Community outreach

There are times when a city wants to impart information to residents—a new service fee, an announcement of a community event or a solicitation for responses to a survey. 

People’s attention is pulled in a myriad of directions these days and assuring they are seeing communication from their city is a crapshoot. That’s why cities have to devise ways to get an important,non-emertgency message in front as many of its citizens as possible. 

Modes such as e-mail and social media sites go only so far. It is a maxim of the communication field that mixed media is the best way to reach the most people. Think about how people deal with mail, junk mail gets nary a look. An insert into a city service bill is good, but there is no guarantee a recepient will respond to anything in the envelop other than the invoice. 

Printing a big-type message on the invoice is a good choice: a home- or business owner has to reach it to see what they owe. A message in 18-point type would be hard to miss. How the recipient responds to a message printed on the invoice is a different matter. But that can be one of the ways to push out a message. 

Keizer has a number of other ways to communicate with the people. Houses of worship have weekly or monthly newsletters available to their parishoners, as do other organizations such as senior centers. A paid notice in these newsletters to reach out to the community would not be a heavy lift, as long as print deadlines are met. 

Keizer has five neighborhood associations that meet monthly and usually need speakers. City representatives can appear and give a presentation of needing input from those in attendance. Those associations generally send out emails to its membership, that can reiterate the city’s message. 

At the corner of River and Chemawa Roads sits the Keizer focal point, passed daily by thousands of vehicles. This site is used for signs announcing events at Keizer Rapids Park; an eye-catching sign can be posted there to direct the people to a website, for example, to increase the number of responses from the community for a city survey. 

When the city wants to hear from residents there are a number of ways to reach out to them. It takes planning and minimal cost but it would garner great results.