The public shouldn't always have to come to you.

People are busy: online open houses can help you share information and collect feedback when and where it's convenient for stakeholders.

Video: 58 sec

JLA’s online open houses are designed to streamline the process of making project information available and accessible to the public on its own terms. Our open house websites use a variety of custom tools to guide visitors through project information and gather useful feedback. They can be as simple as mobile friendly survey instruments or they can be elaborate online exercises that feature maps, games, and videos.

Explore the open houses below or take a tour


Beaverton Active Transportation Plan

Help make Beaverton a better place for active transportation.


Portland Transportation System Development Charge Update

Learn about TSDCs, how they impact new development, and proposed changes


I-205 Paving: I-5 to Abernethy Bridge

ODOT is repaving a nine-mile stretch of roadway on I-205 south of Portland. Learn more and provide feedback.


Corvallis TSP

Creating a long‐range document that guides the expansion and management of the transportation network for all modes of travel over the next 20 years.

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Washington County Transportation Futures

Evaluating long-term transportation strategies and investments to sustain economic health and quality of life.

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U.S. 26 Widening

Once this project is complete, there will be three lanes in each direction of U.S. 26, from Cornelius Pass Road into downtown Portland.

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Newberg Pavement Maintenance and Funding

The City of Newberg is exploring ways to ensure reliable funding for pavement maintenance.


U.S. 26 Boring Road Bridge Raising

ODOT wants feedback on the timing of the closure of the US 26 SE 282nd/Boring Road overpass.


Small Road Improvements
Small Road Improvements

These Washington County projects will improve pedestrian safety with the installation of walkways.


Riverwalk Schematic Design
Riverwalk Schematic Design

Working with residents to create a riverwalk that will honor the unique history and culture of Willamette Falls.


U.S. 26 Safety
U.S. 26 Safety

Construction of a project to improve safety along U.S. 26 on Mt. Hood.


RealTime Mt. Hood
Mt. Hood RealTime

ODOT is designing a project to place electronic signs on Mt. Hood.


99E Paving

In 2017, ODOT will repave 2.6 miles of deteriorated pavement on OR 99E, between SE Harold Street and SE Harrison Street.


Oregon Transportation Safety Action Plan

Oregon envisions no deaths or life-changing injuries on our transportation system by 2035.


OR 22 Safety

This project is intended to improve safety on OR 22 and prepare for an eventual interchange at the intersection of OR 22 and OR 51.


Oregon Passenger Rail

ODOT is studying ways to improve passenger rail service between Portland and the Eugene-Springfield area.

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Clackamas Connections

Setting a path to help the Clackamas Regional Center grow as a mixed-use, vibrant area that supports many ways of getting around.


West Linn TSP

Revising local transportation planning goals, objectives and projects to reflect new growth and emissions control strategies.

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Longview Drinking Water Improvement Study

In response to complaints and the results of the customer survey, the City of Longview and BHWSD began a study to evaluate options for improving water quality.


OR 224 Rockfall and Hazard Tree Removal

ODOT is working to improve safety along OR 224 by stabilizing rock slopes and removing hazardous trees.


OR 138 Safety

The OR 138E Corridor Solutions project will bring some big changes to downtown Roseburg.


Multnomah County Comp Plan

The Comprehensive Plan is a guide for how rural areas of Multnomah County should grow over the next 20 years.


Tigard Triangle

The Tigard Triangle Strategic Redevelopment Plan is meant to guide long-range growth and improvements in the area.


South Cooper Mountain

Concept and Community Planning process.

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Learn more

Go on a tour of online open house features, and use some common online open house tools to give us your thoughts about how to make the online open house experience even better.


What is an online open house?

Learn about JLA's online open house philosophy. 

Sharing Information

How we make your existing open house content more accessible online. 

Tell the Story With Video

Video is an affordable and compelling way to add value to the online experience. 

Collecting Feedback

Learn about customized exercises and survey tools. 

Encouraging Dialogue

Tools for facilitating useful discussion and debate. 

More Information

Get answers to frequently asked questions and request more information. 

= Page includes questions or opportunities for comment.

"Whoever developed and managed this internet project needs an atta boy. This is very clear and concise which makes it easily understandable. There is no reason why anyone can say they did not know what was going on if they take time to read this."

Washington County Transportation Futures Online Open House Comment

What is an online open house?

The online open house (sometimes called a “virtual” open house) is a public involvement tool that can deliver information, solicit feedback, and encourage multi-faceted interactions between participants in a public process.

Done properly, online open houses can broaden a community’s awareness about a project, efficiently reach people over a wide geographic area, enhance the participant experience, and expand capacity for understanding technical information and complex data – all at the public’s convenience over an extended period of time … and often with less cost than a conventional open house.

Video: 1 min 58 sec

JLA’s online open house philosophy

  • Accessibility – People shouldn’t be forced to register or login before they can participate; content should be approachable, concise, organized, and useable on a wide range of devices.
  • Opportunities for Feedback - Open houses are about two-way communication and online open houses must provide opportunities for feedback. They should also be clear about how that feedback will inform project outcomes and milestones.
  • Opportunities for Community Dialogue – Visitors to online open houses shouldn’t feel like they are participating in a vacuum. Whenever possible, online open houses should have features that let visitors share their ideas and interact with the ideas proposed by others.
  • Practicality – Online open houses should be feasible within tight timeframes and within tight project budgets.

Benefits of online open houses

  • More convenient – People are often too busy to attend physical open houses. Multi-week online events allow visitors to interact with the project on their own time and on their own terms.
  • Wider geographic reach – Online open houses are ideal for reaching across large geographic areas where physical outreach would be impractical.
  • Cost effective outreach – Online open houses often reach over 10X the number of visitors as a physical event, with a much lower cost to visitor ratio. Online open houses also make it easy to reuse templates and borrow from preexisting tools and materials in order to shorten development times and reduce costs.
  • Reach diverse audiences – Online open houses that employ "responsive design" are useable on a wide range of mobile devices and faciliate information sharing and feedback with populations who may not have reliable wired internet access.
  • Use "big picture" Tools – Online open houses are an ideal vehicle for sharing information using “big canvas” technologies such as maps and large images that are unwieldy and expensive to print.
  • Test Your Process - Online open houses are an opportunity to hone a message, evaluate questions, and gather feedback that can help a team virtualy model their process and rethink their approach to physical events.
  • Different Tools for Different Users – Online open houses must simultaneously address the needs of newcomers who want to revisit long-decided issues as well as veteran stakeholders who have minimal need for project background. A well-organized online open house uses a variety of tools (text, images, video, interactive exercises) that let visitors quickly find the information they want and participate at the level they are comfortable with.

More Info

Sharing Information

One of our goals is to make it easy to leverage preexisting project information. Although custom content is ideal, it isn’t always possible due to available time or budget. We’ve come up with a number of ways to streamline the process of making maps, boards, and other materials accessible to visitors without requiring a significant investment of time in reformatting content.

Boards and Displays

Website plugins make large-format boards and images accessible with minimal editing. The ability to pan and zoom makes graphics more approachable on mobile devices.

Use the mouse wheel to pan and zoom, or pinch and swipe on touch-enabled devices.

Example: Sellwood Bridge Project

Use your fingers or mouse wheel to zoom and pan. Zoomable image utilities allow users to explore detailed boards and images without the need for reformatting or resizing content. (Poster by JLA.)
  • Example: Sellwood Bridge Project

    Example: Sellwood Bridge Project

    Use your fingers or mouse wheel to zoom and pan. Zoomable image utilities allow users to explore detailed boards and images without the need for reformatting or resizing content. (Poster by JLA.)

Galleries and Slideshows

Image carousels make it easy to easily add presentations and guided tours to an open house, while offering the ability to zoom and pan within individual images.

Open gallery full-screen Use the mouse wheel to pan and zoom, or pinch and swipe on touch-enabled devices.
  • C-Tran BRT

    C-Tran BRT

    C-Tran maintains an interactive map that was designed and hosted by JLA. The map provides information about routing and stations for their new bus rapid transit line.
  • Oregon Passenger Rail

    Oregon Passenger Rail

    This project explored a range of potential alignments for improved passenger rail service in the Willamette Valley. The online map was used to collect comments and to share information about project constraints, such as wetlands.
  • South Cooper Mountain Concept and Community Planning

    South Cooper Mountain Concept and Community Planning

    Participants performed an exercise where they were required to move markers to show how they would fit a range of land uses within a constrained planning area. The map provided inline information about each land use type, and recorded responses to help guide the project team.
  • ODOT RealTime

    ODOT RealTime

    ODOT is installing new signage along major corridors in the Portland Metro Area. Aerial maps and the Google Streetview feature were used to help inform the public about where the signs will be located.

    Interactive Maps

    Maps help stakeholders easily visualize complex systems while conveying how they are part of a process that may extend beyond their immediate community.

    Example: Newberg Dundee Bypass

    Use the layers menu to show or hide map features; use the search box to find a specific address or location. Click "Reset" to re-center the map.

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    Tell the Story With Video

    Video doesn't have to be a complicated or expensive undertaking. When used properly, short videos can add tremendous value to an online open house by adding visual interest or explaining abstract concepts. We know we can't replace face-to-face interaction, but video does let us introduce the project team as human beings who are doing the best work they can on potentially contentious or difficult projects.

    Video: 1 min 9 sec


    Meet the Team

    Physical open houses offer stakeholders the opportunity to get to know the people who will be working on a project. Online open houses aren't so lucky, but video allows you put a human face on potentially contentious issues.

    Video: 1 min 17 sec

    Explain Abstract Concepts

    A picture is worth a thousand words, a video can be worth a million. We work to minimize the need for new content whenever possible, by leverage existing project diagrams and simulations.

    Video: 3 min 17 sec

    Simulation Credit: Slayden/Sundt Joint Venture

    Stakeholder Testimony

    Statements from community members about the purpose of a project can be far more effective than commentary by the project team.

    Video: 1 min 9 sec

    Involvement Summary

    Sharing opinions through video is a great way to let the public know that they have been heard and taken seriously. It also demonstrates to newcomers that many unique perspectives and opinions are being considered in the process.

    Video: 1 min 13 sec
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    Collecting Feedback

    Online surveys can dramatically simplify the data collection process, but they’re only as good as the questions you ask and the supporting information you provide to inform opinions. JLA has been helping clients develop informative survey tools for decades, and we design the survey element of our online open houses so that users are never far from the content they need to make an informed decision.

    Don’t see a question type that you want? Talk to us, chances are we can build it for you.

    Smart Questions

    Customized question types with inline information and pop-overs help make it easier for users to provide informed feedback. Live skip logic allows you to streamline surveys by hiding questions based on earlier answers.

    Tell us about your experience with online open houses.

    Have you ever done an online open house before? (Check one.)
    Awesome! How did your online open house go? (Check one.)

    Drag and Drop Prioritization

    Touch-screen friendly ranking and prioritization exercises simulate tangible open house activities and are simpler than asking users to remember numbers or do math.

    Which benefits of online open houses are the most important to you?

    On the "What is an online open house?" page we listed some of the benefits of online open houses. Use the exercise below to arrange those benefits in the order that represents their importance to you.

    Priority of benefits:
    Click and drag the options listed below into this box, then arrange by priority.
    • Convenience for Stakeholders
    • Wide Geographic Reach
    • Cost Effectiveness
    • Potential to Reach More Diverse Audiences
    • Support for Big Picture Tools (Maps, Large Graphics)
    • Testing Your Process
    • Providing Different Tools for Different Users


    Touch-screen friendly ranking and prioritization exercises simulate tangible open house activities and are simpler than asking users to remember numbers or do math.

    Which benefits of online open houses are the most important to you?

    Another approach to prioritization is to ask users to assign points to options to describe their level of support. This allows users to allocate equal ratings to different options, or to withhold points altogether.

    How would you allocate value to the online open house benefits? You have 28 points to assign.

    Use the sliders to assign points to each goal.

    Convenience for Stakeholders
    Wide Geographic Reach
    Cost Effectiveness
    Potential to Reach More Diverse Audiences
    Support for Big Picture Tools (Maps, Large Graphics)
    Modeling Physical Open Houses
    Providing Different Tools for Different Users.

    Total Spent: 0/28

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    Encouraging Dialogue

    Although we can't replace face to face interaction, we can provide opportunities for stakeholders to see and respond to other ideas ... just as they would at a physical open house.

    JLA has remained on the cutting edge in developing web tools that build engagement through public participation and dialogue. Participatory mapping, “sticky wall” exercises, and crowdsourcing tools add to process transparency while allowing stakeholders to learn about the opinions of others within civil discussion forums.

    Comment Maps

    Comment maps help stakeholders to visualize complex systems and understand how a process may extends beyond their immediate community. As a feedback tool, maps allow users to organize their feedback by location and issue, providing a helpful overview of which issues are the most important and where the project should focus its attention.

    Put a pin where you live ... Comment on someone else's pin.

    Use the comment button to submit comments; use the layers menu to show or hide map features; use the search box to find a specific address or location. Click "Reset" to re-center the map.

    Sticky Walls

    "Sticky wall" exercises challenges participants to briefly define their ideas in much the same way that they might use post-it notes at a physical open house. Because responses are limited, lengthy diatribes are not possible and off-topic side conversations are more difficult. Sticky walls are also helpful for transparently demonstrating that a multitude of perspectives are being heard as part of a process.

    What makes physical open houses valuable?

    It's often helpful to look at physical open houses as models for online open houses, and while online open houses can replicate many features of physical events, they can't do everything. What do you think makes physical (not virtual!) open houses particularly valuable?

    characters remaining

    Your answer to this question will be posted on this page for others to read. For the purpose of this exercise, you are limited to 144 characters. By leaving a comment, you are agreeing to our comment policy.

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    Crowdsourcing allows the public to contribute and prioritize ideas and values within a simple online forum. Our custom application encourages responses beyond simple and ambiguous ratings (such as “Like”) and try to encourage more nuanced and helpful feedback. As with sticky wall exercises, the length of posts can be limited, and responses can be moderated.

    What features do you think that online open houses should provide?

    Review the list of ideas below, leave comments expressing support or feedback, then add new ideas to the list.

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    More Information

    Thanks for taking the time to learn about JLA’s online open houses and for giving us some feedback about ways to make them better. The online open house concept is constantly changing and we learn something new with every project.

    If you’re interested in learning more about doing online open houses with JLA, you can submit questions below and we’ll be happy to get back to you.

    Get more information

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