborhood has the Assets to meet the Needs—some areas just need more help than others in discovering this.
  • Encourages uncommon allies to partner up. Schools and Churches.  For-profits and Non-profits.  Republicans and Democrats.  Conservatives and Progressives.  Evangelicals and Liturgicals/Mainline.  Faith-based and Community-based.
  • Helps establish common “ground” (literally and figuratively) to achieve positive results.


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