Busy parks and river

Sunbathers and water users gather May 9 at Riverbend Park in Bend .

The Bend Park & Recreation District is going to test itself on its progress on inclusion. It has plans to launch a diversity, equity and inclusion program.

The district isn't pretending it can just hire a consultant and be done with it. It anticipates the program will take time to "effectively engage staff, the board and others, to create a meaningful and successful DEI program."

It could take a year or more. That doesn't mean the park district is moving slow. It is being realistic about making changes. And we should emphasize this is not the first effort at inclusion that the district has made. It is just the most recent, and the subject is scheduled for discussion at the district's meeting on July 7.

The district has already set some measures to gauge its progress:

It wants an increased percentage of the district population participating in programs.

It aims to match its needs-based assistance programs -- think scholarships for families who have trouble participating -- with the demographics of the community.

It is going to track the number of people served by those needs-based assistance programs by the dollar.

It is looking to track the number of Latino families engaged by outreach efforts.

And it will be tracking its progress in completing projects to increase accessibility to those with disabilities.

Not all of that is completely new. It still shows commitment.

The district will begin the new effort this year by hiring an experienced consultant to help guide the district. It's also going to speak with other agencies to learn from what they have done. The district says $20,000 has been allocated so far. Good.

Government agencies need to step up to examine what they can do. It's encouraging to see the park district take action. Let's see improvement, too.

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