Newly released by the Oregon Community Foundation and the OSU Rural Studies Program, Tracking Oregon’s Progress, or TOP Indicators are a new addition to the Oregon Explorer and Rural Communities Explorer’s Communities Reporter Tool. They are aimed at helping understand trends in Oregon’s economy, people and communities and environment.
The TOP indicators include 89 metrics from 1990 to 2011 across all counties in the state. They were selected to reflect state priorities as expressed in the Oregon Benchmarks (now discontinued) and the Governor’s 10-year Plan for Oregon. A 2014 State TOP report (Weber et al.) that is accessible from the site reveals the following 20-year trends:
- Oregon’s economy has grown based on increases in population and number of jobs, but inequality persists
- Poverty rates have increased, especially for children
- Oregonians have become better educated and are healthier, but some groups lag behind
- Oregonians have reduced solid waste
- Timber harvests have declined by nearly 50%
- Air pollution continues to expose sensitive groups to unhealthy air
These trends and others can be generated and compared for each of Oregon’s counties using the Communities Reporter Tool. The TOP indicators project was sponsored by The Oregon Community
Foundation, OSU (Rural Studies Program, Extension Service,and Libraries & Press), and the Ford Family Foundation. Institute for Natural Resources is in on-going conversations with the Oregon State University Rural Studies Program, Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Department of Administrative Services, Portland State University, and Metro to see if the reporting of TOP indicators can be an on-going collaborative program that continues the legacy of the Oregon Benchmarks.
For more information on the Rural Communities Explorer, check out this video!