Oregon DEQ Shares Environmental Data, Wins ECOS Award
By Elana Hopman
The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) Executive Committee recently named Oregon’s “Public Hearing Communications Model” one of three State Program Innovation Award winners for 2013.
The model refers to the process Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) developed to encourage citizen engagement and scale public feedback for high-profile public hearings, such as the recent hearings on permits for a coal transfer facility. By leveraging existing software and updating some design and functionality elements, the DEQ allowed users to attend a virtual meeting, submit a comment or question, and learn more about the issue at hand.
These recent site innovations further exemplify the power of data access and transparency in giving voice to passionate citizens and keeping the public informed about significant issues.
“Thanks to the Socrata team for providing the tools that let 333 Oregon residents have their say about this proposed coal terminal!” said Wally Rogers, Manager of Oregon E-Government and Voice Services. “The Internet offers the opportunity to be transformational and you are making that happen for citizens and governments who earnestly desire to find an affordable way to get more engaged and involved. A government engaged with its residents does matter.”