Senior Public Affairs Specialist
Metro 531 reviews - Portland, OR

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The Senior Public Affairs Specialist performs a variety of complex communication activities, including communication strategy development, community engagement and partnership advancement activities with a focus on transportation and land use planning programs in Metro’s Planning and Development department.

The position is responsible for developing and implementing stakeholder and community engagement strategies, writing and public speaking about complex planning processes and technical information, and applying appropriate communications tools to support project goals.

Applicant must be knowledgeable about the fundamentals of public policy development and public involvement principles. Knowledge of and experience with federal civil rights requirements under Title VI is a plus, as is experience with transportation issues and programs.

The successful candidate will posses campaign, earned media and social media experience and have the capacity to provide innovative ideas to engage stakeholders and community members in Metro’s work. Recent public or political campaign experience working with and engaging underserved communities and communities of color is essential. Evening and weekend work will be required to successfully fulfill the duties of this position. This position reports to the public engagement communications manager.

Application requirements:
Electronic application, answers to the supplemental questions, a resume, cover letter describing your experience as it directly relates to the duties of this position and a list of three work-related references.

Essential Job Duties:

An employee in this position must be able to perform all of the essential job duties listed below with or without reasonable accommodation; however, this list is not intended to include all of the specific tasks an employee in this position may be expected to perform.
  • Develop and implement strategic and innovative communication and engagement plans and strategies for complex planning projects with many stakeholders and interested groups in a way that is meaningful to participants while also meeting federal, state and Metro requirements.
  • Write and distribute news-style communication materials that transform technical information into language that engages and motivates people to participate. Materials likely will include brochures, fact sheets, web pages, reports, news articles, news releases and social media posts. Link communications for specific projects with Metro’s overall mission and messages.
  • Understand and adhere to public involvement requirements for federally funded transportation planning projects, including development and publication of a public involvement summary report and regular compliance reports to both federal and state partners.
  • Understand and support the joint role of the Metro Council and the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation when the two bodies are serving as the Portland region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization.
  • Advise technical staff and subject matter experts on budgets, timelines, audiences and requirements related to effective stakeholder and public engagement
  • Advise project leads and senior management regarding issue management throughout various projects.
  • Plan, organize and implement public engagement tools like online open houses, events and public hearings to share project information and gather public input.
  • Use the phone, email and other tools to inspire people to volunteer, attend events and otherwise participate in Metro projects.
  • Coordinate public opinion research and solicitation, tracking and reporting of public comments.
  • Represent the Metro Council and the project team with individuals, stakeholder groups, the media in a wide variety of settings.
  • Make formal presentations internally and to the public, and to private and government organizations.
  • Review and edit selected project materials. Develop and distribute ads or promotional notices via web sites and social media as well as traditional media.
  • Manage project databases in collaboration with other agency data managers.
  • Write talking points for public officials, department heads and project partners; draft project correspondence for officials’ signatures.
  • Participate in cross-departmental teams developing standards and practices for citizen involvement and best-practice communications.
  • Foster and maintain working relationships with federal regulators relating to public involvement standards and practices.
  • Coordinate evaluation, measurement and formal reports about Metro’s public involvement activities, particularly relating to federal Title VI responsibilities.
  • Propose and manage budget specific to program area.
  • Coordinate work of consultants or contractors.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.

Minimum Requirements:

Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, journalism, public relations, political science or a related field and a minimum of five years related experience, or any combination of education and experience that provides the knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform the job. Preferred: a minimum of eight years of experience in advocacy, political campaigns, citizen involvement, marketing, journalism. Requires the ability to work evenings and weekends.

  • Ability to develop and implement comprehensive strategic communication, volunteer recruitment and/or public engagement plans.
  • Excellent writing, editing and oral communication skills, including preparation and presentation of compliance and monitoring reports; news articles or releases, social media posts and web content.
  • Knowledge of and experience with stakeholder and public engagement principles and practices.
  • Knowledge of and experience with project management and budget development and monitoring.
  • Ability to and experience working with diverse groups, including communities of color, subject matter experts, elected officials, advocates, and people with low incomes.
  • Skill in the use of computers and software related to presentation, layout, desktop publishing.
  • Knowledge of facilitation techniques and experience facilitating both large and small groups.
  • Ability to quickly and accurately translate highly technical information into a variety of publications and media (including social media) so it can be easily understood by a variety of audiences.
  • Ability to research, write, produce and distribute publications, develop web-based communications and use social media.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively with project teams, supporting others when requested.
  • Ability to effectively manage multiple complex tasks and successfully meet work program deadlines.

Additional Information:

Online applications: Metro now accepts job applications online. If you need assistance or accommodation with your application, or access to a computer, call 503-797-1570.

Accommodation: Reasonable accommodation is available to anyone whose specific disability prevents them from completing this application or participating in this process. To obtain confidential assistance please contact Human Resources (503) 797-1570.

Public Employees Retirement System (PERS): New employees will pay the employee portion of the PERS contribution.

Representation/classification: This position is represented by AFSCME Local 3580 and falls under the Senior Public Affairs Specialist classification.

Veterans’ Preference: Under Oregon Law, qualified veterans may be eligible for veterans’ preference when applying for Metro positions. If you are a veteran and would like to be considered for a veterans’ preference for this job, please provide qualifying documents as instructed during the application process.

Criminal background check: In order to protect the well being of its employees, the public and agency assets, Metro will conduct criminal background checks on all internal and external final applicants selected for Metro positions, including volunteers and interns. Employment at Metro is contingent on the successful completion of a criminal background check. By signing this application for employment, you are consenting to a background check, which includes a criminal history and a driving records check. A background check will only be conducted if you are selected as a finalist for a position. If selected as a finalist, you will be contacted by Human Resources and provided a copy of the Fair Credit Reporting Act prior to initiation of a background check.

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. Assistance will be gladly provided upon request for any applicant with sensory or non-sensory disabilities.

An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

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531 reviews
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation's transportation agencies. It serves as...