A letter from Maxine Fitzpatrick

November 5, 2018 · by Rachel Loftin · Featured, PCRI
Maxine Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of PCRI

Maxine Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of PCRI

Dear Community Members, Friends, and Colleagues, 

Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. (PCRI) established in 1992, will be undergoing a leadership change effective December 31, 2018. 

PCRI was formed for the purpose of acquiring and managing the rental housing and homeownership portfolio owned by Dominion Capital. Dominion Capital, an investor broker, had been charged with racketeering and fraud, perpetrated mainly to Black residents in North and Northeast Portland.  Due to widespread Lender redlining in those neighborhoods, Black residents, historically living in North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods, were deprived of opportunities to purchase a home. However, because they wanted to own their homes, they accepted the only option available to them for homeownership and unbeknownst to them – that opportunity was a fraudulent land sale contract. This practice lasted for many years without resolution. 

Finally, after intensive community uproar and residents inability to purchase a home by traditional means, community members, along with City Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury began to highlight the injustice. Their efforts eventually gained widespread support and that led to the perpetrators being charged with racketeering and fraud and those charges resulted in the dissolution of the company. Rather than allow the hundreds of properties owned by the investor broker to flood the market and be picked up by real estate speculators, resulting in the subsequent displacement of hundreds of families – PCRI was formed to purchase the properties and prevent that anticipated outcome. With the support of the City of Portland, the State of Oregon, U.S. Bank, and the Community, PCRI was formed to purchase the portfolio and prevent subsequent displacements.  After a national search to find a leader for the newly formed organization, I was selected to fill the position. On September 1, 1993 – I moved to Portland from the Midwest to assume that role. 

After 25 years in this role, and the development of PCRI into one of the nation’s best community development corporations – my work here is concluding. Effective December 31, 2018 – I am retiring from PCRI and want the community members and industry professionals that I have had the opportunity to work with during this time to be some of the first people I publicly share this decision. 

Relocating to Portland to become the Executive Director of a newly formed community based housing development organization, has been both a challenging and a rewarding experience.  As I contemplate the next chapter in my life, I want to acknowledge that my experience at PCRI has been an honor. It is now time for me to pass the baton of a stable and healthy organization on to a new leader. Transitioning to Portland meant leaving my family, my friends and a bevy of Mentors and Colleagues – all who made my life’s work possible.  Relocating to a City where I did not know anyone – only knew of the Portland Trailblazers – I quickly adapted to the people in neighborhoods where I worked. Portland challenged my capacity and it has given me the opportunity to do some of the most important work one can do in life.  The work I have done in Portland is the same work I did before the transition – it just took much longer. 

There’s still work to do – Pathway 1000 Displacement Mitigation Plan is well on its way to implementation.  I urge and encourage each of you to do all you can to support PCRI’s new leadership. After my successor is named and brought on board, I will begin the new chapter in my life; I look forward to exploring new opportunities and continuing to be of service in areas of my professional and personal passion; the ongoing effort to address poverty through the provision of economic development opportunities, homeownership opportunities – these efforts represent holistic options and ways to mitigate homelessness as it exist today. 

During my time at PCRI, I have had the opportunity to work with many wonderful and committed people, both inside and outside of the organization.  Ex-employees, ex-board members and supporters may no longer be directly associated with the organization – however, their contributions helped shape the organization into what it represents today. I am confident PCRI can and will continue to thrive as well as expand its contribution to the creation of affordable housing and resident financial sustainability and prosperity.  PCRI has a tremendous future and I am proud to have been a part of its first 25 years.  It is my expectation and belief that the next 25 years for PCRI will be even more productive than the first 25 years. 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Maxine Fitzpatrick

Executive Director

 

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T.S. Elliot

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