On Oct. 2, I and approximately 30 other Portlanders engaged in a mock participatory budgeting session, led by Joey Brunelle at Reiche School.

Brunelle, an at-large Portland City Council candidate, explained that participatory budgeting generally begins in more simplified forms and develops as a community adapts to increasingly higher levels of civic engagement.

For the workshop, we each proposed one capital improvement and broke into three “neighborhood” work groups to introduce our ideas. Rather than champion our own ideas as anticipated, we combined our ideas for greater impact.

We realized quickly how participatory budgeting can effectively counteract voter apathy and divisiveness and bring people together for the common good. Through the process, a sense of mutual care and benefit emerged. Joey Brunelle showed he can bring together diverse individuals to make Portland a better city for everyone.

Cynthia Handlen