3rd Annual Gala Supports Residents

March 21, 2014 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

PCRI’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars Portland Gala was successful and glamorous, raising over $70,000 to support the affordable housing and services PCRI residents depend on to achieve stability and self-sufficiency.

Starting off the evening’s program, Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith and Metro Councilor Sam Chase captivated the audience with a graceful foxtrot and playful humor.

Smith-Chase at PCRI Gala

Following the Commissioner Smith and Councilor Chase’s dance performance (and a packed reception before that), last year’s champion dancer, Katherine Cook hosted the evening as Mistress of Ceremonies, introducing guests to Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick and Board of Directors President Preston Greene.  Kelly Russell of Kelly Russell Auctions motivated guests to get their bid numbers in the air for an exciting auction and successful special appeal, featuring the success story of the Orr family (pictured below).

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Former PCRI Board Member Barbara B. Smith, presented her namesake Community Support Award to Gary Cunningham, whose efforts at the Northwest Area Foundation have been instrumental in enabling significant pre-development activity at PCRI.  Mr. Cunningham was not available to receive the award in person, but expressed his gratitude via video.  Maxine Fitzpatrick accepted the award in his honor at the gala.

IMG_0188The headlining entertainment of the evening, the Dancing with the Stars-style competition, was also a runaway success.  Five prominent local celebrities were each trained by and paired with professional dancers from Portland’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio.  Each dancing couple put on a spectacular show in the individual performance as well as the group waltz competition.  In between dances, the competition’s star judges (pictured below) kept the audience entertained with commentary about the dancers’ performances.

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Pressed to crown a champion, the judges had their work cut out for them:  KGW NewsChannel 8 reporter Ashley Korslien, started the competition with a fast-paced Latin club mix.  She and dance partner Uriah Stockdale (pictured below) of Fred Astaire Dance Studio had guests cheering for more.

IMG_0223Oregon State Representative Jennifer Williamson danced an especially graceful Viennese Waltz with Fred Astaire Studio’s Alex Aillon(pictured below) and kept the crowd at the edge of their seats.

IMG_0259Charles McGee, CEO of The Black Parent Initiative took to the floor next, getting down to “Superstition” with a showdance.  McGee and his professional partner Sydney Weir from Fred Astaire Dance Studio (pictured below) had gala guests clapping and cheering for more.

IMG_0294Up next, benefit auctioneer Kelly Russell danced into her second role of the night, trading her auctioneer’s microphone for a pair of dance shoes and performing the rumba with Fred Astaire Studio partner Kacey Bicking (pictured below) to the song “Fly Love.”

IMG_0322Rounding out the first portion of the competition, Ifanyi Bell, digital producer for OPB, jumped, slid and danced around the floor for a crowd-pleasing showdance with Fred Astaire’s Jessi Aillon (pictured below).

IMG_0343The second portion of the competition featured all five dance couples performing the waltz, after which, the judges faced a difficult decision trying to choose a champion.

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In the end, Ifanyi and Jessi’s graceful waltz and crowd-pleasing showdance trumped their competitors, capturing the evening’s championship trophy.

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We extend a giant thank you to all our sponsors, contributors and guests as well as the fantastic volunteers who made the evening such an amazing success.  Be sure to check PCRI’s Gala Website as well as our Facebook page for more photos of the event!

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