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<xTITLE>Neighborhood Mediation</xTITLE>

Neighborhood Mediation

by East Metro Mediation

Mediation is a way to work through a disagreement or conflict between two or more people. Through the mediation process, neighbors get a clearer picture of their interests and the interests of their fellow neighbor, so that they can look at ways to improve the situation and come to a solution that everyone agrees to.

The mediation process is facilitated by an impartial mediator who provides a safe setting for both sides of the issue to be expressed. The mediator helps clarify the issues and clear up misunderstandings so the neighbors can consider their options for improving the future.

"Sometimes you need that third voice. Thank goodness mediation is available now."
-Neighbor after a joint mediation session

Mediation is successful because there's a neutral person who's not involved in the situation. The mediator keeps all information confidential and helps the people in the conflict to come to a good solution.

The mediators are people from the community who have been professionally trained in mediation. They work to help you make your neighborhood a better place to live.


HOW MEDIATION WORKS
1. When you find yourself in a bothersome conflict, you can call your local mediation program to talk with a mediator. The mediator will ask you about your situation, your concerns, and about the other person(s). As an impartial, neutral person, the mediator will help you understand your interests and your options. They'll send you written information on solving neighborhood problems, and you may feel that you can work on the resolution yourself without further assistance from the mediation program.

"I appreciate the information and the support that let me face the problem and work it out with my neighbor."
- Parent of children involved in neighborhood dispute.

2. If the problem seems too big or you want further assistance, the mediator can, with your permission, call the other person with whom you have a conflict. The mediator talks with your neighbor, again as a neutral person, to understand that person's concerns around the situation. Through the mediator's conversation with you and your neighbor, and through the program's information, you may get what you need to work out the solution yourselves.

3. Sometimes both parties want a neutral mediator to facilitate a session where they all meet to discuss the situation. The mediator then schedules a joint session for you and your neighbor(s), with two mediators. During this session the mediators will ask each of you about what happened, how you were affected, and what's most important, in order to help clear up misunderstandings and improve communications. Then you'll be asked to do some creative problem-solving, look at possible options, and come to an agreement that you both feel you can accept and agree to. Usually the agreement is written down and both parties get copies to remind them of what was agreed.


QUESTIONS PEOPLE MAY HAVE...
"But my neighbors are impossible. Can mediation do any good for us?"
Many people come to mediation as a last resort, feeling frustrated by the situation. The success and relief that people feel after mediation assistance convince us that we can help resolve most of the difficult situations that come our way.

"This is a sensitive matter that I don't want others to know about. How confidential is this?"
The mediators and staff keep all conversations confidential. No information goes outside the program.

"What if my neighbor doesn't keep the agreement?"
Before the agreement is written, we try to make sure it can realistically be kept. But if it breaks down at any time, you can always call the mediation program and they can help you think of other solutions.

"I feel so much relief now that we've worked it out."
- Person reaching an agreement after a long dispute.
East Metro Mediation has been providing mediation services to the cities of Fairview, Gresham, Troutdale and Wood Village in Oregon since 1992. We help resolve conflicts around noise, property, housing, debts, harassment, and workplace differences. We are housed in the City of Gresham, and are funded by the four above cities and grant monies. A team of 15 mediators volunteer their time; there are two paid staff. Mediation services are free to people who live or work in the area.