Who We Are
The Shared Neutrals Program is a cooperative arrangement between diverse federal, state, local and tribal agencies in the Pacific Northwest region. Each member agency makes a reciprocal agreement to submit requests for mediation and facilitation services and to share resources cooperatively.
The Shared Neutrals Program is designed to serve three objectives. The first objective is to provide agencies with low cost and flexible access to sophisticated conflict management services. The second objective is to provide individuals in conflict with accessible, timely, and confidential neutral services. The third objective is to support a diverse cadre of trained and experienced neutrals (mediators, facilitators and trainers) who mentor folks from other agencies on a collateral duty basis.
Flexibility is a core value for this Program. Individual agencies have a great deal of choice in how they access and use this Program. The benefits an agency derives from the program are intended to roughly approximate its contributions.
A Brief History
The Oregon Federal Executive Board (OFEB) sponsors the Shared Neutrals Program to facilitate the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) among federal, state local and tribal governing agencies. Participating agencies may use the Program’s cadre of neutrals free of charge and with minimal documentation requirements.
The Oregon Federal Executive Board adopted the Shared Neutrals Program 1996, following the model of similar programs. Oregon Shared Neutrals enjoys a reciprocal agreement with the Intergovernmental ADR Consortium sponsored by the Seattle Federal Executive Board. Agencies with offices in both regions may use either Program, depending on the availability of neutrals.
Over 40 agencies currently participate, along with over 30 mediators and facilitators. Since 1997, participating neutrals have mediated over 1000 cases around the Pacific Northwest, saving the participating agencies well over $18 million dollars (cost savings calculated at $78k per EEO case and $18k per non-EEO case by 2015 OPM estimates).
Looking for someone to listen and help to identify options? Mediation offers a confidential, voluntary way to better understand what is going on, identify more options for moving forward and get help in evaluating options. Please contact the Program Chair for more information.
Interested in joining?
Participating agencies gain access to a roster of experienced, skilled neutrals free of charge (travel expenses paid by requesting agency). This consortium offers participating agencies great flexibility in how the Program is used for ADR services. Core values are self-determination, confidentiality, non-retaliation, and contribution commensurate with benefits. Please contact the Program Chair to learn more.
Interested in serving as a Neutral?
Agency staff (and volunteers) who serve as mediators and facilitators gain access to powerful professional development and continuing education opportunities with a respected group of talented neutrals. Applicants must be certified through a 40 hour basic mediation training program, commit to 15 hours of annual continuing education, adhere to standards of practice and complete a training orientation with a mentor. The Program Guide describes the application process. Please contact the Program Chair to apply.
The governing Subcommittee usually convenes on the first Tuesday of each month via conference call or meeting to discuss program evaluation, outreach, training and recruitment. Subcommittee members are recruited from participating agencies according to bylaws detailed in the Program Guide. Please contact the Program Chair to get involved.
Chair: Kimberly Koch-Hult
Location: 620 SW Main Street, Suite 330, Portland, OR97205
Army Corps of Engineers Bonneville Power Administration Bureau of Land Management
National Energy Technology Laboratory Environmental Protection Agency Indian Health Service
Internal Revenue Service, Seattle Oregon Military Department Small Business Administration
U.S. Attorney, Oregon USDA, Agricultural Statistics Service USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service
USDA, Forest Service VA Medical Center, Portland & Vancouver VA Regional Office, Portland
State, Local and Tribal
Centennial School District City of Beaverton City of Gresham
City of Milwaukie City of Portland City of Wilsonville
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Dept. of Corrections HR, Washington Dept. of Social Health Services/Washington
Evergreen School District Oregon Health & Science University Portland Community College
State of Oregon Executive branch agencies and the Oregon Judicial Department
USDA, Forest Service
Oregon Federal Executive Board
Forms and Resource Documents (PDF)
SN Program Guide
Forms for Mediation
Forms for Agency Liaisons
Forms for Facilitation
* Used with permission from Community Mediation Services, City of Vancouver/Clark County