Commons Convergence

Celebrating All That We Share

More than 200 people gathered in Portland May 7, 2011 for the Commons Convergence, a free event for learning, networking and celebrating the commons…because we’re all in this together!

This inspiring afternoon featured advocates, dreamers and doers who are re-imagining and bringing to life a more just and sustainable world. Nearly 30 local and regional groups took part (See participating groups list below), all of whom draw strength from claiming our commons—things that belong to all of us and are the basis of our collective well being.

The event kicked off with opening remarks from Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington and City Repair Co-Founder Mark Lakeman plus a sing along with songwriter Todd Samusson.

Our featured presenter was Jay Walljasper, author of the new book All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons and editor of On the Commons. Jay and On the Commons co-director Julie Ristau shared stories of an emerging commons movement that is pointing to a greener and more equitable future.

The Commons Convergence debuted three videos featuring diverse aspects of the commons in the Portland metro area:

It Takes a Village to Make a Place highlights (1) Lawrence Halprin’s legacy of public plazas and the role of a collaborative performance (City Dance) in stimulating interest in preservation; (2) the efforts of Groundwork Portland to strengthen community ties in a gentrifying neighborhood through the Emerson Street Garden; and (3) the work of City Repair in helping to launch a place making  movement starting with Share-It-Square in Southeast Portland.

All Our Relations explores the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in Portland’s Sellwood neighborhood, which is home to diverse plants and animals and part of a vast Intertwine of interconnected trails and parks in the metro area.

The Currency of Democracy spotlights our information commons including the role of the Multnomah County Library system and the City of Portland’s work with a diverse coalition of groups to develop a strategic broadband plan; the aim is to assure equitable access to the internet as it becomes a ubiquitous platform for commerce, education, social and civic life.

A fourth video coming out of the event Reclaiming Our Water Commons highlights the campaign to stop Nestle’s plans to privatize spring water and develop a water bottling plant in the scenic Columbia River Gorge.

Participating Groups

Onward Oregon, City Repair, Coalition for a Livable Future, Food and Water Watch, Metro,  Friends of Family Farmers, Intertwine Alliance, Urban Greenspaces InstituteUpstream Public Health, Groundwork Portland, We Can Do Better, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Portland Community Media, Our United Villages, The ReBuilding Center, Southeast Uplift, SOLV, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Friends of Trees, Ecotrust, Jobs with Justice, Portland Farmers Market, Portland Fruit Tree Project, Leaven Project, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, SW Watershed Resource Center, Upstream Public Health, The Learning Commons, and many more…

Our Sponsors

On the Commons




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