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Multnomah County Drainage District #1 - Public Affairs & Community Relations Specialist

Posted: 6/8/2021
Salary: $58,344 - $78,764
Location: Portland, OR

Position Summary:  
The Multnomah County Drainage District (MCDD) seeks a collaborative communicator and project manager to join our agile and multi-faceted Public Affairs & Planning Department. The Public Affairs & Community Relations Specialist will report to and work closely with the Public Affairs & Communications Manager to handle community, stakeholder, and government relations for the four drainage districts – MCDD, Peninsula Drainage District #1 (PEN 1), Peninsula Drainage District #2 (PEN 2), and Sandy Drainage Improvement Company (SDIC) – as well as Levee Ready Columbia (LRC) and the Urban Flood Safety & Water Quality District (UFSWQD) (all together, called the “Districts.”) 

MCDD has evolved significantly over the past decade, including continually taking innovative approaches to provide information and engage our stakeholders and constituents. We have a small mission-driven team with a passion for customer service, public safety, and supporting community values.  

We are looking for an organized, proactive, and flexible communicator and project manager to fill the role of Public Affairs & Community Relations Specialist. This person will support, enhance, and build on our communications, education, outreach, and engagement strategies by taking a collaborative approach to coordinating various programs and projects associated with our community and government relations efforts. This includes establishing and managing timelines, budgets, communications, agreements, and relationships with stakeholders and partner agencies and developing and executing informational and educational plans to communicate district and multi-agency initiatives to the public, various stakeholders, the media, board members, and employees.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities: 

Government relations 

  • Supports the public affairs & community relations manager and contract lobbyists in advocating on a variety of federal, state, and local policy and funding issues as needed, including but not limited to scheduling meetings; drafting letters; coordinating stakeholder letters of support; preparing presentations, talking points, testimony, and other materials.  


  • Coordinates ongoing development of the Districts’ communications calendar, including identifying needs related to specific projects and initiatives, as well as planning ongoing educational and awareness building efforts, and coordinating content development and review with staff and contractors.  
  • Organizes the Districts’ digital presence, including but not limited to managing vendor agreements, contracts, and the work of our contracted website programmer; developing, formatting and publishing content on websites and social media platforms; fielding and addressing staff inquiries and requests for web content; orchestrating email communications through MailChimp; planning and executing digital advertising and other forms of online promotion for relevant projects and activities; and ensuring the timely publication of board minutes, adopted budgets and resolutions, and other public documents.  
  • Manages development and distribution of various reports, invitations, and other collateral as needed including drafting content and coordinating graphic design, printing, mailing or other means of distribution.  
  • Crafts press releases, prepares talking points, and handles media inquiries as assigned.  
  • Serves as one of the Districts’ Public Information Officers or other assigned positions during high water events that require activation of the Incident Command Structure (ICS).  

Community relations 

  • Addresses landowner, stakeholder, and community member inquiries as assigned and capacity allows. 
  • Administers special projects as assigned and capacity allows, including our Houseless Outreach & Coordination Program, including overseeing related contracts; convening staff to make decisions; coordinating with key stakeholders; and working collaboratively with other public entities to develop short- and long-term solutions to improve staff safety in the field and access to our infrastructure. For more information about this program, visit <link>. 
  • Works collaboratively with partner organizations to leverage opportunities to provide education and build flood awareness including but not limited to managing our annual Bike the Levee event with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council and coordinating sponsorships and related involvement in community events.  
  • Schedules and organizes our annual flood risk education and awareness, including working with manager to develop key messages and activities; determining presence at community events; coordinating staff and partner support to fill shifts; developing talking points and training colleagues and partners; preparing materials; and setting up and breaking down at events.  
  • Works in coordination with public affairs and community relations manager to support program and project managers in developing and implementing communications and community engagement strategies for specific projects, including gauging various stakeholders’ priorities and consulting and advising colleagues on the implications of various potential policies, project plans, and practices. 
  • Performs community outreach, or manages contractors’ outreach, ahead of District maintenance and capital projects. This includes activities such as outreach to neighborhoods and property owners ahead of levee mowing and working with businesses and residents on issues such as business disruption and noise issues. 
  • Organizes community engagement activities to support specific programs, projects, and initiatives. This includes, but is not limited to collaborating with colleagues, partners, and contractors to design the program; planning logistics; recruiting and coordinating speakers; executing event promotions; organizing childcare, catering, communications aids, and other vendors as needed; developing materials, presentations, and talking points; and conducting set up and break down.   
  • Collaborates with manager (and executive team, as needed) to coordinate ongoing and new relationships with community partners like neighborhood and business associations, local and issue-specific nonprofits, and community benefit organizations.  
  • Develops and maintains positive working relationships with internal and external stakeholders in support of district initiatives. 
  • Schedules, coordinates, and provides presentations to community groups to build flood awareness and engagement in various decisions and activities of the Districts.  
  • Convenes and facilitates MCDD’s internal community relations coordination committee to ensure cross-departmental information sharing and coordination.  
  • Coordinates tours for key stakeholders as needed.  

Duties Applying to All Employees:  

It is the duty of all employees to:  

  • Perform other duties as assigned.  
  • Strive to achieve the Mission, Vision, and Values of the organization.  
  • Complete required Incident Command System training within 90 days of hire.  
  • Perform the duties assigned during an emergency. 
  • During high water events, or as requested by the Executive Director, staff will be expected to limit travel outside of the region and be available to report to the office with limited notice.
  • Adhere to workplace safety rules and regulations.  
  • Occasional weekend and evening shifts may be required.  
  • Some travel may be required to attend conferences and events.  
  • Ensure and encourage a safe workplace environment.  


Minimum Qualifications:

General knowledge and understanding of: 

  • Budgeting practices and principals 
  • Marketing, communications, public policy, and education methods and practices  
  • Community engagement spectrum and methodologies  
  • Project management best practices 

Skills and Abilities to:  

  • Independently manage time, organize workload, handle multiple tasks simultaneously and prioritize work in a changing environment.  
  • Proficiency in standard business software including Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Adobe Pro. 
  • Ability to communicate effectively by written, spoken and electronic means. 

Education and Experience: 

  • 3-5 years of directly related experience. 
  • Valid state driver’s license.  
  • Undergraduate degree 

Working Environment: MCDD is currently in limited in-office operations due to COVID-19. As such, all administrative staff are working remotely as much as possible through at least June 30, 2021. Outside of the pandemic, this position will primarily work in an office environment with occasional tours, site visits, and activities in the field. All employees are required to use MCDD-provided personal protective equipment (PPE) for their time in the field. During flood fighting season, employees may be asked to perform levee and drainage inspections. In addition, employees may be required to remain within a 10-hour response time of the MCDD office during flood season when the Columbia River is elevated. 

About MCDD: 
To enhance community safety and support the region’s vitality, MCDD reduces flood risk by maintaining 27-miles of levees, 12 pump stations, 45 miles of sloughs, streams, ditches, and culverts, and responding to flood related emergencies along the south shore of the Columbia River and Columbia Slough in Multnomah County. MCDD serves three other drainage districts in the area: Peninsula Drainage District #1 (PEN1), Peninsula Drainage District #2 (PEN2), and the Sandy Drainage Improvement Company (SDIC). Together, these districts extend from the edge of Smith and Bybee Lakes on the west to the western bank of the Sandy River on the east. For more information about the Districts please visit  

MCDD and the three other drainage districts participate in, and staff, Levee Ready Columbia (LRC), a collaborative partnerships of public, private, non-profit and community organizations working to reduce the risk of flooding along the Columbia River in the Portland metro area by modernizing the flood safety infrastructure and how it is managed. In 2019, LRC worked with the Oregon State Legislature to pass a bill to establish the Urban Flood Safety and Water Quality District, a new special district that will unify the four existing drainage districts into a single entity.  It is expected that the drainage districts will transition to become part of this new district over the course of the next several years. To complete the set-up of the UFSWQD, including creating an ongoing revenue structure to fund operations and capital improvements, the legislature created an initial Board of Directors that includes representatives of local jurisdictions and community representatives appointed by the Governor.  In addition to protecting people and property from flooding, the UFSWQD is also mandated to contribute to the environmental health of the watershed, to prepare for and adapt to climate change, promote equity and social justice in its operations, and provide the public with education on the culture history of the managed floodplain.  


This is a full-time, non-exempt position.  Our Benefits Include:  

  • Competitive Salary  
  • Comprehensive Medical, Dental, and Vision coverage  
  • State of Oregon Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) Participant  
  • Deferred Compensation Plan via the Oregon Savings Growth Plan (OSGP)  
  • Paid holidays, flex, vacation, and sick leave  
  • Paid family and medical leave  
  • Transportation and Wellness Incentives  
  • Healthy work-life balance  
  • Casual dress code  
  • Office Perks: 
     - We believe in snacks! Our breakroom is usually well-stocked.  
     - Frequent visits from four-legged friends 
     - Beautiful views of the Columbia Slough Watershed  
     - Access to outdoor spaces  
     - On-site showers and bike parking  
  • Work-Culture:  
     - Open access to leadership  
     - Collaborative environment  
     - Supportive of families with children  
     - Location: MCDD is located in the Sunderland neighborhood of Portland, Oregon, a city known for its diversity of restaurants, breweries, and easy access to both the coast and mountains. The area offers a variety of neighborhoods, bike-friendly streets, and amenities of a large city.  

Please submit the following, in PDF form, via our Smartsheet link found here: Incomplete applications will not be considered. A complete packet will include:  

  1. Cover letter (Your cover letter should address your ability to meet the minimum requirements and articulate why you are interested in the position)  
  2. Résumé  
  3. Reference sheet (minimum of 2 professional references)  
  4. 2-3 writing samples, graphic design, or other communications materials that you believe will demonstrate your experience and qualifications. Please include a cover page that describes: 
    - The purpose of each sample you’ve provided 
    - The main audience
    - Your role in developing the piece 
    - What you believe it demonstrates  
  5. Answers to the following supplemental questions on a separate sheet from your cover letter: Please note: "See Resume" is not an acceptable response and may delay your application process. Please use “N/A” if you have no relevant experience.  Please limit your responses to two pages. 
  1. Please describe your approach to project management and provide up to three examples of projects you have managed that demonstrate your relevant experience and qualifications for this position. 
  2. Briefly provide an example of one time you were involved in the planning and execution of a(n):  
    - communications project or campaign 
    - educational program or activity 
    - public meeting or event  
    - stakeholder engagement strategy  


Accommodation: Reasonable accommodation is available to anyone whose specific disability prevents them from completing this application or participating in this process.  

Veterans’ Preference: Under Oregon Law, qualified veterans may be eligible for Veterans’ Preference when applying for MCDD positions. If you are a veteran and would like to request Veterans’ Preference for this job, please provide qualifying documents (Copy of the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD Form 214 or 215; Disabled Veterans must also submit a copy of their Veteran’s Disability Preference Letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) with your application submittal. Documentation must be received by the closing date and time of this recruitment for the applicant to receive Veterans’ Preference.  

Equal employment opportunity: All qualified persons will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, familial status, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability for which a reasonable accommodation can be made, or any other status protected by law.  

This position is not represented.