September 28, 2015 · 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 · 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 · 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 10, 2015 · Featured, PCRI

PCRI is excited to begin the second series of the “Money Smart” Financial Education Program in partnership with Banner Bank. Residents who complete the four-class program will earn $100 to open a new checking account. The program includes four 2-hour classes on Tuesday evenings, starting Tuesday, October 6, and will cover topics ranging from budgeting, balancing a checkbook, managing credit and avoiding identity theft.Children-and-savings

Classes are limited to 35 participants and pre-registration is required, so residents are encouraged to RSVP as soon as possible to Amy Dang at PCRI.  The classes include:

  • Class 1 (Tuesday, October 6, 6-8 p.m.): “Bank on It” and “Borrowing Basics” topics include basics of banking and borrowing.
  • Class 2 (Tuesday, October 13, 6-8 p.m.): “Check it Out” and “Money Matters” topics include backing vs. check cashing services, and budgeting.
  • Class 3 (Tuesday, October 20, 6-8 p.m.): “Pay Yourself First” and “Keep it Safe” topics include the importance of saving and protecting your identity
  • Class 4 (Tuesday, October 27, 6-8 p.m.): “To Your Credit” and “Charge it Right” topics include financial scams, identity theft, and maintaining good credit.

Participants who attend and complete all four classes will earn $100 from Banner Bank.  Class sizes are limited and registration is required.  Contact Amy Dang, PCRI’s Financial Education Specialist, for more information or to register. All classes will be held at the PCRI Annex, two blocks north of PCRI’s main office.

September 1, 2015 · 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 · 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 · Featured, Grant Warehouse, PCRI

IMG_0230At an August 17 event, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Dan Saltzman announced the selection of a PCRI-led team to develop the former Grant Warehouse site. The site, located on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, between Cook and Ivy streets, is envisioned with new affordable rental housing and community-serving ground floor commercial retail space.

“Even though this is just one site, it is the beginning,” said Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick of the project’s goals to mitigate involuntary displacement.

PCRI and our project team, including co-developer Gerding Edlen, general contractor Colas Construction, and Carleton Hart Architects, were selected following a Request for Qualifications issued by Portland Housing Bureau. The RFQ served to identify the development team which could best meet the goals of Housing Bureau’s N/NE Neighborhood Housing Strategy and develop a project which would involve and benefit the Northeast Portland community as well as its its historically African-American residents.

“This is an important opportunity to provide access to affordable family rental housing in a neighborhood that has experienced displacement and gentrification in the past several decades,” said Ms. Fitzpatrick. “PCRI was formed as, and continues to be, a solution to involuntary displacement. This project will help ensure everyone can experience the stability, safety and dignity that a home provides.”

IMG_0218The announcement about the development team for the Grant Warehouse site was one of two cornerstone projects highlighted at the public event, held at the site of the former Grant Warehouse. Colas Construction and Majestic Realty will develop a new commercial project a short distance away at NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Alberta Street. That project will feature a grocery and other commercial retail space.

“Through their focus on commercial activity and affordable housing, both projects will add to the vitality and diversity of the community, and will serve to underscore our commitment to this vital section of Northeast Portland,” said commissioner Saltzman in an email invitation for the event.

“This is a happy, long awaited day,” said Mayor Charlie Hales.

For continued information about the Grant Warehouse redevelopment and project updates, visit or follow PCRI on Facebook.


August 17, 2015 · 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 14, 2015 · Featured, PCRI

Reaching MillionsPCRI, a HomeFree-USA affiliate, invites the housing community to join the “Reaching Millions” National Leadership and Housing Counseling Training Conference, held in Portland, Oregon, September 9-11, 2015. The 11th Annual conference is a unique training and networking event with a pre-conference workshop and reception on Tuesday, September 8.

The conference brings together housing counseling leaders and provides information on successful approaches and strategies that come from more than 20 years’ experience serving families across the country. Conference speakers will share insight and direction, participants will have networking opportunities, and are encouraged to participate in regional roundtables to discuss new opportunities.

Conference details can be found HERE. The conference will be held at the Portland Hilton and Executive Towers, located at 921 SW 6th Avenue in Portland. Special room rates are available for attendees.

HomeFree-USA brings together more than 150 non-profit community-based housing counseling leaders. PCRI and other HomeFree-USA affiliated organizations represent more than 4.5M families nationwide.

Please share and distribute this opportunity with your network and register today!


August 12, 2015 · Featured, PCRI

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and HUD have partnered to alert households of Section 8 scams which aim to cheat people seeking housing. If you are looking for Section 8 housing assistance, here’s something you need to know: don’t submit personal information, including Social Security numbers, bank or credit card accounts over the phone or on websites offering Section 8 vouchers or rental housing.

The Portland office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has heard recent reports of scammers who have made websites that look like registration sites for Section 8 waiting list lotteries and of apartment listings on Craigslist that are scams aimed at holders of Section 8 and other rental assistance vouchers. These websites or links may lead to an online application asking for personal information and can pose posts a danger to apartment seekers.

For rental housing seekers in Multnomah County, HUD recommends searching the Housing Connections website rather than Craigslist. For information on Section 8 “Housing Choice” vouchers, contact Home Forward, the housing authority for Multnomah County.

Here’s the real way things work: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s Section 8 program provides funding to local government housing authorities. The local authorities issue housing choice vouchers to help people find housing in privately-owned rental units (including units owned by non-profit providers like PCRI). To get on the waiting list for a voucher, find your local housing authority and call or email them. In Portland, the housing authority is Home Forward. They can provide information about how to sign up for the Section 8 waiting list lottery. Again, there is no fee to register.

HUD cautions housing seekers to be cautious when searching online for the Section 8 voucher waiting list, the top search results often are bogus sites. The sites look very real: their names may say “Section 8,” and they might show an Equal Housing Opportunity logo. They may ask for fees and your personal information, like your Social Security number, but they won’t do anything for you. The scammers will keep your money and disappear. They also may give your personal information to identity thieves.

In another twist, some fake sites (or even real sites like Craigslist with scam links) list Section 8 properties that supposedly are available. They promise you can rent one, if you pay the first month’s rent via wire transfer or a prepaid card. The properties might exist, but the ads are fakes placed by scammers. If you pay, you just lose your money.

People have lost money and personal information to scammers – but they’ve also lost the chance to be in the actual lottery. Most people don’t realize they’ve been scammed until after the waiting list is closed.

Keep these tips in mind to avoid a Section 8 lottery scam:

  • Contact Home Forward to find out how to register for the Section 8 waiting list lottery. You can also find the email and phone number or other housing authorities on the HUD site. Follow their instructions to sign up.
  • Search for apartments using the Housing Connections website (rather than Craigslist).
  • Housing authorities do not charge fees, and they won’t reach out to you by phone or email to suggest that you join a waiting list. A housing authority also will never ask you to wire money or pay with a prepaid card. Those are sure signs of a scam.
  • Treat your Social Security number and other personal information (such as credit card numbers), like cash. Don’t give them out on a website you find through a search.
  • Have you seen this kind of scam? File a complaint with the FTC and HUD’s Office of Inspector General Hotline.



This information was complied from information provided by Margaret Salazar, Field Office Director, HUD Oregon State Office and by Lisa Lake, Consumer Education Specialist, FTC.

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