The services we offer

CFM Strategic Communications helps its clients through five service lines:

At our core, all CFM staff members are communicators. Telling a simple story and making it memorable is our strength. During the past two decades CFM has helped many different organizations deal with tough issues and reach elusive goals. Click on the icon above and visit each of our services, learning about team members and their views on how best to take on your assignment. Let us be a trusted partner.

Federal Affairs

Legislative Strategy • Direct Lobbying • Communication Support • Federal Grant Assistance • Relationship Building • Political Action

Washington, D.C. is a continent away, but its impact is felt locally. Congress and federal agencies may seem impenetrable, but we talk to lawmakers and regulators every day. Influencing the federal government isn’t easy, but it also isn’t impossible. We do it all the time, representing Pacific Northwest clients to make sure their concerns are heard, their viewpoints are expressed and their needs are known. Congress no longer approves earmarks, but so what. We find creative ways for clients to win the day.

Restoring Bus and Bus Facility Funding for Transit Agencies


Congress typically passes a long-term transportation bill to fund highway and transit programs every six years. In 2012, Congress passed what many consider a temporary two-year patch called MAP-21. MAP-21 was sold as a streamlining measure that eliminated or significantly cut dozens of federal programs. While the overall funding level for transit rose slightly under MAP-21, funding for the Bus and Bus Facilities program was reduced from $984 million in FY 2012 to $422 million in FY 2013 – a cut of more than 57 percent at a time of increasing ridership. This came in spite of the fact that public transit buses account for more than 50 percent of all transit trips nationwide.


Salem-Keizer Transit (SKT) and similar small and mid-size transit agencies across the country relied on the competitive bus grant program to institute a reasonable bus replacement schedule. SKT has 24 buses that will meet or exceed their useful life if not replaced in the next couple of years. Restoration of the bus grant program was critical to meeting SKT’s short- and long-term capital needs.

As a new long-term transportation bill was being crafted in 2015, it was clear there was not going to be a silver bullet to solve the overall problem of transportation funding. Gas tax increases were off the table and new revenue sources were never a political reality. As such, it would be difficult to get any program a significant addition, including the Bus and Bus Facility program.

Buses represent a significant cost and require more frequent replacement and substantial investment by transit agencies. In practical terms, cuts to FTA’s Bus and Bus Facilities program meant more buses operating past their useful service life, significantly higher maintenance costs and less reliable service to riders.

See how we took on this challenge

Rubin Becomes CFM Partner

Joel Rubin, left, with Tigard Mayor John Cook, right, discusses federal items highlighted at a recent Conference of Mayors event in Washington, D.C. Rubin, who leads CFM’s federal affairs team, just became the firm’s newest partner.

Joel Rubin, left, with Tigard Mayor John Cook, right, discusses federal items highlighted at a recent Conference of Mayors event in Washington, D.C. Rubin, who leads CFM’s federal affairs team, just became the firm’s newest partner.

Joel Rubin, who joined CFM Strategic Communications nearly 10 years ago and now leads the firm’s federal affairs office in Washington, DC, has become its newest shareholder.

“I’m pleased my work for clients has translated into a solid practice area for CFM,” Rubin says.

Rubin grew up in the Washington, DC area, but worked for five years as Legislative Director to former Washington Congressman Brian Baird, which gave him a taste of the Pacific Northwest. “It was all new and I loved it,” Rubin says. “Maryland is my home, but the Pacific Northwest is my second home."

After he left Capitol Hill, Rubin worked as a lobbyist for a D.C.-based firm. When given the chance to join CFM and work with Pacific Northwest clients, he jumped at the opportunity. "The Northwest is blessed with folks who work well together and try to solve problems. I was excited to rejoin my friends and colleagues to continue the work I started for Congressman Baird."

Read more

State Affairs

Legislative Strategy • Direct Lobbying • Communication Support • Grant Assistance • Relationship Building • Political Action

When Oregon lawmakers show up in Salem, we’re there, too. We use our relationships, experience and advocacy skills to represent client interests – passing bills, blocking harmful legislation and seeking appropriations. Sometimes the best solution to a problem is to change the law or modify a regulation. That requires a savvy plan, disciplined advocacy and relentless persistence – the criteria by which we measure ourselves in representing clients.

CFM's state affairs team Dan Jarman, Tess Milio, Dale Penn and Ellen Miller. 

CFM's state affairs team Dan Jarman, Tess Milio, Dale Penn and Ellen Miller. 

A Little Bragging about a Successful Session

CFM has always been a lobby firm dedicated to achieving client results. There is no better example of our work than the recently completed 2016 Oregon legislative session.

Our team of five lobbyists, led by CFM Partner Dan Jarman, worked on challenging legislative projects ranging from funding major sporting events to health care to low-income housing. Their work mirrored CFM’s intentionally diversified client portfolio that takes our lobby team to every corner of the state Capitol in Salem.

Success doesn’t happen by accident. “In a short session, there is a lot to do and not very much time to do it,” Jarman says. “You have to conceive a good plan, maintain the discipline to execute it and have the stamina to withstand all the turmoil to succeed. Our team did.”

Success doesn’t always occur in a single session, particularly a short one. And just because you succeed doesn’t mean that success is permanent.  “It takes vigilance to notch a client victory,” Jarman adds. “It takes just as much or more vigilance to preserve that victory.”

The CFM team in Salem consists of Dale Penn II,Ellen Miller and Tess Milio. Case studies highlighting some of their successes during the 2016 session are featured on CFM's homepage.

Michael Skipper, the fifth member of CFM's state team, joined the firm's federal affairs team in Washington, D.C., after the session. He has become the latest member of the CFM staff to work as a lobbyist in both D.C. and Salem.

There has been little time for the state team to rest. After writing their 2016 session reports for clients, they are already at work on legislation for the 2017 session as well as initiatives that voters will decide in the November general election.

“The cycle never stops,” Jarman said. “We can’t either."

Public Affairs

Strategic counsel  •  Issues management  •  Media relations  •  Crisis response  
• Crisis preparation •  Reputation management •  Media Training

Case Study: CFM Public Affairs helps to salvage major water project


A major water project was headed down the drain when CFM was retained and suggested a time-out and a new approach for the project. The new approach involved independent mediation with opponents and project modifications intended to ease opposition concerns. Some opponents remained unconvinced and mounted a grassroots campaign to block the project. However, solid improvements to the project and the goodwill generated by an aggressive outreach effort, including one-on-one and neighborhood meetings, was enough to win final approval. CFM also mobilized supporters to speed up reviews by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to allow construction on the project to begin this summer, saving ratepayers more than $1 million by avoiding a costly delay.

Read Full Case Study.

CFM Research

Telephone surveys  •  Focus groups  •  Executive interviews  •  Panel research
• Online focus groups • Online communities

Case Study: CFM Research Yields Community Feedback on School Budget

A Washington school district was struggling to get community comments on tough budget choices. It turns to CFM to get some answers and expand community engagement. Using online and traditional research tools, CFM upped community participation from less than 100 to more 3,000 residents in less than six weeks. District officials received constructive feedback and advice about complex budget issues from a wide cross-section of their patrons, which gave them a solid foundation for decision-making.

Read Full Case Study.


Marketing PR

 Strategic communication plans  •  Social media coaching  •   Media relations  •  Website design  
•  Writing  •  Presentations  •  Media Training

Case Study: Creating a logo to tell Center City Concern's story

Central City Concern (CCC) approached CFM to help tell its story to its target audiences, including potential donors. CCC is a large non-profit organization that provides a wide variety of services for homeless people in the Portland Metro area. The public lacked awareness about the full scope of services CCC provided to the community. The organization’s logo was old and didn't convey any sense of what CCC does. CFM suggested a fresh logo as a way to explain how CCC helps homeless people get back on their feet.  Read Full Case Study.