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It sometimes seems that planning commissioners are the Rodney Dangerfields of local government. They get little respect and scant recognition for the work they do to preserve and improve their communities. Instead of being honored as heroes and heroines, they may be disparaged and reviled.
Planning is no longer associated with being a communist plot, but still, it is suspect by many people, possibly with good reason. There are few places in local government where citizens actually interact with bureaucrats on issues that are of primary concern to them — what they can do with their dwelling places or businesses.
Yes, people can be rude and unappreciative, but misunderstandings are rarely completely one-sided. Changes in your behavior can go a long way to engendering civility and respect. …
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Elaine Cogan, founding principal of the Portland, Oregon planning and communications firm of Cogan Owens Cogan, has consulted for more than 36 years with communities undertaking strategic planning and visioning processes. Cogan has been honored for her work on a variety of citizen involvement projects.