October 18, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

The 2016 election is full of firsts. One of those is Portland’s first ballot measure dedicating funds to create more affordable housing: Measure 26-179. We know there are currently not enough homes in Portland that are affordable to low-income families (or even many moderate-income ones), which is why PCRI supports and has endorsed this critical measure.

Yes4Homes“For many months now, Portland residents have lamented the soaring cost of housing in their city, but they’ve also felt helpless to do much about it,” said the Portland Tribune in their endorsement of the measure. “The Nov. 8 election offers a chance for them to make a dent in the problem through the best means possible — by actually increasing the supply of affordable places to live.”

The housing this measure will fund will be built to last—and will be required to last and remain affordable for at least 60 years. Street Roots noted that families served by this housing will span generations. Approximately 1,300 safe and stable homes created by this measure would provide housing for up to 58,000 people over the course of six (or more) decades of service.

Will one ballot measure fix the entire problem? No, but will help relieve some of the pressure of our housing crisis. And more importantly, it’s a prudent investment compared to doing nothing. In fact, the cost of a homeless individual spending one night in the emergency room can often be more expensive than rent for an entire year. And this doesn’t consider the challenges of children or adults facing housing instability.

“It’s tough showing up from a tent to earn or learn,” said the Oregonian in their endorsement of the measure.

“Portland’s housing gap won’t be filled soon, but Portlanders should approve the housing bond proposal as an investment in the well-being of the entire city, not just those at the lower end of the income scale,” the Oregonian added. “Prosperity and engaged citizenship, if they are to be valued, can’t be declared until everyone has a home.”

Ballots will be arriving in the mail any day now. Please help us spread the word about this critical measure and, please: VOTE! You can find out more at yesforaffordablehomes.com and pick up informational materials and signs at PCRI’s main office.

October 13, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

Travis Phillips, PCRI’s Director of Housing and Development, took to the airwaves Wednesday, October 12, to discuss PCRI, involuntary displacement, and homeownership on XRAY.FM’s “XRAY in the Morning” show.

IMG_8851Talking about gentrification and displacement, host Jefferson Smith noted that there is a risk of people growing numb to an ongoing challenge such as displacement due to residents no longer being able to afford their neighborhoods.

“Are people motivated to do things right now, to help your work?” Smith asked. “Do you have any risk of fatigue?”

“Sure we have a risk of fatigue,” Phillips responded. “What I think is really exciting right now is there is an attention to displacement and more importantly some solutions to displacement that are long overdue but ones we haven’t seen before,” referring to PCRI’s Pathway 1000 Initiative and “Right to Return” program that gives waiting list preference for some units to households involuntarily displaced from N/NE Portland.

The show continued, discussing homeownership opportunity for lower-income and first time buyers.

“For a lot of Portlanders, becoming a homeowner is akin to running an ever-quickening treadmill. You want to do it, but it’s getting faster and faster,” Smith said, wondering how PCRI works with home buyers to overcome the challenges of the current market.

Education, Phillips noted, is one of PCRI’s key strategies for home buying success. It is PCRI’s goal to ensure that buyers are well-prepared for their home purchase so they can maintain homeownership for the long term. On the show, one resource (Portland Housing Bureau’s Down Payment Assistance Loan) was discussed, but PCRI helps connect buyers with multiple resources that can be leveraged and combined to help ensure home buyers borrow from a bank only what they can afford.XRAYFM

For XRAY listeners and others who are interested in learning more about buying a home with PCRI’s assistance, PCRI offers a HUD-certified education program, one-on-one assistance and regular educational seminars. Visit our homeownership page for details or contact Homeownership Program Specialist Linda Tellis-Kennedy for more information.

Jump over to XRAY’s website to listen to the entire broadcast. Or find specific segments and archives from more than two weeks back by going to XRAY’s SoundCloud page.


October 11, 2016 · Awards, Featured, PCRI

IMG_8802At its October 4 Equal Opportunity dinner, the Urban League of Portland honored PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick with the 2016 Equal Opportunity Award.

“Maxine Fitzpatrick is a passionate leader in our community, working to ensure that all Oregonians have access to affordable housing and opportunities for home ownership,” the event’s program said. “As the Executive Director of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. (PCRI) for over 20 years, she has been a tireless advocate for families in our community and at the forefront in providing real solutions to Portland’s housing crisis.”

IMG_8788Nearly every speaker at the dinner praised Maxine’s dedication to the community. Urban League CEO Nkenge Harmon-Johnson recognized Maxine as a role model and mentor, while Senator Jeff Merkley gave honor to Maxine’s “decades of service.”IMG_8798

Brooks Staffing President Simone Brooks recognized Maxine’s perseverance in the face of challenges. “It is not an easy path you walk, Maxine,” she said.

Following Maxine’s acceptance of the award, Simone Brooks and Nkenge Harmon-Johnson presented Maxine with a painting of the City of Portland created by a local artist.

The annual event celebrates and supports the work of Urban League of Portland and others empowering African Americans and other Oregonians to achieve equality in education, employment and economic security.

PCRI’s staff and board attended the event to celebrate Maxine’s award as well as Urban League’s work in the community. More information about the Equal Opportunity Awards dinner can be found on the Urban League of Portland’s website.

October 7, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

homebuyer workshop flyer-Oct16For anyone who has applied for a credit card, a personal loan, or insurance: there’s a file about you. This file is known as your credit report. Credit reporting companies sell the information in your report to landlords, creditors, insurers, employers and other businesses with a legitimate need for it. They then use this information to evaluate your applications for a car or home loan, credit card, or even an apartment lease. Having a good credit report means it will be easier for you to get loans and access lower interest rates.

Join PCRI and Kriss Parnell, Senior Loan Consultant at HomeStreet Bank, for this seminar which will help you better understand what goes into a credit report, how it can impact you, and what you can do to improve your report.

When: Wednesday, October 26, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Where: PCRI Annex 6601 NE Martin Luther King Blvd., Portland, Oregon

Due to limited seating, PLEASE RSVP TO LINDA BY MONDAY, October 24 via email or at (503) 288-2923 x131

Interested in more information about PCRI’s homeownership programs? Learn more HERE. Additional classes will be offered each month; please check back for more information.

For more information contact Linda Tellis-Kennedy at (503) 288-2923 or by email. Click the photo at right for a downloadable flyer.

October 6, 2016 · Awards, Featured, PCRI

Oregon Business magazine has once again named PCRI as a top nonprofit to work for in the state of Oregon. We are honored to be among other exceptional nonprofits who work day-in and day-out to make Portland a better place while simultaneously striving to be great places to work. We are especially grateful for the recognition, as the rankings are based primarily on feedback from each organization’s employees.

The magazine’s annual 100 Best Nonprofits list is based on surveys of more than 5,000 participating employees from nonprofits throughout the state. The list is based on the Oregon Business’s widely regarded 100 Best Companies project.

“The nonprofit version was created to recognize a critical business sector that employs hundreds of thousands of workers,” according to the Oregon Business website.

Several staff members attended the 100 Best Nonprofits award dinner on September 29, 2016, enjoying a few moments in the spotlight at the reception and dinner.

FullSizeRender IMG_8657

Read more about the event and see the full list of rankings here.



September 29, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

Yes4HomesIn August and September 2016, PCRI welcomed two new staff members to our Programs and Resident Services team. Both Linda Tellis-Kennedy (pictured, far left) and Suzanne Veaudry Casaus (second from left) bring deep connections to North and Northeast Portland as well as a diverse background of experience. In their new roles, Linda and Suzanne will help ensure that PCRI residents and other participants in PCRI programs have essential tools to achieve stability and begin building assets through matched-savings accounts and homeownership.

Linda Tellis-Kennedy, Homeownership Program Specialist

Linda Tellis-Kennedy is a native of Portland, Oregon. She was raised in Northeast Portland on Alberta from birth until 1999. Her parents and grandparents were survivors of the Vanport Flood and were relocated to North Portland then displaced again for the construction of the Memorial Coliseum. Linda went to King Elementary School and was bussed to Binnsmead Middle School and finished high school at Thomas Jefferson. She has rented, owned and purchased investment properties in North and Northeast Portland prior to the current gentrification epidemic.  In 2004, Linda moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she became a licensed Real Estate Agent. She invested in homes again. However, when the market crashed in 2006-07, she had to return to corporate employment. Linda moved back to Portland in 2011 and worked as a Case Manager for the Oregon Department of Human Services in a specialized Self Sufficiency Department.

Working with PCRI to purchase her home, Linda is grateful for the time and dedication she received from the staff that assisted her with training, classes and resources which helped her purchase a home in the Urban Renewal Area. Linda is very excited about her work as Homeownership Program Specialist at PCRI.

“I am looking forward to all of the things I will learn and experience here at PCRI,” she said.

Linda believes in the work and the vision of PCRI and says she feels like she is going to explode when thinking about all of the positive things that will be accomplished in North and Northeast Portland through the efforts and work that PCRI is spearheading.

Suzanne Veaudry Casaus, Financial Education/IDA Specialist

Suzanne Veaudry Casaus has lived in Northeast Portland for 15 years and has seen her neighborhood dramatically change and many of her beloved neighbors displaced. Since first working on gentrification nearly 20 years ago in Atlanta, she has been searching for innovative and successful programs addressing this very complex reality.

“PCRI’s commitment to providing affordable stable housing, education, access to financial assistance and a path to homeownership is exciting,” she said, adding, “for me, being at PCRI is like joining a family, a family with a passion for community, history and helping people.”

Suzanne will lead PCRI’s financial education and matched-savings Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. Professionally Suzanne has a varied background working at the Oregon Environmental Council, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office and as an economics instructor at Chapman University. She has spent her career working as an advocate, organizer and educator striving to improve people’s lives in very practical ways.

“Working at PCRI is a dream come true.” said Suzanne.


September 12, 2016 · PCRI

budget workshop 092016Buying a home is the biggest purchase most of us will ever make. Properly budgeting for this important purchase is critical! On Wednesday, September 28, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives will host a budgeting workshop with tips, tricks and useful information for everyone–and especially anyone who would like to buy a home.

This Homebuyer Education class is designed to help residents who need help creating their first budget as well as those who already have a budget but need a boost to reach higher goals, including homeownership.

Interested in more information about PCRI’s homeownership programs? Learn more HERE. Additional classes will be offered each month; please check back for more information.

For more information contact Homeownership Program Staff Ted Salter or Linda Tellis-Kennedy at (503) 288-2923 or by email at ted@pcrihome.org or linda@pcrihome.org. Click the photo at right for a downloadable flyer.

August 3, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

On Friday, July 29, The City Club of Portland’s Friday Forum focused on “White Role(s) in Advancing Social Justice.” Moderated by Karol Collymore, Public Affairs Director for the Oregon Department of Education, the panel included Serilda Summers-McGee, Director of Human Resources for the Oregon Department of Education, Ann Curry-Stevens, Associate Professor Department of Social Work at Portland State University, Rekah Strong, Chief of Operations and Equity at United Way of the Columbia Willamette and Megan Irwin, Early Learning System Director at the Oregon Department of Education. Watch the recording here:

Following the panel, Rekah Strong posted her list of “what can I do” suggestions online and has volunteered to let us re-post them here:

  1. Stop doing racist stuff (Pretty simplistic, she adds).
  2. Stop leaving the burden of figuring it out on people of color, we’re tired. Use typical problem solving skills and apply them to coming up with solutions like we do in other spaces that require critical thought.
  3. Know true history and how it impacts public policy today. Disparities are a good indicator of flawed policy.
  4. Don’t marginalize or dismiss individuals’ expression that racism is occuring. Try to understand.
  5. Be aware of micro aggressions; understand how bike lanes highlight gentrification and the resentment that displaced communities feel (5b: Understand the visceral response of a black man responding to your sniffing dog; it correlates to dogs being used historically to brutally attack them).
  6. Stop living on cruise control when thinking about racism, and be actively aware of its existence
  7. Be aware of implicit bias’ stop locking your car doors in front of your children in “certain” parts of town. Stop clutching your bag tighter or crossing the street when black individuals walk behind you.
  8. Build authentic relationships with black people, if you been invited to their home or discussed racism with them, they are not your friend.
  9. Recognize the importance of local elections and their impact on policy change … before we elect or support judges, prosecuting attorneys, mayors, sheiffs, police chiefs, local politicians (superintendents) we need to ask them: “what is your policy agenda regarding negative impact on black communities.”
  10. Finally, stop being silent, silence is a action, use your voice. I was awe struck at the number of voices that fell silent as black men and women are being killed unlawfully: silence from organizations, silence on social media.

For context, the City Club of Portland framed the Friday Forum panel this way:

Acts of violence have plagued our nation over the past few weeks. We are still mourning the loss of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by the hands of police as we mourn for the fallen officers who served in the Dallas and Baton Rouge Police Departments. In the midst of the racial and political turmoil that is continuing to bubble to the surface, the common question from white allies and others in the struggle for racial justice is, “what can I do to effect a change in racial equality in my community?” Join us as we discuss personal and professional solutions on White people’s role(s) in advancing racial justice.

August 1, 2016 · PCRI

SummerMusicFestivalPCRI Board and Staff are excited to participate in several festivals this August: the SEI Summer Music Festival, the Alberta Street Fair, and the 2016 Soul Stroll. We welcome residents and community members alike to join us at the festivals, several of which have opportunities to learn more about PCRI, our developments and homeownership programs, as well as employment opportunities.

On August 6, 2016, PCRI is proud to sponsor Self Enhancement, Inc’s Summer Music Festival: “A Walk Down Memory Lane”. The festival is 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Unthank Park (located on Kerby Ave. and Failing St.). This event will feature many performers, including a special tribute honoring local jazz legend Thara Memory. The festival will also offer information about community displacement and what you can do, as well as food and good times, as SEI says, “the way we USED to do it!”

AlbertaStreetFAirSaturday, August 13, 2016, is the 19th Annual Alberta Street Fair, and PCRI will be there! The Fair, hosted by Alberta Main Street, “offers an eclectic mix of activities and events that could only be found on Alberta Street”. It is one of Portland’s most popular fairs, drawing over 25,000 people each year who attend to see the best of the Alberta Street community. In addition to exhibitors like PCRI, the event is for fair-goers of all ages and features entertainment, music, vendors, food and drink.

PCRI gives special thanks to Brooks Staffing for donating the exhibitor space PCRI is using at the fair!

SoulStrollPCRI staff are also excited to participate in the 2016 Soul Stroll on Saturday, August 20. The wellness walk, hosted by the African-American Health Coalition (AAHC) helps raise awareness of health disparities among the African American Community, and raise funds to sustain the AAHC physical activity program. Grand Marshal Cathy Mayes will kick off the 2.5k and 5k walks. Afterwards, the Soul Stroll will feature free food, music, dancing and more.

Interested in joining PCRI or volunteering at any of these events? Follow the links for each event or email us for more information!

July 22, 2016 · Featured, New Construction, PCRI

PCRI is excited to announce a new rental housing development which will serve low-income families in Northeast Portland. The PCRI-led team was chosen by Portland Housing Bureau earlier this year to develop the site at the corner of NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Rosa Parks Way, less than a block from PCRI’s main office.

PCRI KingPark rendering 07.18.2016_Page_1

Conceptual rendering of King + Parks Apartments, as viewed looking southwest toward the site. ©Merryman Barnes Architects 2016

In partnership with Merryman Barnes Architects, Colas Construction and Cascade Management, PCRI is currently developing designs for the property, envisioning a U-shaped building surrounding a central courtyard (pictured below). Initial designs include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments serving households at a variety of income levels. The completed building is expected to feature on-site management on its ground floor, along with a community room and secure bicycle storage.

Conceptual rendering of King + Parks Apartments. ©Merryman Barnes Architects 2016

Conceptual rendering of King + Parks Apartments. ©Merryman Barnes Architects 2016

Design development is currently underway. As of July, 2016, construction is estimated to begin in Summer 2017, with completion in mid- to late-2018. When completed, the apartments will utilize a geographic preference policy developed by Portland Housing Bureau to provide leasing priority for current and former residents of North and Northeast Portland who have been negatively impacted and/or displaced by prior public action and investment. For more information about the preference policy, visit the Portland Housing Bureau website.

Contracting and hiring opportunities for the development are intended to benefit local business, especially minority- and women-owned firms. For more information about the development or to stay informed about contracting or employment opportunities, please sign up for our mailing list (check the box for King + Parks for information specific to this project).

Answers to some of the most commonly-asked questions are listed HERE and will be updated throughout the project. Sign up for our mailing list (and check back often) for more information.

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