Portland Public Schools

Portland Public Schools Board was heading into teacher contract negotiations, which in the past were antagonistic, prolonged and played out in the media. At the same time, Portland voters were going to vote on a repeal of a temporary local income tax that would have cut tens of millions from the 2004-2005 and following school year. It was essential that the negotiations produce a financially sound contract, and that the voters—especially the parents of local school children—quickly get factual information about the negotiations and impact of the potential repeal, while recognizing the separate anti-repeal campaign.

Baldwin Consulting was hired by the volunteer Portland Public School Board to direct strategic communications around the 2004-2005 teachers’ union contract with School District, and educating parents on the impacts of the potential local income tax. As part of the negotiations team, Gwenn developed a comprehensive communications plan that addressed both volatile issues, and generated positive media coverage.

Within a 24-hour period, Gwenn wrote and placed a favorable opinion piece in The Oregonian, securing a former Secretary of State, school parent leader and a business leader as authors for the byline. Baldwin Consulting also created a “back-to-school night” presentation on the impact of the local income tax repeal, which was presented by parent volunteers in nearly 100 schools over a six-week period. Baldwin Consulting also provided speaker training for over 25 volunteer parents.

Strategic communications services:

  • Managed day-to-day media relations on contract negotiations, including working with reporters, editorial boards and columnists
  • Crafted talking points for volunteer school board members and negotiations team members to ensure a clear, consistent message to stakeholders
  • Maintained clear, frequent communications with key stakeholders on contract negotiations
  • Created a comprehensive communications strategy for both the 2004-2005 Portland teachers’ contract negotiations and the potential repeal of a local income property tax
  • Developed a powerful, succinct PowerPoint presentation on the impact of the repeal
  • Provided speaker training to 25 school parents


Our House of Portland

After 15 years, the Northwest’s only advanced AIDS long term care facility had outgrown its outdated nursing facility and wanted to add allied housing and support services. After receiving a $1.3 million federal Housing and Urban Affairs Department grant, Our House had to undertake an extensive capital campaign to complete funding.

Baldwin Consulting was brought in to developed a strategic communications plan to garner support among existing and potential donors, as well as inform and coalesce staff and board leadership. After gathering information from key stakeholders, a plan was specifically designed to increase awareness and support for the renovation and expansion plans that could be easily implemented by staff and board members.

Strategic communications services:

  • Surveyed clients, major donors and board members to evaluate current perceptions of Our House and awareness of the renovation and expansion plans
  • Developed a comprehensive communications plan to educate and engage key internal and external stakeholders in support of the renovation and expansion plans
  • Evaluated existing materials for effectiveness among stakeholders and make specific recommendations for improvements
  • Worked closely with staff and board members to ensure ease of implementation and commitment to the recommendations.


Baldwin Consulting helped us strategically communicate with stakeholders during our teacher contract negotiations and in the face of a potential repeal of our local income tax for schools. Gwenn gave us critical, smart insight throughout the process and was a great team player—she was just what we needed.
—Bobbie Regan, Co-Chair, Portland Public Schools Board
—Julia Brim-Edwards, Portland Public Schools Board