Posts Tagged ‘Out and About’

December 26, 2013 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives is proud to sponsor the Celebrating Black Pioneers luncheon, to be held on December 27, 2013 at the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME).

PCRI invites community members to join in honoring the lives and accomplishments of five people who made a difference for Portland’s Black community.  Please RSVP to PCRI by telephone at (503) 288-2923 or by email.

The luncheon will be held on Friday, December 27, 2013 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Please note a change of location from earlier announcements.  The luncheon will take place at OAME:  4134 N. Vancouver Avenue, Portland, Oregon.

The luncheon’s 2013 honorees include:

JordanCharlesCharles Jordan, Portland’s first African-American City Commissioner.  Mr. Jordan held the role of City Commissioner for 10 years and the role of Parks Director for 14 years.  In June, 2012, the University Park Community Center—a center Mr. Jordan was instrumental in revitalizing—was renamed in his honor.  Prior to the dedication of the newly-named Charles Jordan Community Center, Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish commended Mr. Jordan’s work, saying, “Charles Jordan took Portland Parks and Recreation to the next level. His fingerprints are all over our system.”

pauline-at-duderanch-1Pauline Bradford, respected teacher, neighborhood advocate.  Mrs. Bradford was a teacher at Peninsula Elementary School until her retirement in 1989.  She has a strong connection to Albina and the Eliot neighborhood where she has lived for fifty years.  She is Past President of the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods and she remains on the Board representing the Eliot Neighborhood Associations.  She has long been active in the Association of Colored Women’s Clubs & Youth Affiliates (the oldest African American women’s organization in the U.S., founded in 1896).  First elected President of the Oregon chapter in 1982 she served several subsequent terms and was also elected to a term as President of the Northwest Region of the Association. Currently, she is a member of the National Board of the Association.

harold-williams-500x415Harold Williams, Sr., member of Portland Community College’s Board of Directors from 1990 until 2012.  Mr. Williams continues to be remembered by his peers and community not only for his service to PCC, but also as a community leader for over 50 years, including work for Governor Bob Straub as affirmative action director and equal opportunity coordinator (a role he later filled at the Portland Development Commission as well), and as a consultant to the Oregon Youth Authority.  Mr. Williams was also president of the Portland African American Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Coalition of Black Men, among many other accomplishments.

evelyncollinsEvelyn Collins, daycare owner and community member.  Miss Collins, as she was commonly known, purchased in 1965 what is now the Wonder Ballroom.  There, she earned the respect of Eliot community members by caring for the neighborhood’s children.  “She cared about some kids that others threw away,” says Ralph Davis on the Eliot Neighborhood website. “Being a white person, it was unheard of what she did in the Black community.”  Miss Collins received numerous community service awards over the years, including KOIN-TV’s Jefferson Award, and the Humanitarian Award from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Dr. John Marshall (photo not available), one of Portland’s first black medical doctors.  Dr. Marshall was a prominent physician whose own practice mirrored the challenges of many black Portlanders.  Originally located near Memorial Coliseum, eminent domain forced him to relocate his practice to a new location on North Williams Avenue to make way for the construction of I-5 in the late 1940s.  Regardless of location, Dr. Marshall’s connection to the community went beyond that of a typical physician: he strengthened the community by stressing education as a means to better oneself, and he routinely wrote off 20% or more of potential income caring for patients who did not have the means to pay for his services.


All photographs and information are thanks to the sites to which they are linked.


October 15, 2012 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

PCRI staff members recently joined peers from affordable housing organizations throughout the state of Oregon for Oregon Opportunity Network’s Annual Gala and Peer Support Conference.

At the September 24 Gala Dinner, we congratulated PCRI Asset Manager David Zimmerman as he received the Star Player Award (David is pictured above with other Star Player award recipients).  We also cheered on peers from other affordable housing organizations as they received Star Player, Golden Hammer and other Oregon ON awards.

On September 25, PCRI staff members joined our peers for a day of learning and information sharing at Oregon ON’s Peer Support Conference.  Sessions covered affordable housing policy and funding, resident coaching and support, homeownership options and foreclosure assistance, and strategies to better engage diverse contractors.  Held twice per year, PCRI staff always value the information gained by the Peer Support Conferences, and we’re just as eager this year to put our new knowledge to use in our homes and for our residents!

April 11, 2012 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

The weather is warming up and the hottest tickets are to the Portland Timbers! Lucky for you, PCRI has tickets for the May 5 game vs. Columbus Crew.

We have a limited number of tickets to this Timbers game, so don’t wait to reserve yours — email our events team today!  Tickets are $32.00 each (face value is $39.50!) and 45% of the ticket price for each ticket sold comes back to PCRI to support the community reinvestment, individualized resident services programs and affordable housing that we provide to help individuals and families stabilize their lives and achieve self sufficiency.

Pass along the word to your friends and family today – the quantity of tickets is limited.  Email us or give us a call soon to reserve yours!

March 7, 2012 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

Last weekend, PCRI and Cascadia Green Building Council’s Emerging Professionals organized a hands-on volunteer home improvement project in one of PCRI’s affordable rental homes.  The volunteers teamed up with Green Hammer Construction in mid-February to observe and participate in Green Hammer’s Home Performance assessment process, conducting weatherization testing, inspecting insulation and verifying safe operation of combustion appliances, like the furnace.

Armed with information gained from the testing, the crowd of nearly two dozen volunteers (pictured at right), led by PCRI, Emerging Professionals and Andrew Morphis of Green Hammer Construction, tackled projects to make the home healthier, more comfortable and more efficient.  Existing carpet was removed to expose wood floors that were ready for refinishing.  Old kitchen cabinets were deconstructed to make way for new, more usable ones.  Windows that were previously painted shut were once again made operable for fresh-air ventilation.  Insulation was improved and volunteers slathered mastic on the heating ducts to ensure they operated as efficiently as possible.  All of the materials that volunteers removed were carefully sorted to enable recycling and keep as much as possible out of the landfill.

PCRI’s Executive Director, Maxine Fitzpatrick greeted the volunteers before they started on the project.  She thanked them for their service, adding that their volunteer efforts are priceless in supporting PCRI’s ability to provide below-market rate rental homes to residents who rely on these opportunities to stabilize their lives and return to self-sufficiency.

In addition to the home improvement benefits realized by PCRI, volunteers utilized the day as an opportunity to learn more about efficiency, home performance testing and existing buildings.

“I think there were a lot of learning opportunities for energy efficiency projects as well as the real world variability of existing buildings and the challenges that they inherently represent,” said Emerging Professionals volunteer Jackie Kingen.

To reward the volunteers’ hard work, Parr Lumber rolled up to the work site with their BBQ trailer and grilled up a meal of burgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers (plus some chips and cookies for good measure!) to refuel the volunteers on the day of the event.

Click on any of the pictures below to view the full size image.

PCRI’s is a Community Partner with Cascadia Green Building Council and the International Living Future Institute for their upcoming Living Future 2012 Conference.  The conference, scheduled in May, will be the Northwest’s premier Green Building conference and expo.  More information about the conference can be found at the Cascadia GBC’s website.

September 26, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Nearly three years ago, George, a resident at PCRI’s Park Terrace apartments, delivered fresh greens to Resident Service Coordinator Amber Starks.  They may not have known it at the time, but the greens from George’s garden would grow into an opportunity to engage residents throughout PCRI’s community.

Rewind to the winter of 2009-2010 when George delivered his green gift.  Inspired by his beautiful, bountiful garden, Amber set out to create a space where all of the Park Terrace residents could grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.

“I thought it would bring out residents who were interested in gardening, who may have had a garden in the past, or were looking to do something different,” Amber said.

The 2010 garden was a bit of a challenge, she admits.  While a few residents expressed interest, poor soil in the new garden area and limited time to keep up with it meant weeds were about the only plants that prospered.  Amber resolved that 2011 would have a significantly better outcome.

“Since we didn’t have a great harvest or too much resident participation, I decided to get started on 2011 early.”

To attract help and involvement from the Park Terrace youth, Amber enlisted artist Dylan “Kauz” Freeman to create a mural.  During the fall of 2010, Dylan and the youth brainstormed ideas, made sketches and painted a mural about what a garden meant to them.  Their mural now overlooks the Park Terrace garden.

Park Terrace’s property management also joined in to make future gardens a success.  Using concrete that had been removed elsewhere on the property, they created raised beds—one for general resident use and one especially for George, upgrading the space in which he had been gardening for years.  The Park Terrace landscape maintenance crew added compost to improve the soil as well.

In the spring of 2011, volunteer Alison Coffinbarger applied her garden know-how in conjunction with starts and seeds generously donated by Portland Nursery.  Alison provided hands-on instruction for the residents, sharing information about soil preparation, composting, companion planting and more.  Every week, she would introduce the residents to two plants and offer tips on how to plant and care for them.

The instruction and extra effort paid off, especially with the cucumbers.  Park Terrace’s garden was so flush with cukes, a few of the residents took the bounty door-to-door, offering up their harvest to the resident seniors.  Other crops took a while longer (as with most Portland gardens this year, the tomatoes were late to ripen but are now offering their delicious fruit to residents’ kitchens).  Still, every planting offered at least a taste for the resident gardeners.

Participation increased as residents saw the harvest in Park Terrace’s community center and got involved in planting and maintaining the garden.  In addition, Amber is already planning the fall and winter garden with hardy crops like kale, collards and other greens.  She’s also looking even further down the garden rows toward a “planting to plate” experience where residents will learn how to garden and then learn from a chef how to cook what they grow in a variety of ways.

“My goal is also to empower residents to learn about the food they eat, how it grows and where it comes from and lastly how eating healthy can really improve quality of life,” she says. “It is also good to know that residents will have the skills to be able to garden wherever they go.”

Residents interested in participating in a community garden and community members interested in volunteering or donating can contact Amber Starks, Resident Services Coordinator, or Adriana Voss-Andrae, Healthy Foods Access Program Manager.

September 1, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

The end of September saw a busy week here at PCRI.  On Sunday the 21st, PCRI hosted a barbeque at Peninsula Park for our residents.  And on Wednesday the 24th, PCRI joined the Portland Timbers as a benefit partner for the Timbers game against rival Chivas USA.

First on the calendar was our resident barbecue.  Portland’s on-again, off-again summer weather cooperated perfectly for nearly 100 residents to turn out for burgers (traditional and veggie alike) and hot dogs under the welcoming shade of Peninsula Park’s trees.  Many residents took advantage of passes to the park’s pool to beat the heat as well.

While the burgers–and especially the ice cream–were in high demand, the gathering also provided the opportunity to build community among PCRI’s residents and to introduce residents to the varied programs offered to them.  It was also a great chance for residents to meet staff members (Amber, left, and Cyndi are pictured at the grill) they may not have contacted before, not to mention for staff to meet the residents.

As the grill was cooling down, face painting by artist Christian Grijalva, a BINGO game and raffle prizes kept things going.  Of course, without generous donations from Fred Meyer, Starbucks, Tonalli’s restaurant, Mid-K Beauty Supply and Geneva’s hair salon, we wouldn’t have had the great prizes for the BINGO game and raffle, so we extend huge thanks to our donors (and when you stop in to support them, be sure to say “Thanks” for donating to PCRI)!

While we’re extending thanks, a great big one goes out to the Portland Timbers!  We were excited to join the Timbers for the second year in a row.  Even better, the Timbers won their game against Chivas USA on August 24, and PCRI raised $1,750 thanks to donations at the game and sales of the benefit tickets.  Our table on the concourse of Jeld-Wen Field gave us a great opportunity to connect with new friends and supporters as well.  In fact, Yolanda (at left in the photo, but often spotted at the front desk at PCRI) took the chance to talk available rentals with some Timbers fans.

We’re already working on future events–for residents and for our friends and supporters, so stay tuned for more information!

August 8, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Dr. Algie Gatewood, Cascade Campus President of Portland Community College and PCRI Board Member, shares the following story with PCRI staff, residents and neighbors.  All are invited to join this neighborhood National Night Out celebration:

Once again, the Humboldt Neighborhood Association and Portland Community College – Cascade Campus are joining forces to throw a party for the people of North Portland. The two organizations are teaming up to put on the 2011 Cascade Campus Open House and National Night Out celebration, set for 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11, in the Campus’ Borthwick Mall, 705 N. Killingsworth St.

“This year, our event is shaping up to be fun and educational for everyone,” said PCC’s Suzette Pump, chair of the event’s planning committee. “This event allows us to provide a safe environment for local residents to learn about community resources, neighborhood safety, and have fun while doing it.”

The featured performer for this year’s festivities will be a longtime Portland favorite – Ghanaian master drummer Obo Addy and his ensemble, Okropong (pictured at left). The group will play two sets, at 5:15p.m. and 7:15p.m. The evening’s entertainment will also include performances from the Usual Suspects – a jazz band headed by Cascade Professional Music department chair Allen Jones – as well as an interactive dance session with the campus’ Zumba class and an appearance from the dragon dancers of the Northwest Chinese Cultural Association.

The celebration has something to offer for visitors of all ages. Good stuff to eat and drink will of course be available, and for the kids, there will be fun, games, face painting, hands-on art activities and a drawing for two children’s bicycles. Representatives from a range of campus academic programs will be on hand with demonstrations, and information will also be available for those visitors who are interested in attending classes at the campus.

In keeping with National Night Out’s theme, “a going-away party for crime and drugs,” a host of community organizations and government agencies will provide demonstrations and information on how to be safe at home and in the neighborhood. The Portland Police Bureau will be on hand to echo this message.

Staff and students from the Campus’ Emergency Services programs – Paramedic, Emergency Medical Technician and Fire Protection Technology – will showcase their skills as they perform a live simulated rescue of victims from a staged DUI accident. This activity will encompass the different stages of an accident rescue, from the initial call to 9-1-1 through patient transport on an ambulance.

“When people come together in a spirit of unity, it’s always a good thing for a community,” said Cascade Campus President Algie Gatewood. “I’m excited to partner with our neighbors to show our appreciation for the richness and diversity of our neighborhood.”

Participating organizations include Target, THA Architecture, Zipcar, Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits, the Florida Room, Leonard Adams Insurance Co., Eddie’s Flatiron Pizza, Pacific NW Federal Credit Union, Hillsboro Auto Wrecking and many more.

March 17, 2011 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

The following post has been re-published from Multnomah County Chair Jeff CogenAt PCRI, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan.  The destruction from the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami is heartwrenching, but it is also a reality check, reminding us to be prepared for a potential disaster here at home.

March 17, 2011

When the earthquake and resulting tsunami ravaged Japan last week, the devastation and destruction was enough to catch all our attention. Japan and its residents long have been prepared for the havoc brought on by an earthquake, and it’s clear that preparation saved many lives. I’d like to take this moment to remind everyone that being prepared for a disaster is critical in our community.

It’s no secret that Oregon is vulnerable to the same kind of catastrophic events like those that hit Japan. What’s the risk to us? The Cascadia Subduction Zone fault off Oregon’s coast last had a major earthquake in 1700. Geologists expect that a quake could happen again in our area. If this happens, its effects will reach far inland. Shaking will be strongest on the coast but also will be felt in the Willamette Valley. Prolonged shaking can cause structure collapse, landslides and disruption of lifeline services.

If such a quake happens here, assume that emergency response agencies will be overwhelmed. That’s where you come in. Get prepared. Talk to your family and your neighbors. Make sure you have a plan that will help keep everyone safe if a quake hits. As Japan’s experience has so tragically shown us, the more prepared you are, the higher your chance of survival.

Without question, all Multnomah County residents should:

1. Get an emergency kit for your home

  • Have an emergency kit with enough food and water for every household member and pet for at least 72 hours.
  • Kits should include medications, first-aid supplies, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlights, batteries, a whistle and tools to turn off utilities.
  • Other helpful items include phone chargers, local maps and cash.
  • A larger kit kept at home can help you shelter-in-place. If you need to evacuate quickly, prepare a smaller “Go-Kit” for each family member, including pets.

2. Make a Plan

  • Identify an out-of-town contact to communicate among separated family members.
  • Make sure family members have access to a list of emergency contacts and have a cell phone, coins or prepaid phone cards to make emergency calls.
  • Develop a plan for what you will do if you are in your home, at work, or are separated from each other and practice your plans.
  • Talk to your neighbors and make sure they have plans.

3. Prepare Your Home

  • Fasten shelves and bookcases to walls, placing heavier items on the lower shelves and storing breakable items in closed cabinets with latches.
  • Hang heavy pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches and anywhere people might sit.
  • Secure your water heater by strapping it to the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
  • Store any hazardous fluids or materials in secure cabinets.
  • Identify safe places indoors and outdoors that are away from where broken glass or heavy items could fall.
  • Be prepared with tools that can turn off water, gas and electricity at your home.

For more information, go to the Multnomah County website at and look at the Emergency Preparedness section. Also, visit for information about putting together family emergency and communications plans.

There is no way to predict when a natural disaster will strike or to prevent one from happening. However, being prepared can be the difference between life and death. Thanks for doing your part.
Jeff Cogen signature
Jeff Cogen

April 21, 2010 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

With deconstruction of an existing, vacant home in progress in the background, we celebrated the beginning of development for four new affordable and sustainable homes in North Portland’s Portsmouth neighborhood.  City of Portland officials, neighbors and other community members joined in the celebration Wednesday, April 14.

The four new homes, developed by PCRI in conjunction with Portland Development Commission and Portland Housing Bureau, fulfill a part of PCRI’s mission to provide affordable housing—when they are completed in the fall, the homes will be available for sale to buyers earning 80% or less of area median income.  The homes also represent a commitment to expand minority homeownership opportunities as part of the Operation Home Ownership and Minority Equity program, established in 2005 to raise awareness and reduce barriers for minority homeowners.

Ranging from 1550 to 1620 square feet, the homes “will be the largest homes being targeted for affordable home ownership that Portland Development Commission and Portland Housing Bureau has funded to date,” said John Marshall of Portland Development Commission, who was present for the celebration. “They will be incredible improvements to the neighborhood.”

As evidenced by the deconstruction work happening in the background, sustainability is another key aspect of the new homes.  As part the Portland Energy Efficient Home Pilot program, the four new homes will be 15% – 30% more energy efficient than a home built to Oregon’s 2008 energy code and will provide practical information about energy efficiency methods and costs for the City of Portland and other homebuilders.  The homes have been designed to achieve LEED, Earth Advantage and Energy Star certifications for sustainable materials, design and construction and have been submitted for the city’s annual Build It Green home tour.

The kick-off celebration comes just weeks after closing on construction funding with Portland Development Commission and Portland Housing Bureau.  Maxine Fitzpatrick, PCRI Executive Director, addressed the crowd at the celebration, enthusiastically thanking the project’s partners and supporters and speaking of the hurdles overcome to realize the project.

January 19, 2010 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation,” said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., starting his now-famous “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963.

In Dr. King’s honor, volunteers from Americorps and Hands On Greater Portland joined children at PCRI’s Maya Angelou Community Center to build planter boxes for families at the Maya Angelou complex.

Cassie Russell, PCRI’s Resident Services Coordinator at Maya Angelou Community Center (and also an Americorps Oregon State Service Corps member), organized the day of service; Home Depot, Sherwin Williams and Hands on Greater Portland donated supplies for the event.

The box-building teams started indoors, making rhythm from the scratch-scratch-scratch of their sandpaper and the thump-thump-thump of their hammers.  The percussion of the tools could only be drowned out by the repeated interruptions of laughter.

Once the boxes were built was when the real fun happened:  the kids and adults grabbed their boxes and hustled outside (hey, the sun was actually shining!) where they let loose their creative genius.  Some kids (and adults) went all-or-nothing with the bright colors, while others took a more subtle approach, decorating the boxes with painted flowers and trees.

Once the boxes were painted, the builders stepped back to reflect on Dr. King’s inspiration, their work–and to let the paint dry–over a few slices of pizza.  Check out our photo gallery (and become our fan for more updates!).

What’s next?  As the weather warms up in the coming weeks, it will be time for the families to start their planter gardens with seeds donated by Seeds of Change.  Who knows–maybe a contest will be in order:  I have a dream that one day, we’ll be judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our … planter boxes?

Hats off to Dr. King for providing such great inspiration.

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