September 16, 2014 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, New Construction, PCRI

In many inner North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods, affordable housing has become increasingly difficult to find. Families and individuals depending on affordable rents are often faced with the difficult decision to forego basic necessities in order to retain valuable community connections, keep their kids in local schools, or access public transportation. Other long-term Northeast Portland residents find themselves displaced to suburbs and outer Portland neighborhoods in search of affordable rents.

Highland under constructionWhen PCRI determined that one of our affordable rental homes in Portland’s desirable Concordia neighborhood wasn’t practical to rehabilitate, we looked to replace it with a new home that was not only affordable and practical, but also healthy and efficient. The new rental home is part of a larger strategy by PCRI to ensure and expand the availability of affordable rental housing in neighborhoods where community resources are robust, schools are easily accessible, and transit services are frequent and readily available. This home and future developments coming soon aim to mitigate–and when possible, prevent–the forced displacement of long-term residents due to rising rents and gentrification.

The new home, currently under construction, is anticipated to earn Earth Advantage Platinum certification and will serve as a prototype for future developments. It features four bedrooms and two baths. A main floor bedroom and bathroom, as well as all living spaces, are accessible to a resident with mobility impairments. Upstairs, three additional bedrooms and a full bathroom provide space for a larger or extended family.

As with other homes rehabilitated or newly constructed by PCRI and our contractor partners, this home will benefit from finishes, cabinetry and flooring chosen because for good looks and durability as well as their absence of unhealthy chemicals used in production and finishing.

This new construction project, built by Albina Construction, also provides good paying construction jobs for historically underutilized firms. Construction work performed by certified minority-owned businesses exceeds 50% of all subcontracted work through July 2014. In addition, PCRI will team up with Oregon Tradeswomen to offer real-world training opportunities for students to develop carpentry and teamwork skills.

Funding for this project has been provided by Portland Housing Bureau, the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), equity invested by PCRI, and the use of energy-efficiency incentives from the Energy Trust of Oregon.

September 5, 2014 · by Whitney Shaw · Featured, PCRI

On Saturday, September 27, 2014, Legacy Health is hosting a free Healthy Living Celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Iserael with her bikeThe Healthy Living event includes helmet sales and fitting, free health screenings, Affordable Care Act and health insurance Q&A, disaster preparedness and resiliency tips, and CPR Training. Plus: enter to win your own emergency kit!

Helmets for infants to adults will be available for sale at the event: $6 for bicycle helmets and $20 for multi-sport helmets. Bring your own helmet for a free fitting.

All activities will be held at the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center Atrium 501 N. Graham St. Portland, OR 97227.

For more information, event schedule, and details, visit:



September 2, 2014 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

IMG_1712For two weeks in August, PCRI hosted the Maya Angelou Summer Youth Arts Camp, giving youth ages 5-18 an opportunity to use their imaginations and express their creativity while building character and confidence.

The annual camp has a different focus each year.  For 2014, youth created and starred in a puppet play, thanks to help from Oregon Children’s Theater.  Instructor and award-winning actor James Sharinghousen worked with camp participants to develop skills from acting and dance to learning to keep their attention focused.

While Sharinghousen worked with the youth on their theater skills, Resident Services Coordinator Jessie Blanchard helped youth create puppets and props for the camp’s play and provided additional motivation and support to ensure the youth’s success at the camp.

“It was amazing to see the transformation of the youth as they worked as a team to build a 20-minute play,” Blanchard said.  “I was proud of them sticking with the performance, no mater how intimidating performing can be.  After the final performance, the youth had gained a sense of pride from performing a show that the audience thoroughly enjoyed.”

IMG_1746Blanchard added that the camp participants got to take home the puppets they made at the camp, continuing their interest in storytelling.  Each youth also graduated the camp with a t-shirt which they decorated while learning how to screen print.

The Maya Angelou Art Camp was started in 2004 by a community member as a free summer program for the children at the Maya Angelou Apartments and the surrounding neighborhood. After supporting the camp for several years, PCRI recently incorporated the camp into regular programming at the Maya Angelou Community Center.  The Maya Angelou Art Camp, as well as PCRI’s Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Camp provide opportunities for growth and development for youth residing in PCRI housing and the surrounding community who typically lack access to summer programs and healthy foods outside of school.


August 22, 2014 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

AnnexOn August 21, PCRI’s Programs and Resident Services Department unveiled a new client and group meeting space located at 6601 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.  The PCRI “Annex” is located two blocks from PCRI’s main office and will offer private space for meeting with clients as well as classroom-style group space to host larger meetings, such as Homeownership Program and Financial Education classes, Homeownership Retention forums, and Individual Development Account orientations.

To learn more about PCRI’s Resident Services Programs, click HERE or call PCRI at (503) 288-2923 for more information and appointments.

August 11, 2014 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI, PDX Roots

On Sunday, August 10, PCRI celebrated the second annual Portland Roots Festival in Pioneer Courthouse Square. The festival featured keynote speaker, chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry, and event host Bryan Gallyot.

The event main stage treated festival-goers to music, dance, and other performances from Turiya Autry, Capoeira Ijexá PDX, ZZ Rose, Amenta & Hanifa Abioto, Chata Addy, Blaque Butterfly, Akela Auer, NW B-Boyz, and Speakerminds.  Community and partner organizations provided entertainment and information as well.

To keep festival goers nourished, some of Portland’s tastiest food trucks, caterers, and restaurants set up in the square. Food vendors included: Love Belizean, Gamila Cafe, Terrel’s Texas BBQ, Delight of Africa, Enat Kitchen, and Caribbean Kook Pot.

PCRI offers special thanks to Roots Festival’s Gold Sponsors KBOO and Northwest Health Foundation, Silver Sponsor – Oregon Health Authority Office of Equity and Inclusion, and Bronze Sponsor – Albina Community Bank. The production of this cultural festival would not have been possible without the support of these sponsors and many individuals and volunteers.

Click on any photo to view larger images.


July 25, 2014 · by Whitney Shaw · Featured, PCRI, PDX Roots

Bryant Terry is a chef, educator, and author renowned for his activism to create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system.  In regard to his work, Bryant’s mentor Alice Waters says, “Bryant Terry knows that good food should be an everyday right and not a privilege.”

AfroVeganBryant’s fourth book, Afro-Vegan, was published by Ten Speed Press in April 2014.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine, which was named one of the best vegetarian/vegan cookbooks of the last 25 years by Cooking Light Magazine.  Bryant also authored The Inspired Vegan, and he coauthored Grub (with Anna Lappe), which The New York Times called “ingenious.”  Bryant is also proud to have served as the “humanities advisor” on the Between Meals cookbook project, which shares the recipes and stories of newly-arrived refugee and immigrant women and explores how they have nourished their families in the US.

Bryant’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Food and Wine, Gourmet, Sunset, O: The Oprah Magazine, Essence, Yoga Journal, and Vegetarian Times among many other publications.  As an exclusive speaker signed with the Lavin Agency, Bryant presents frequently around the country as a keynote speaker at community events and colleges, including Brown, Columbia, NYU, Smith, Stanford, and Yale.

Bryant is the host of Urban Organic–a multi-episode web series that he co-created–and he was a co-host of the public television series, The Endless Feast.  He is a featured expert in the documentary film Soul Food Junkies.  He served as an advisor and made an appearance in the documentary film What’s on Your Plate, as well as the PBS educational film Nourish.  Bryant has made dozens of national television and radio appearances, including being a guest on The Martha Stewart Show, Emeril Green, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, The Splendid Table, and The Tavis Smiley Show.

Bryant’s education efforts and activism have earned him numerous accolades.  In 2014 the African American Studies Department at UC Berkeley honored Bryant (along with Tavis Smiley and Belva Davis) for his commitment to community development and transformative change.  In 2012, Hillary Clinton chose him as one of 80 American chefs to be a part of the American Chef Corps.  That same year included him on its list of “100 most influential African Americans,” included him on its list of “100 African Americans making history today,” and the San Francisco Bay Guardian named him “Best Cookbook Cheftivist” in the Bay Area.  In 2011 Bryant was included in Ebony Magazine’s “Power 100 list,” and in 2009, The New York Times magazine featured him among a handful of “food fighters.”  He was selected as one of the “Hot 20 Under 40” in the San Francisco Bay Area magazine 7×7 in 2008.  From 2008-2010 Bryant was a fellow of the Food and Society Fellows Program, a national Program of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and in 2007 he received the inaugural Natural Gourmet Institute Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education along with author and Educator Marion Nestle.

In 2002 Bryant founded b-healthy (Build Healthy Eating and Lifestyles to Help Youth), a multi-year initiative in New York City designed to empower youth to be more active in fighting for a more sustainable food system.

Bryant graduated from the Chef’s Training Program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City. He holds an M.A. in History from NYU and a B.A. with honors in English from Xavier University of Louisiana.  He lives in Oakland, California with his wife and daughter.

July 18, 2014 · by Melody · PCRI, PDX Roots

PDX Roots Poster 2014

The 2nd annual Portland Roots Festival is almost here! Join us:

Sunday, August 10th, 2014
12PM – 8PM
Pioneer Courthouse Square
701 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

We are looking forward to tasting Africa-inspired dishes from some of the city’s tastiest food trucks, caterers, and restaurants. Including:
Love Belizean, Gamila Cafe, Terrel’s Texas BBQ, Delight of Africa, Enat Kitchen, and Caribbean Kook Pot

On the main stage, we will be treated to performances from some incredible musicians, poets, and dancers. Including:
Turiya Autry, Capoeira Ijexá PDX, ZZ Rose, Amenta & Hanifa Abioto, Chata Addy, Black Butterfly, Akela Auer, NW B-Boyz, and Speakerminds

Have fun learning about food, health, and community with our partner organizations. Including:
Friends of Family Farmers, Q Center, Coalition of Community Health Clinics, Urban League, Men’s Health Project, Curriculum of Cuisine, Bradley Angle, Earth Wisdom Alliance, Lanyi Fan, Black Women for Peace, and Oregon Children’s Theater who will be on-site with storytelling workshops.

Bryant-Terry-photo-credit-Margo-Moritz-680x835Special guests include key-note speaker, Bryant Terry.
Bryant Terry is a chef, food justice activist, and author of numerous books, including Vegan Soul Food, The Inspired Vegan, and Afro-Vegan. He is also the host of Urban Organic, a multi-episode web series. His interest in cooking, farming, and community health can be traced back to his childhood in Memphis, Tennessee, where his grandparents inspired him to grow, prepare, and appreciate good food. Bryant completed the chef’s training program at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City. He holds an M.A. in American History from New York University and a B.A. with honors in English from Xavier University of Louisiana. From 2008 to 2010, Bryant was a fellow of the Food and Society Policy Fellows Program. He lives and creates in Oakland, California, with his wife and children.

image b. gallyotSpecial guests also include event host – Bryan Gallyot. Repeatedly voted Pasadena’s “Best Personality”, Bryan is also known for hosting charitable events across Southern California. This Palm Springs based entertainer and co-owner of the Crazy Coconut Bar & Grill is happy to join us here in Portland for the 2nd annual Portland Roots Festival.

For more information, contact PCRI at 503-288-2923. We hope to see you there!


July 16, 2014 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

PCRI requests subcontractor bids from all interested firms including minority-owned businesses to perform capital improvements at 130 PCRI-owned scattered-site affordable rental homes in Portland. Scopes of work vary by property and may include exterior painting, roof replacement, landscaping and concrete work.

PCRI will host two informational outreach events to meet prospective contractors, provide project information, scopes of work and bidding instructions, as well as information about PCRI and PCRI’s goals for the improvements.


Informational Outreach Events:

July 21, 2014, 8:30 am at Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME), 4313 N Vancouver Ave, Portland OR

July 23, 2014, 8:30 am at PCRI, 6329 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland OR

Please RSVP and for questions call Suzanne Zuniga at (503) 408.1405 or by email.

Bids Due: Thursday, July 31st at 2:00 pm

Interested contractors should also complete PCRI’s Contractor Qualification forms prior to inspecting properties and submitting proposals. Contractor Qualification forms may be requested by calling PCRI at (503) 288-2923 or emailing Jordan at PCRI.

The majority of PCRI properties were constructed before 1978; any work that disturbs paint in any way will require proper containment procedures. If your firm is lead-paint certified, please indicate this in your bid.

Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives provides affordable, scattered-site single- and multi-family housing and associated resident services tailored to achieve family stability, self-sufficiency and wealth creation.

Update 7/25/2014 – Information Session Attendees:

Neakontee Smith All Pro Installs
A.K. Nyoka Imara Landscape Maintenance Co.
Alex Merit Contract
Vince Oniah Vince Building Maintenance
Kathryn Horsley Accomplished Painting
Joe Brown EG Contracting LLC
Joe Tshiclsi Strategic
Ray Lampkin Lampkin Construction
Varick Apland Rooftoppers
Wayne Shelford Rodeo Roofing
Jonathan Ramos Ramos Construction
Tony Jones MCIP
Chris Cross MCIP
Teresa Robles Three Oakes Construction
Faye Burch Faye M Burch
Greg Pauly Republic Services
Ilene Starr Landsculpture
Windol Cador Duke Development
Israel Rodriguez Fulcrum Construction
Alex Jonsson Fulcrum Construction
Chimin Ha Ha’s Painting
Dennis Harris Albina Construction
July 15, 2014 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

PCRI is pleased to announce that we have been chosen as one of 30 select organizations to participate in United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s new Community Strengthening collaborative cohort designed to improve outcomes for low-income children and their families, and ultimately break the cycle of childhood poverty in the four-county (Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah and Washington) region.

UW LogoThe collaborative cohort, which is based on the “collective impact” approach, is part of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s new strategic direction to leverage the expertise, resources, and effort of multiple organizations across the region in working together toward one common goal: breaking the cycle of childhood poverty.

United Way’s Community Strengthening cohort is comprised of 30 emerging and established non-profits serving low income and culturally specific communities across the metropolitan area. The cohort will work together for a period of three years (July 2014 through June 2017) to create and participate in learning communities designed to share experiences, exchange data and information, and build collective knowledge around new and promising practices to improve outcomes for low-income families and their children. Each member of the Community Strengthening cohort will be awarded up to $50,000 per year, to complete this critical work. (*Funding to PCRI and the other non-profits in the cohort is contingent on the funding United Way receives as an organization to its Breaking the Cycle fund.)

“We are pleased to participate in the United Way’s Community Strengthening cohort because together we can make community-level change,” said Melody Padilla, PCRI Director of Programs.  “We hope to learn new models and best practices, share our own, and build a movement to end childhood poverty.”

Each non-profit organization participating in United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s Community Strengthening cohort has agreed to share their results through a common measurement framework, to work together on critical problems and innovations in the field, and to build a common knowledge base about collective impact on childhood poverty in our region.

“We are ecstatic to be collaborating with the outstanding organizations selected to be a part of our Community Strengthening cohort on breaking the cycle of childhood poverty. The issue of poverty is incredibly complex, with multiple facets; it’s a far greater issue than any one organization can resolve alone,” said Keith Thomajan, CEO of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. “In utilizing the collective impact model, we are confident we can amplify and accelerate the impact we are making in our community specific to student success, family stability, and connected communities to give every child, regardless of their socioeconomic status, a fair chance at success. Quite simply, we are better together.”

The Collective Impact Model

The collective impact model, as articulated by the non-profit consulting group Foundation Strategy Group (FSG), is a model of work that brings people together, in a structured way, to achieve social change. There are five conditions** of “collective impact” that lead to meaningful results:

A common agenda: All participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions

  1. Shared Measurement: Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable
    1. Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action
    2. Continuous Communication: Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and appreciate common motivation
  • Backbone Organization: Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization(s) with staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organizations and agencies (The backbone organization for the Community Strengthening strategy is United Way of the Columbia-Willamette.)


**Source: Foundation Strategy Group (FSG)

To learn more about United Way’s Community Strengthening strategy and the other organizations involved in the cohort, please visit

June 25, 2014 · by Whitney Shaw · Featured, PCRI

PCRI is hiring an AmeriCorps Member to provide gardening and nutrition education for a diverse group of residents living in affordable housing. The position requires a motivated and resourceful individual; occasional evening hours may be included.

Job Description- Healthy Food Access Specialist

Reports To DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS Salary Range : OSSC/AmeriCorps
FLSA NONEXEMPT Revision Date: 06.2014


Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. is a non-profit community development corporation with a mission “to preserve, expand and manage affordable housing in the City of Portland and provide access to and advocacy for services to our residents.” We own more than700 units of housing, primarily scattered site, single family homes with the greatest concentration in North and Northeast Portland.

Position Summary:

The Healthy Food Access Specialist/AmeriCorps member provides gardening and nutrition education and support to a diverse group of residents living in affordable housing. The position requires a motivated and resourceful individual who is sensitive to resident needs and can thrive in a relatively independent environment working with a multidisciplinary team of service providers. Occasional evening hours may be included.

Essential Responsibilities:

  • Support community food bank and resource center activities, events, and development.
  • Conduct resident outreach to encourage participation in program activities.
  • Coordinate and/or lead educational classes (e.g. microenterprise, nutrition)
  • Assist with recruiting and supporting community volunteers.
  • Accurately prepare and maintain monthly activity reports.
  • Physical elements include working outdoors, lifting and carrying 20-40 pounds, bending and kneeling, and other gardening related movements.
  • Complete and submit in a timely manner all OSSC/AmeriCorps required reports and time sheets.
  • Participate in OSSC/AmeriCorps sponsored orientation, trainings, meetings and disaster- related activities.


  • A Bachelor’s degree in community development, urban studies, geography, education or other related social science and/or equivalent experience.
  • Experience with community outreach and organizing; experience working with low-income communities and communities of color.
  • Excellent communication, public speaking, and presentation skills.
  • Willingness to work a flexible schedule, including some evenings.
  • Knowledge of another language (Spanish, East African languages) is a plus.

This position is available to all without regard to race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, political affiliation, or in most instances, religion.

Qualified individuals with disabilities and those from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. We provide reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals.

Application Process:

Interested candidates should submit a resume and a cover letter addressing qualifications for the position to Melody Padilla, Director of Programs. Only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls please. This position is open until filled.

Contact Information: PCRI, Inc.

Melody Padilla –

6329 NE Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd, Portland, Oregon, 97211.

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