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On May 19th, 22 PCRI residents and clients completed the PCRI Adult Financial Education Class. This is the second financial education class held in partnership with Banner Bank. The evening class held once a week for four weeks covers a range of personal finance topics.
Class participants appreciated getting answers to their banking, credit, and fraud questions from industry professionals. One PCRI resident commented, “I can do more and have more options when I need to pay a bill or get money.”
PCRI and Banner Bank will be partnering again in September 2015 to present another Adult Financial Education Class. All PCRI residents and clients are invited to sign up. If you are interested in learning more about the class, please contact Amy Dang, PCRI Financial Education Specialist, at 503-288-2923 ext. 131 or by email.
On Wednesday, June 3rd, five volunteers from AirBnB helped weed, mulch, and plant new vegetable starts for the community garden at PCRI’s Park Terrace Apartments. These community gardens give access to residents who cultivate individual garden plots. Common garden plots are open to the entire apartment community who can tend to and harvest from the plots.
Surplus food from the common plots is distributed through food pantries at Park Terrace and other PCRI community centers and the gardens also provide a space for youth education and engagement.
In addition to getting their hands dirty planting new vegetables (an abundant donation of veggie and fruit plants came from partner non-profit Growing Gardens), the volunteers helped turn a compost pile which is used to improve the soil in the garden beds. AirBnB staff volunteer in the community regularly, including previous support given to PCRI last autumn for a landscaping project.
PCRI extends our thanks to all the volunteers who help support our residents and to Growing Gardens for donating vegetables for the garden program.
Save the Date! PCRI’s 5th Annual Dancing with the Stars Portland Gala will be held Saturday, May 14, 2016 at the Hilton Portland and Executive Towers.
Sign up for PCRI’s mailing list to be the first to learn about the dancers who will compete in the 2016 gala and when tickets go on sale. We expect the event to once again sell out.
Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are also available.
Park Terrace Apartments resident Irene loves the fresh organic produce donated to PCRI by Organics to You. Besides baking, juicing, and making stews, Irene (pictured at right) is a master food preserver who has churned out jams and sauces in such abundance that after stocking her own pantry for the winter, Irene started donating back the preserved fruits to share with her Park Terrace neighbors.
For the past year, Organics to You, a local produce delivery business, has been donating organic fruit and vegetables that are distributed from PCRI’s three local community centers. PCRI staff or volunteers pick up the produce and distribute it to the centers, where it is available to residents thanks to Organics to You’s generous commitment to sustainability and community support. PCRI’s Margaret Carter Community Center also makes produce available to the greater public; typically produce is delivered on Thursdays by 11:00 a.m.
Produce is also used for programs and events, from holiday pot lucks to youth cooking classes. Food justice activist Mo Lohre helps PCRI residents learn food preservation so they, like Irene, have year-round access to healthy foods. Mo (pictured at left, in the center) also works with students from Irvington Middle School who volunteer to support PCRI’s Healthy Food Access Program.
Residents interested in free fresh fruit and vegetables can visit the Margaret Community Center on Thursdays between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., or contact Kirk Rea by email or by calling 503-282-1359. Two Thursdays a month include a lunch which demonstrates the diverse cultural traditions of PCRI residents. Volunteer opportunities are also available to support the Healthy Food Access Program.
Fun fact: Mo Lohre and volunteers from the non-profit Creating the Alternative use a bio-diesel/solar powered RV to pick up some of the Organics to You donations. PCRI staff and volunteers also do their part to maintain sustainability, performing many pick-ups by bicycle.
PCRI extends our sincere thanks to Organics to You and to the program volunteers for their generosity and support.
Providing homeownership opportunities and housing counseling assistance to low-income families ensures long-term affordability, stabilizes residents and their neighborhoods and helps families build equity and break the cycle of poverty.
In conjunction with the Pathway 1000 Initiative, PCRI is adding additional focus in current and future housing development efforts to increase opportunities for homeownership. PCRI’s goal is to address active and ongoing involuntary displacement of African Americans and other low income residents from the neighborhoods we serve.
During the period from the mid-1990’s to 2010 10,000 residents—primarily African Americans—were forced to relocate out of North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods. Essentially, 3 people every day for 10 years were forced to find another place to live.
To accomplish our goal of addressing involuntary displacement, PCRI established a displacement mitigation initiative, Pathway 1000, with the sole purpose and intent of slowing and reversing the involuntary displacement of long term residents previously forced to move from N/NE Portland, and current residents at risk of displacement. Through the Pathway 1000 initiative, PCRI aims to build and create at least 1,000 homes, many of which will be available to purchase. The homes will be located throughout the city of Portland, with the primary focus on the N/NE Portland neighborhoods where displaced families previously resided.
The 1,000 homes will be constructed at a level of 1000 homes per year over the next ten years. PCRI is targeting involuntarily displaced residents who were forced to relocated due to escalating housing costs, or because their rental home was sold to a homeowner. PCRI encourages interested community members to participate and learn more via PCRI’s website and social media channels, where a forthcoming questionnaire will be posted to determine eligibility and housing needs.
PCRI will also conduct a series of exploratory sessions with displaced residents and residents on the verge of displacement. These sessions will further determine the need as well as interest in taking advantage of the Pathway 1000 initiative and share more information about the opportunities to move back into historic, African-American populated NE Portland neighborhoods.
We cannot undo the harms done, but rather must focus on restoring housing justice for those who were harmed. PCRI’s goal is to support and encourage displaced African-Americans to focus on the future. Homeownership is the stabilizing solution to displacement. Investing in opportunities and assistance for low-income families ensures long-term affordability and stabilizes residents in their neighborhood.
Community development corporations like PCRI can support displaced residents by building community awareness of solutions through advocacy and civic engagement to create anti-displacement policy. Residents and community leaders have influence over planning and development in their neighborhood. Gentrification and displacement issues must be discussed and addressed on a regular basis. Residents must remind government leaders and city planners of displacement, and the reality of unintended consequences of strategic growth. Residents who are concerned and who have been impacted must get involved in their neighborhood and they must expect and encourage equitable development.
Update: PCRI’s Pathway 1000 Initiative is featured in the Portland Observer, June 2, 2015.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown is set to sign a bill recently passed by the state legislature that will provide an important tool for low-income families to maintain housing stability as they increase their incomes and move toward self-sufficiency.
House Bill 3082, sponsored by Representative Lew Frederick, was overwhelmingly approved by the Oregon State House of Representatives on April 2, 2015. Senator Chip Shields sponsored the bill in the Oregon State Senate, where it passed easily on May 12. The bill, which will now go to Governor Kate Brown to sign into law, eases the “benefits cliff” faced by families as their incomes grow beyond 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), the maximum threshold to qualify for affordable housing property tax exemptions (approximately $44,000 for a family of four).
Under Oregon’s existing laws, when a family earns even one dollar over the 60% AMI limit, they are at risk of losing their affordable rental housing. While PCRI works with residents to allow them to maintain their affordable housing as their income grows, HB 3082 would allow government to extend the threshold for exemptions to 80% AMI (about $58,000 for a family of four) for existing residents. New renters would still need to earn less than 60% AMI at move-in, but would also be able to benefit form the flexible threshold which allows for increases in income over time.
The bill was supported by Oregon Opportunity Network and local leaders, including Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury.
“Families who are working to improve their lives shouldn’t be penalized just as they begin to achieve better futures for their children,” Deborah Kafoury stated in recent letter as the bill was presented to the House of Representatives’ Human Services and Housing Committee. “I believe that HB 3082 balances our efforts to provide affordable housing to those most in need with our investments in families who are working to attain self-sufficiency.”
The so-called “benefits cliff” refers to the sharp drop-off in benefits low-income families face as their income reaches a pre-determined threshold, such as the 60% AMI limit. Easing the “cliff” provides organizations like PCRI additional tools to help residents achieve self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty.
PCRI’s Fourth Annual Dancing with the Stars Portland Gala was the most successful gala yet! Not only did the dancers deliver an amazing show, the event’s sponsors, volunteers and guests raised over $85,000 to support the affordable housing and services PCRI residents depend on to achieve stability and self-sufficiency. Click on any of the photos to view Cameron Browne’s gala photos, or find additional links at the bottom of the page.
Following a packed reception, Judge Adrienne Nelson and her husband Ted Poole were guilty of a stunning performance as they opened the event with their crowd-pleasing dance. And Mistress of Ceremonies Margaret Carter delivered a seamless program for the evening with even more energy and glamour than she brought as MC for PCRI’s premiere gala.
The headlining entertainment of the evening, the Dancing with the Stars-style competition, also had more energy—especially judging by the volume of cheering from the audience! Trained by and paired with professional dancers from Portland’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, each dancing couple put on a spectacular show.
In the end, only one dance couple could be named champion and while Judges Jesse Beason, Karin Edwards and Nancy Hales had a tough decision, they unanimously named Pamela Weatherspoon this year’s winner.
But the evening wasn’t just about a dance competition. Margaret Carter and PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick celebrated the successes achieved by PCRI residents while underscoring the work that is still needed to ensure all families have access to the benefits of stable, affordable housing in Portland’s opportunity-rich close-in neighborhoods. Led by auctioneer Kelly Russell, the gala’s live auction and special appeal were the most successful yet.
And, most notably, resident Jean Paul and his family described how, with the benefit of affordable housing and their own dedication, families can grow roots, dream big, and achieve amazing goals.
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 look through all the pictures from photographers Antonio Harris and Cameron Browne, as well as those on the Gala Website and PCRI’s Facebook page! If you’re not already signed up, be sure to join our mailing list to get news and invitations for next year’s gala.
PCRI is excited to endorse a new coalition dedicated to ensuring ongoing resources for housing and homeless services in our community – the Welcome Home Coalition.
Welcome Home is building a region-wide coalition to lead a grassroots movement in support of affordable housing opportunities, and PCRI is proud to be a part of the coalition. Welcome Home—and PCRI—believe in a community that invests in safe, stable, and affordable homes for everyone.
Here’s how you can support and stay engaged with the critical work of Welcome Home:
As Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Officer for Pacific Continental Bank, Kathy brings her deep background in financial analysis and expertise in loan portfolio management to the bank’s client service team. With over 25 years of banking experience, she helps her clients find the right solution to meet their credit needs. Kathy’s banking background includes positions with US Bank, First Interstate Bank and Chicago’s Continental Bank. She honed her business management skills on the client-side as area business manager for Mentor Graphics’ Americas Region. She holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School, and a BA in Political Science-International Relations from Carleton College.
In addition to her service on PCRI’s Board, Kathy is active in the Portland community, currently serving as trustee of the Parish Trust Fund of the Archdiocese of Portland, as a Finance Committee member of Catholic Charities, and on fund raising committees for Impact NW. She has been a route coordinator and driver for Meals on Wheels. She has participated for a decade with the Oregon Business Association and currently chairs the Education Committee and is a member of the Business Development Committee. She also teaches classes to bankers on structuring loans, evaluating risk, and working through problem loans.
Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives Inc.
6329 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Portland, OR 97211
Tel: (503) 288-2923 Fax: (503) 288-2891
PCRI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community development organization providing affordable rental housing to low-income families, primarily in North and Northeast Portland. Since 1992, PCRI's vision has been to provide affordable housing and associated services that achieve family stability, self-sufficiency and wealth creation.