In early 2001, the Port of Los Angeles - the second largest marine shipping gateway in the world -- began an intensive community outreach program designed to involve the communities of Harbor Gateway, San Pedro and Wilmington in the Port’s planning process for several proposed projects. DSO (Diverse Strategies for Organizing) was retained to develop a community information program that involves informing business and residents about the Port’s expansion activities.
DSO created a broad-based outreach program that included briefings with local stakeholders, community meetings, special events and door-to-door canvassing. Information and meeting notifications were mailed to over 78,000 business, residents, schools, churches and civic associations. A media campaign engaged local print and electronic media in disseminating information to the public.
To focus on the sound buffer, or “berm,” that had been proposed as a mitigation measure for the Harry Bridges Boulevard Realignment Project, DSO organized a series of community workshops, enlisting community input. Outreach was intensive, with the goal of encouraging as many Wilmington residents as possible to participate. Ultimately, several thousand community members participated in a process that yielded consensus support for the realignment.
With active public participation, the Wilmington workshops evolved from a forum on community needs into a final design for a berm that would mitigate the noise and pollution resulting from the Harry Bridges Boulevard realignment. What began as an plain retaining wall was transformed into a landscaped berm/parkway that includes, among other elements, extensive landscaping, a practice size soccer field, pedestrian walkways, picnic areas and a police substation - all designed and approved by a vote of the Wilmington community and by the Harbor Commission. DSO was also instrumental in the dedication of a vacant Port property for a community Teen Center, currently operated by the Harbor Community Development Corporation in Wilmington. Hundreds of youth visit the center daily.
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"DSO demonstrated that it has the ability to bring local residents, business leaders, elected officials and organizations together to create a process of dialogue and consensus decision making in the Harbor Community"
Executive Director, Harbor Community Development Corporation