Seven Oregon Cities Receive Total of $35,000 in Grants to Improve Community Health

Portland, Ore. – Kaiser Permanente and the Oregon Public Health Institute (OPHI) announced that the cities of Gresham, St. Helens, Salem, Coburg, Scappoose, Dallas, and Sweet Home were awarded Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Cities Campaign grants to make their communities more livable.

The HEAL Cities Campaign, active in Oregon since 2012, is a partnership between OPHI, the League of Oregon Cities and Kaiser Permanente to help civic leaders create healthy communities. There currently are 37 HEAL cities in Oregon.

The HEAL Cities Campaign empowers local officials about the unique role that city policies play in shaping environments that support healthy options for eating and active living to all residents, visitors, and municipal employees.

Technical assistance is available for cities interested in becoming a HEAL City and to support existing HEAL Cities in adopting and implementing HEAL policies. This was the third annual grant opportunity for HEAL Cities to seek funding.

Funded projects include:

  • Gresham: $5,000 for their “Cultivating Culture” project that aims to introduce families of color to food gardening as a culturally grounded practice.
  • St. Helens: $5,000 for Nob Hill Nature Park improvements, including staircase installation, trail signage, and a kiosk to improve safety and accessibility of the park.
  • Salem: $5,000 to install bicycle racks and a “fixit” station at multiple park locations.
  • Coburg: $5,000 for wayfinding and informational signage for bicycles and pedestrians to utilize the Coburg Loop Path.
  • Scappoose: $3,500 to purchase and install tables and benches as part of their larger Heritage Park Restoration Project.
  • Dallas: $9,500 towards the installation of pickleball courts.
  • Sweet Home: $2,000 to build five wooden kiosks with walking maps and weather resistant brochure boxes.

“OPHI is once again thrilled and honored to administer these grants to support the amazing creativity and dedication of HEAL Cities as they implement strategies to improve the health of their residents, with a focus to advance equity,” said OPHI CEO Dana Hargunani. “All of the proposals demonstrated cities' strong commitment to creating healthier communities, and we thank Kaiser Permanente for making this important recognition possible."

The HEAL Small Grants totaled $35,000 this year. OPHI received 16 applications from cities in eight counties, with requests totaling almost $140,000. Eligibility was limited to cities that had joined the campaign before August 31, 2016. Additional funds for HEAL policy implementation will be available again in 2017.

An important campaign goal has been to promote health equity. Throughout Oregon, low-income people, and people of color at every income, have significantly poorer health outcomes at every age, whether one looks at obesity rates or rates of preventable chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. While many factors contribute to these disparities, research shows that place matters to health. In general, community members most impacted by disparities live in environments with fewer parks, sidewalks and safe crossings, less access to public transportation, fewer places to buy fresh produce and healthy staple items, and greater concentrations of unhealthy food outlets.

For information about joining the campaign, please visit: HEALCitiesNW.org.

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About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and nonprofit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia, including more than 540,000 medical and 250,000 dental members in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, dentists, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical and dental teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

About the Oregon Public Health Institute

The Oregon Public Health Institute is a nonprofit leader in building vibrant and healthy communities throughout Oregon. We work with a wide range of private and public partners to create innovative community-led solutions, focused on systems and environment changes that go beyond traditional healthcare strategies to enhance health, improve equity, and reduce disparities. OPHI works upstream, downstream, and midstream to identify low-cost, culturally-appropriate solutions that build upon established relationships and progress, and reflect and support the communities in which they will be implemented. For more information, go to: www.ophi.org.

About the Oregon League of Cities

Founded in 1925, the League of Oregon Cities is a voluntary association representing all 241 of Oregon’s incorporated cities. The League helps city governments serve their citizens by providing legislative advocacy services, policy consultation, intergovernmental relations assistance, networking and training, technical assistance and publications. For more information, visit: www.orcities.org.

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