Portland’s Issues Project: Policy Memo Assignment
· Mental Health and Criminal Justice Systems
· Environment and Transportation Issues
· Substance Abuse—Prevention, Impacts, and Treatment
· Work and Economic Inequality
In this assignment, you will write a policy memo that describes the problem you were focused on and proposes a detailed solution to address it. You may adopt one of the solutions that you researched for the panel presentation or develop your own solution that borrows from the best elements of multiple solutions you researched. You could also develop your own solution. This is an advocacy memo, so it should represent your own views, but you will need to support your position with real data you collected about the effectiveness of the solution you are proposing.
Your policy memo will include:
· An Introduction
· Problem Statement: You may use your group’s statement or rewrite it, if you prefer to address a specific aspect of the problem or a certain issue.
· Description of your solution
· A rationale for why you believe this is the best solution for this problem. Include supportive data and evidence.
· Plans and timetable for implementation
· Funding—how will you pay for it?
· Anticipated outcomes
· How will you address any potential challenges or unintended consequences?
· How will you know if your solution is effective? How will you measure it?
Your policy memo should be between 3-6 pages. This is a memo, so you should address it “To” a particular decision-maker (i.e. Mayor, City Council, Governor, etc.). You should list your name in the “From” section and create a title in the “Re” (or subject line).
Memos are a succinct writing form. You should use headings to break-up the parts of your memo. You may also want to use a list or bullet points for some sections. Feel free to create a table or chart, if this is an effective way to communicate your proposal.
Memos are read by decision-makers who are often busy and may delegate the task of policy-making to their staff. You should assume that the decision-maker you are addressing this memo only has a cursory understanding of the problem you are trying to address. Your job is to provide enough information for the decision-maker to hold a short press conference on your proposal and to be able to answer some basic questions about it. Keep this task in mind as you write your memo. Make sure your message is clear, concise and convincing.
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