Posts Tagged ‘Newsletter’

November 9, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

Genté, DJ and Chloé Shaw became first-time and first-generation homeowners as they moved into their new home in Northeast Portland in October. Moving from Gresham where rent was affordable, the Shaws were particularly excited to be able to own and raise their children in a closer-in neighborhood.

Shaw Family

Genté and Chloé Shaw talk about saving for their first home.

“To be owning a home, to be investing in our own personal asset and someday pass on to our daughter,” Genté said, “it’s a great feeling!”

The Shaws utilized savings they accrued through the PCRI’s matched-saving IDA program to help with their down payment and were supported through the entire process by Liz and Andrea, PCRI’s IDA and Homeownership staff.

It wasn’t always easy, Genté said, but she challenged others to make small changes to begin to achieve future goals. “I just encourage anyone else out there, if you’re able to do so [begin saving], do it,” she said. “Start where you are and be consistent.”

A week before closing on their new home, Genté and Chloé sat down with IDA Specialist Liz Olson to share their story for the Oregon IDA Initiative:

Achieving stability. Becoming self-sufficient. Successfully purchasing their first home. Using the tools PCRI provides, residents and clients achieve all types of success. We’re always eager to highlight the ways they’ve succeeded and congratulate the Shaw family on their new home!

November 4, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

PCRI is a candidate for the 2016-2017 funding cycle of Albina Community Bank’s LOOP Visa™ Credit Card program, and they need to hear from you that program donations should go to PCRI!  Please follow the link below before 5:00 pm on Friday, November 13 to cast your vote.  The bank will announce winning organizations just in time for Giving Tuesday.  Thanks for helping PCRI and Albina Community Bank make a difference in the communities where we live and work!


Join the LOOP of Giving!

The LOOP VISA™ Credit Card program generates financial donations for select non-profit organizations that bank with Albina Community Bank.  When Albina customers are approved for their LOOP VISA™ Credit Card, they select which cause they would like their purchases to support: Education; Health & Social Services; The Environment; The Arts; Economic Development; or all causes equally. At no cost to the cardholder, Albina gives back a percentage of the total annual purchases made on LOOP Visa™ Credit Cards to the selected organizations. Think of it as our gift in support of local non-profit organizations!

Want to know more about how Albina Community Bank’s LOOP Visa will helps PCRI and the community? Read more:

  • (Click here) to read an article in Northwest Weekly about how Albina is supporting Giving Tuesday through the LOOP VISA ™ Credit Card program.
  • (Click here) to watch the Metro East Community Hotline program and hear Mary Edmeades, Albina VP / Market Manager, talking about Giving Tuesday and why Albina is involved.
  • (Click here) to see the non-profit organizations that benefitted from the LOOP VISA™ Credit Card program in 2014-15.
October 23, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

Recently, PCRI honored two employees of the month. Fiscal Manager David Wilcox earned employee of the month honors for July, and Maintenance Technician Kwasi Armstrachan earned the honors for August.

EOM JulAug2David’s “great work ethics” and “approachable, respectful, professional” attitude earned him the recognition. “I appreciate when departments can cohesively work together to make sure PCRI finishes first, and David exemplifies this very well,” said his nominator.

Kwasi’s nominator also raved about his commitment and attitude. “Kwasi is an amazing employee. He is always willing to go the extra mile,” the nominator said, adding that he “exemplifies PCRI’s core values.”

And our hearts were warmed by a story of Kwasi’s commitment to making a better community:

One day at 7-Eleven, Kwasi saw a young boy take a pack of cookies. No one saw him except Kwasi. Kwasi placed his arm around the boy and asked if he’d ever been in trouble with the law. When the boy replied “no,” Kwasi said, “you don’t want to start now” and told him to put the cookies back.

Once the boy replaced the cookies, Kwasi gave him $5 to buy the food. “You don’t know what his home life was like,” Kwasi explained.

We extend our gratitude and appreciation to both David (upper photo) and Kwasi (lower photo) for their outstanding service in and out of the office.

Residents, Vendors, Contractors, Visitors, Staff, Partnering Agencies and others are encouraged to nominate a PCRI employee who they feel should be recognized for their efforts to make PCRI the best it can be (click here for a nomination form, which can be submitted via email). The success and growth of the organization depends on employees’ dedication to the betterment of the community we serve.

September 28, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

Through its Community Planning and Development Grant Program, Metro Council recently awarded 16 grants totaling over $4.7 million, including $250,000 for the N/NE Community Development Project, part of the PCRI-led Pathway 1000 Initiative. The grant for N/NE Community Development Project will aid in planning, identification of underdeveloped properties and other strategies to mitigate, prevent and reverse residential and small business displacement in North and Northeast Portland.

PCRI staff and PSU Architecture students collaborate on a housing planning project

PCRI staff and PSU Architecture students collaborate on a housing planning project

For the grant-funded project, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives (PCRI) will lead a partnership including the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Portland Housing Bureau, Portland State University’s Center for Public Interest Design and PSU Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. Awards were announced at a Council meeting held at Harrison Park School in East Portland on September 24.

“Most importantly, and for the first time since this grant program was established, projects were selected using new criteria that addressed equity considerations,” said Metro Councilor Sam Chase in his email newsletter. “To me, ensuring we grow in a way that enhances the quality of life for everyone is critically important.”

The N/NE Community Development project is intended to help reverse negative impacts of past policies and public investment. The project will produce strategic and implementation plans for how to develop at least 1,000 new, affordable homes and commercial space in close-in North and Northeast Portland during the next ten years. This ambitious goal was framed by the Pathway 1000 Initiative envisioned by PCRI. The project is intended to mitigate, prevent and reverse the residential and minority-owned small business displacement that has occurred in North and Northeast Portland during the last 10 years, the impacts of which have been borne most heavily by the African-American community, which is the focus of the initiative.

“This is great news!” said PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick. “It provides PCRI and the City of Portland with valuable resources to strategically plan for at least 1,000 new affordable homes, reversing decades of involuntary displacement in North and Northeast Portland and ensuring these new homes are thoughtfully integrated into existing neighborhoods.”

With intentional community involvement, the project aims to develop a deep understanding of the housing needs and preferences of previously-displaced North and Northeast Portland residents as well as those at risk of being displaced. The grant will also help define criteria by which potential development sites are evaluated and proposed for development. In turn, this understanding can influence public investment strategy as well as the types of developments undertaken by PCRI and other housing providers.

Similarly, the grant funding will help design commercial opportunities, contracting, small business and workforce-related strategies that engage the target population of African-American and other low income residents who have been historically and consistently underrepresented in economic opportunities such as the development proposed in the Pathway 1000 Initiative.

Metro established the Community Planning and Development Grant program in 2006 to help local communities do the hard work of thinking forward: planning for development, investment and collaboration that help create great places all over the region. The community planning and development grant program is one of the Metro Council’s best tools to help communities achieve their visions, reflecting the council’s belief in investing to support communities, create housing and jobs opportunities and improve people’s lives throughout the region. Funded by a regional construction excise tax, these grants are critical planning resources that help communities revitalize existing neighborhoods and plan for the development of new urban areas. For more information, visit

September 18, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

PCRI, the Portland African American Leadership Forum and Living Cully will share the history of displacement and strategies to mitigate current and future displacement at the Oregon Opportunity Network Peer Support Conference on September 21, and Neighborhood Partnerships re:Conference on October 30, 2015.

Pathway 1000_Page_4PCRI, the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) and Living Cully are leading the charge to mitigate prior displacement and prevent future displacement in Portland, America’s most rapidly gentrifying city. PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick, PAALF’s Cat Goughnour and Living Cully Coordinator Tony DeFalco will share innovative strategies, dedicated community engagement activities and passionate advocacy the organizations and their leaders are doing to effect community change. By presenting at the conferences, Ms. Fitzpatrick and the other leaders hope to catalyze an anti-displacement model for cities across the nation that are struggling to combat the negative consequences of gentrification.

At each conference, attendees will gain an understanding of the causes of involuntary displacement, including opportunities to prevent displacement that failed or were missed. The sessions will also detail how communities that suffered from disinvestment, most often low-income renters and communities of color, were left out of and left behind when investment occurred, resulting in their displacement and continued economic inequity. Through the lessons learned by Ms. Fitzpatrick, Ms. Goughnour and Mr. DeFalco, attendees will learn how historically disadvantaged communities can advocate for, participate in and benefit from investment when it happens in their community. The sessions will also include successful strategies that individuals, communities, and public agencies can use to prevent displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods and mitigate—or even reverse it—in neighborhoods which have already been gentrified.

September 10, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

PCRI was one of the local partners recognized by Multnomah County on Tuesday, September 8, as the city and county began a 100-day push for their “Home for Every Veteran” initiative, aimed at ending veteran homelessness before the end of the year.

Home for Every Veteran event

Debi Christensen (right) accepts a “Home for Every Veteran” award from Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury at a media event on September 8, 2015.

“While we have rent assistance and other tools to help get vets back into housing — what we don’t have are the apartments,” said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury at a news conference.

PCRI was recognized as one of a handful of community partners who have been instrumental in opening doors and removing barriers for veterans seeking housing. Since January 2015, PCRI has housed six residents referred by the Veterans Administration’s Portland Community Resource and Referral Center. Debi Christensen, PCRI’s Senior Portfolio Manager, was one of the PCRI staff members at the event and accepted the award from Kafoury.

At the news conference, Kafoury noted unprecedented demand, skyrocketing rents, and near-zero vacancy rates as barriers making it even harder than normal for veterans and other renters to find stable housing.

Kafoury, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Commissioner Dan Saltzman, and local Veterans Administration officials each spoke at the event. The common message from the leaders to private and nonprofit landlords was: if you have a vacant unit, please consider a veteran.

The speakers noted that with federal and local resources focused on ending veteran homelessness, “a veteran who comes with unprecedented resources behind him or her to help them be good tenants.”

The local officials who spoke at the event also asked that anyone knows a landlord with available housing visit where additional information is available.

To date, the “Home for Every Veteran” initiative has connected 430 veterans to permanent housing, but according to estimates, there are still about 290 Portland veterans without housing.

The goal of ending veteran homelessness is to achieve “functional zero.” The county acknowledges that there will still be veterans who experience homelessness after their goal is achieved, but add that systems are now in place to ensure veteran homelessness is brief, rare and non-reoccurring.

The media event preceded an event on September 11 called Veteran Stand Down. That event, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, helps veterans connect to services including housing, clothing, employment, medical programs and other critical services.

September 1, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

TABethelPCRI is proud to announce the newest member of our Board of Directors, Rev. Dr. T. Allen Bethel.

Dr. Bethel is the senior pastor of Maranatha Church of God, where he has served since July 1994. He is also involved in many civic activities, including serving on the boards of TriMet, the Oregon League of Minority Voters, Warner Pacific College, the Oregon Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross, North Portland Bible College and the Albina Ministerial Alliance.

Dr. Bethel has extensive experience with public involvement and with organizations and businesses in the Portland region and elsewhere. Through his work in the community, he is focused on diverse community involvement and representation in large and smaller public projects.

He earned a bachelor of theology degree from Kansas City College and Bible School, graduating cum laude with further study from the Nazarene Theological Seminary. Dr. Bethel also has a master’s in religious education from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary and an honorary doctorate from the Southern California School of Ministry.

August 21, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

June 2015 Amy DangOn August 13, PCRI honored our most recent employee of the month: Amy Dang.

Amy’s teamwork and outstanding leadership earned her the employee of the month honor, in particular for her work to establish our newest program which assists residents with credit building.  Her enthusiasm  and caring service makes Amy an asset to PCRI and the community we serve.

We extend our gratitude and appreciation to Amy for her outstanding service since she began working with PCRI in January 2014 as our Financial Education Specialist.

Residents, Vendors, Contractors, Visitors, Staff, Partnering Agencies and others are encouraged to nominate a PCRI employee who they feel should be recognized for their efforts to make PCRI the best it can be (click here for a nomination form, which can be submitted via email). The success and growth of the organization depends on employees’ dedication to the betterment of the community we serve.

August 17, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

REACH Build Day TeamPCRI, REACH and others came together recently to complete critical home repairs for four low-income seniors in NE Portland neighborhoods. PCRI staff and other volunteers joined REACH Community Development for Community Building Day on Saturday, August 15.

Ms. Johnson, a client of PCRI’s Senior Homeownership Retention Program, was one of the seniors whose home was cared for by the Community Building DSC_0020volunteers, including Retention Program Coordinator Lisa Williams (pictured at left). With fresh exterior paint and other improvements, Ms. Johnson’s house not only looks good, but will also ensure she can remain safe and stable in her home for years to come.

“It was so great to be working in community to help Ms. Johnson out,” said PCRI staff member Kirk Rea, one of the volunteers. “Her family, friends, plus folks from different agencies showed up, and we had youth to elders working and laughing together. The positivity and service I saw us all activate, just by painting a home, gives me hope that we can keep rolling back the barriers and hardships of our most vulnerable people.”

In addition to painting, volunteers installed two wheel chair ramps and completed plumbing repairs for the seniors who were selected for Community Building Day improvements.

REACH Build A Day 267The Community Building Day is an initiative of REACH with the support of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives (PCRI) and the Urban League of Portland. Two of the event’s beneficiaries were referred by PCRI and the Urban League. Special thanks to the event underwriters, The Grainger Foundation and Macy’s Community Giving, both of whom sent awesome volunteers! In-kind support was provided by Walsh Construction Co., Miller Paint, Pipeline Plumbing, M & M Contracting Services, LMC, Inc., Greg Clarke Photography and Mike Beeson.

DSC_0030The Community Building Day highlights the extensive free home repair work the Community Builders Program does year round. The Community Builders Program, a program of REACH, is dedicated to helping older adults and people with disabilities age safely in their homes by providing free home repairs. PCRI’s Senior Homeownership Retention program helps area seniors connect with programs such as the Community Builders Program. Through advocacy, referrals and financial support, the program helps seniors retain homeownership and age in place.

August 7, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

On July 1, 2015, PCRI unveiled a new solar power system atop the Maggie Gibson Plaza building in Portland’s Alberta Arts neighborhood. In its first month, the new system generated 1.48 MWh, approximately enough energy to power two typical single-family homes for a month.

IMG_5327The solar system provides power for the building’s common residential and commercial spaces and exterior lighting and is expected to save PCRI over $2,000 per year in energy costs. In addition to generating clean, renewable energy, future cost savings from the system will help PCRI sustain Maggie Gibson Plaza’s affordable rental housing and community-serving commercial retail space, a rarity on desirable NE Alberta Street.

“Low income families are disproportionately impacted by the poor environmental conditions and high utility bills,” said Travis Phillips, PCRI’s Housing Development Manager. “Reducing Maggie Gibson Plaza’s energy costs helps PCRI maintain affordable housing for the residents who live here, but just as importantly, we are proud to improve the environment for current and future residents by generating clean, renewable energy.”

Maggie Gibson Plaza (cropped)The solar photovoltaic system, installed by Portland firm Synchro Solar, was made possible by a $48,450 funding award from customers of Pacific Power’s Blue SkySM renewable energy program and approximately $10,500 in cash incentives from Energy Trust of Oregon. The project is one of over 75 renewable energy projects made possible with funding support from Pacific Power’s Blue Sky customers in the Northwest. Those curious about the installation can view energy production information on the system’s public site.

Additional energy-saving improvements will also be performed in the residential units at Maggie Gibson Plaza. Residents will benefit from lower utility costs through the installation of new energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, highly-efficient water heaters, appliances and lighting, among other improvements. Completion of improvements inside the residential units is anticipated in fall 2015.

BLUE SKY: The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has ranked Blue Sky fifth or better in the nation for the 11th consecutive year in the number of customers buying renewable power. The Blue Sky Block, Usage and Habitat products are Green-e Energy certified. About 55,000 Pacific Power customers currently participate in the Blue Sky program across Oregon, Washington and California. For more information, visit

PACIFIC POWER: Pacific Power provides electric service to more than 730,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California. Our goal is to provide our customers with value for their energy dollar, and safe, reliable electricity. Pacific Power is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, with almost 1.8 million customers in six western states. For more information, visit

ENERGY TRUST: Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and generating renewable power. Our services, cash incentives and energy solutions have helped participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas save nearly $1.7 billion on energy bills. Our work helps keep energy costs as low as possible, creates jobs and builds a sustainable energy future. Learn more at or call 1-866-368-7878.

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