Salem Office : 945 Columbia St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
Albany Office: 308 Broadalbin St. SW, Albany, OR 97321
(click on the address to see a map)
Marion County email: email@example.com
Benton & Linn email: N2NBentonLinn@gmail.com
503.585.0651 - Marion County
541.223.4189 Benton & Linn Counties
A Community Mediation Center
Serving Benton, Linn, & Marion Counties
Neighbor-to-Neighbor is dedicated to providing peaceful solutions to conflict through mediation, facilitation, education and training. Our aim is to provide families, neighborhoods, and crime victims the means to achieve peace and reconciliation.
We are committed to enhancing our local community by supporting individuals and groups to peacefully resolve conflicts, achieve reconciliation, and learn appropriate dispute resolution behavior.
In the conduct of Neighbor-to-Neighbor's operations, we value:
- Conflict as an opportunity for learning and growth
- Appropriate dispute resolution approaches to conflict
- The right and innate ability of each person to find peaceful solutions to conflict
- The primacy of volunteers as mediators
- Professional development of staff, volunteers, and board
- Meaningful compensation for and recognition of staff
- Collaborative relationships with other community groups and organizations
- Open and respectful communications among staff, board, volunteers, community members, and mediation participants
- Sensitivity to and appreciation of community and cultural differences
How Mediation Works
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process where people with disputes come together, sit down with a mediator or mediators, and talk about ways to solve their dispute. When someone has a conflict, he or she calls the N2N office and asks for help.
We take down a bit of information about the dispute, including as much contact information about the other party as is known. The case is then assigned to a case developer who calls or visits both parties to talk about what mediation can do for them. The case developer invites the parties to schedule a mediation session. If both parties are willing to meet, the case developer sets up a time and place (usually at the N2N offices, but mediations can be held elsewhere). The N2N office sends notices or calls everyone concerned to inform them of the time and place of the session.
The parties meet. The discussions are facilitated by the mediators. Most of the time, agreements are reached. However, even if the parties don't formalize their agreements, we generally find that they do come away from the process with new understandings, clarified information, and reduced stress in their relationships.
If you would like to know more about mediation, call the
Neighbor-to-Neighbor office at 503-585-0651 and ask questions or
request a brochure.
Assuming that there is no threat of physical violence, talk directly to the person with whom you have the problem. Direct conversation is much more effective than sending a letter, banging on the wall, throwing a rock, or complaining to everyone else.
Plan to talk to the other person at the right time, and allow yourself enough time for a thorough discussion. Don’t start talking about the conflict just as the other person is leaving for work, after you have had a terrible day, or right before you have to make dinner. Try to talk in a quiet place where you can both be comfortable and undisturbed for as long as the discussion takes.
Think out what you want to say ahead of time. State clearly what the problem is and how it affects you.
Antagonizing the other person only makes it harder for him or her to hear you. Don’t blame the other person for everything or begin the conversation with your opinion of what should be done.
Don’t interpret the other person’s behavior: “You are blocking my driveway on purpose just to make me mad!” Instead, give information about your own feelings: “When your car blocks my driveway, I feel angry because I can’t get to work on time.”
Give the other person a chance to tell his or her side of the conflict completely. Relax and listen. Try to learn how the other person feels about what is going on.
SHOW THAT YOU ARE LISTENING
Although you may not agree with what is being said, tell the other person that you hear them and are glad that you are discussing the problem together.
TALK IT ALL THROUGH
Once you start, get all of the issues and feelings out into the open. Don’t leave out the part that seems too “difficult” to discuss or too “insignificant” to be important. Your solution will work best if all the issues are discussed thoroughly.
WORK ON A SOLUTION
When you have reached this point in the discussion, start working on a solution. Two or more people cooperating are much more effective than one person telling another to change. Be specific: “I will turn my music off at midnight” is better than a vague “I won’t play loud music anymore.”
Agree to check with each other at specific times to make sure that the agreement is still working…then really do it.
The History of Neighbor-to-Neighbor
In the mid-1980's, a nationwide movement was underway to provide dispute resolution alternatives to the legal system and/or police intervention. In December of 1984, Community Boards, a highly successful San Francisco-based community mediation program, put on a workshop on community mediation programs. Three members of the Salem community attended the workshop: Bryan Johnston, Willamette University Law Professor, Dr. Roy Patton, Chair of the Salem Human Rights Commission, and Janet Hawkins, staff person in Salem's Community Development Department.
The three delegates returned enthusiastic about creating a community mediation program. They believed the basic program they learned about could be adapted for use in Salem. Jan Alsever, another Human Rights Commission member, joined to help initiate the adaptation. In January of 1985, some 30 leaders of community organizations that dealt daily with conflict situations were invited to a planning session. Groups represented included the Women's Crisis Center, Salem Police Department, Legal Aid, and Salem-Keizer Schools.
The group met to formulate a basic structure to fit the needs of Salem. The main goal was to offer all members of the Salem community a free, convenient, workable program of volunteer mediation. Also important was the desire to provide training that would empower each mediator with skills to resolve informal neighborhood disputes. Parties involved in those disputes could themselves learn dispute resolution skills and pass them on to yet others.
With the basic plan agreed upon, a Board of Directors was selected and liaison members were designated from city and county law enforcement agencies and City of Salem staff. September of 1985 marked the first Board training for the neighborhood mediation project. Brochures offering the concept and services were distributed by December 1985. The Board began working on its first priority -- educating the Salem community that Neighbor-to-Neighbor mediation services were available. This is still an on-going effort today. Salem Neighborhoods, Inc., and Legal Aid provided the seed money for the initial publicity campaign, and subsequently a grant was received from Gannett.
In 1987, legislation was introduced establishing a dispute resolution advisory council. This coincided with the development of the Dispute Resolution Center at Willamette University, headed up by Bryan Johnston and Susan Leeson. In 1989, the Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission (ODRC) was created. One of its charges was to promote and assist community mediation programs throughout the State. Funding to enable this effort came from surcharges generated from county court fees. The Commission also set standards of mediator training for community-based programs.
In 1992, Neighbor-to-Neighbor applied for and received support from the State through the ODRC grant, and from the County in the form of in-kind office space at 216 High Street NE. Neighbor-to-Neighbor became a non-profit organization of the State of Oregon and is authorized by the IRS to receive tax-deductible contributions.
Angie Schwartz was hired as the first paid staff and the office was officially opened in April 1992. In November 1992, Angie left and Alice Wells was hired as Program Coordinator. The first newsletter, Let's Talk, was published in December 1992.
Since receiving the ODRC grant in 1992, Neighbor-to-Neighbor has expanded services to include the entire Marion County community. Neighbor-to-Neighbor continues to recruit and train volunteer mediators in basic mediation training classes conducted about once a year. In 1993, Neighbor-to-Neighbor attempted to open a satellite office in Woodburn and trained Woodburn volunteers to provide community mediation. The Salem headquarters eventually absorbed this satellite operation.
In September 1993, a group of volunteers received additional training to start a Juvenile Victim/Offender mediation program in partnership with the Marion County Juvenile Department. Pre-adjudication cases are referred to Neighbor-to-Neighbor through this program. In September 1994, another group of volunteer mediators received additional specialized training to begin the Adult Victim/Offender mediation program. These referrals are from the Marion County District Attorney's Office. Neighbor-to-Neighbor also provided training in 1994 for a group from Western Oregon University who subsequently set up their own mediation program on campus to assist students and staff.
In February 1996, Drinda Lombardi was hired as Administrative Director, increasing the staff to two part-time persons. A Conflict Me 3-hour training program was developed and is available for presentation to community groups. The training provides tools to individuals to deal with conflict in a positive way. Neighbor-to-Neighbor volunteers also conduct this training as requested.
In January 1997, Neighbor-to-Neighbor entered into a new partnership with the State of Oregon Housing and Community Services Department, and continues to receive funding from the department's Manufactured Dwelling Park Program to provide mediation services for people residing in manufactured dwelling parks on an as needed basis.
From April 1998 until late 2001, funds were available for additional Youth & Family mediation training and staffing. The mediation process included a co-mediation model for an adult and peer mediator to work together at the table. For a time the funding for this program was provided by the Marion County Children & Families Commission. It is currently not funded but continues to be a service available through the general program.
Mona West became the Executive Director in November 1998 when Drinda departed. In September 1999, Carolyn Berry succeeded Mona as Executive Director and conducted a program of Peer Mediation Training in the Stayton High School. Cory Mathews came on board as a Youth & Family Program Coordinator while funding continued.
David L. Leavenworth was hired in December 2000 as Executive Director. Alice Wells served as succeeding interim director from March 2002 until August 2002 when Sophia Douglas accepted the position at .75 FTE. Neighbor-to-Neighbor also employed Sheri King, a .4 FTE program assistant, and Tina Schweickert as a program coordinator.
The Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission was abolished during the 2003 state legislative session. The Community Dispute Resolution Center program was moved to the University of Oregon Law School. Neighbor-to-Neighbor continues to operate under a biennial grant from the Oregon Office of Community Dispute Resolution (OOCDR), with funds generated from county court filing fees. The grant program is now administered through the U of O Law School.
Sophia Douglas and Sheri King left Neighbor-to-Neighbor in August of 2004, and Sandy Kristiansen stepped in as a Program Director. In October of 2004, Dara Benton was hired as a Program Assistant. In July of 2005, Rhonda Horn was hired as Director of the program after Sandy moved out of the state. Dara Benton left Neighbor-to-Neighbor in September of 2005 to return to university full-time.
Neighbor-to-Neighbor currently maintains a roster of approximately 40 trained volunteer mediators and case developers and handles, approximately 18 cases per month. Many volunteers take on an even greater commitment of their personal time through serving on the Board of Directors, training new mediators, training community groups, speaking at outreach activities and serving on various committees. They come from all walks of life but share a common belief in the 'magic' of mediation.
The stated purpose in the original Bylaws is identical to the stated purpose in the Bylaws today. While office spaces, board members, volunteers, and staff members have come and gone, breathing constant life into the community dispute resolution vision, the basic purpose and concept remains unchanged. Neighbor-to-Neighbor Purpose:
- To support the voluntary and participatory resolution of conflict
- To foster acceptance of responsibility by the individual and community for conflict and its peaceful resolution
- To provide a forum for resolution of these disputes and training for volunteers to assist in this process
- To foster the philosophy that conflict has positive value and can be used for beneficial change
- To further develop a sense of community
Neighbor-to-Neighbor handles approximately 200 cases per
referrals from law enforcement, housing authority, private
Marion County Juvenile Department, neighborhood associations,
and code enforcement, dog control, manufactured dwelling parks,
and other local government agencies. The time, effort,
vision of individuals serving on the Board of Directors over the
in the volunteer ranks, and as staff, is a testimony to the
effectiveness, value and the constancy of alternative methods of
In December of 2010, Neighbor-to-Neighbor was asked by the
board of Linn-Benton Mediation Services to consider providing
services to Linn and Benton Counties as LBMS was financially
and would be ceasing operations. Neighbor-to-Neighbor Board of
Directors considered the request and authorized Board President
Hall) and Executive Director (Charles Ikard) explore the
expanding services to Linn and Benton Counties utilizing
volunteer mediators previously working for LBMS. In February of
Neighbor-to-Neighbor had secured adequate funding to support the
expansion and restructuring had begun as of February 24, 2011.
In February of 2012, the Oregon Legislature passed SB 1552,
which required lenders to mediate with borrowers prior to
foreclosing on their residence. The new program was named
Foreclosure Avoidance Mediation Program (FAMP), and sought input
from many stakeholders prior to its implementation in July of
2012. Executive Director Charles Ikard represented the Oregon
Association of Community Dispute Resolution Centers on the
workgroup tasked with making recommendations to the Attorney
General during the rulemaking process. Charlie was also named to
the Attorney General's advisory committee for the FAMP to
provide ongoing program input from the Community Dispute
Resolution centers in Oregon.
Charles (Charlie) Franklin Ikard....... Executive Director
Charlie has been with Neighbor to Neighbor since August, 2007. He is a "retired" Labor Relations and Human Resource professional with over 35 years experience in that field.
Dana Eckfield.....Administrative Assistant
worked with nonprofit organizations for more than 20
years--with most of that experience coming from the Oregon
State University Foundation. She and her husband, Eric, enjoy
good food & wine, and supporting their son Michael in his activities
at North Salem High School.
Kevin Grant....Program Manager Benton & Linn Counties
Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Oregon State University and currently sits on the Oregon Mediation Association Board of Directors.
R. Sam Hall.......President
Sam is a retired math professor from Willamette
University and is partner and co-founder of a private
mediation practice. Sam is also an experienced mediator
and volunteer mentor for Neighbor-to-Neighbor. Sam has
been a Board Member since October, 2006.
Laurie Mason.....Vice President
Laurie, a Corvallis native, is a retired California
professor, lawyer, and biomedical instrumentation
business co-founder who now divides her time between her
mediation practice and volunteer work through
Neighbor-to-Neighbor, various community theaters, and as
a member of the Corvallis Budget Commission. Laurie
joined the Board in February 2012.
Jim is currently the Executive Director of the Salem
Association of Realtors. Prior to that he spent 30
years in Title and Escrow Industry in Oregon. Jim
joined the Board in May of 2010.
Daniel Rice......SecretaryDaniel is a lawyer with the Heltzel Williams Law Firm in Salem, Oregon. He joined the Board in November 2011.
Lynn Cardiff......Board Member
Lynn is a retired school counselor who has mediated for
N2N since 1996. She has also served terms on the Board
of Directors twice in past years. Lynn has been a Board
Member since September, 2006.