September 12, 2016 · Featured, 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 or 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.

July 8, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

Rent Credit Build Postcard single Mom_Page_1Since Spring 2015, PCRI residents have been able to participate in automatic online rent payments which also help build credit. Residents enrolled in the online program (also called Automated Clearing House, or ACH), have already seen an average increase in credit scores of over 37 points, and some have increased credit scores of 50 points or more.

Enrolling in the program is a simple and easy to start building or improving credit. Benefits of higher credit scores include reduced interest rates for loans, improved readiness for homeownership and more. To learn more, contact PCRI’s office at 503-288-2923.

For residents who are interested in the convenience of autopay, but are not interested in building credit, PCRI has an alternate payment option. Please contact us for more information.

July 5, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

PCRI has recently created and opened several positions and we’re looking for candidates who will excel with our organization. More information, including downloadable job descriptions will full details of each opportunity, is available on our Job Opportunities page.

DSC_0470Job opportunities at PCRI include a generous benefits package that typically includes paid vacation, sick leave, paid holidays and employer-paid health coverage. Details of benefits for each position are included in each position’s job description. PCRI also offers a 403(b) retirement savings plan, access to PCRI’s asset building and other programs, as well as other benefits.

PCRI is a fast-paced, highly engaged work environment. We strive to communicate effectively and respectfully within the context of varying beliefs, behaviors, orientations, identities and cultural backgrounds. We actively seek opportunities for professional development for our staff and promote a willingness to change for continual improvement.


June 30, 2016 · Featured, Pathway 1000, PCRI

Urban League Director Nkenge Harmon-Johnson (left) joined PCRI’s Travis Phillips and Maxine Fitzpatrick at the open house

Community members, neighbors, partners and others joined PCRI for an open house to see PCRI’s newest affordable rental homes and enjoy food from local businesses Tamale Boy, Portland Prime and Cupcake Jones. The June 14 event celebrated completion of construction of six three-bedroom, townhouse-style rental homes intended to help mitigate and prevent displacement in Northeast Portland’s rapidly changing neighborhoods.

Families on PCRI’s affordable housing waiting list who were displaced or are at risk of displacement from North and Northeast Portland will receive priority to rent the homes using a “Right to Return” policy developed by PCRI to mitigate involuntary displacement. The homes will be reserved for rent by families earning up to 50-60% of Area Median Income (income thresholds vary by unit) and will rent for $955 to $1,146 per month.

Portland Housing Bureau Director Kurt Creager (with hat) congratulates PCRI on the complete homes

Portland Housing Bureau Director Kurt Creager (with hat) congratulates PCRI on the complete homes

Designed by eM|Zed Architecture and built by Colas Construction, these homes will ensure durability, health and affordability for resident families for years to come. Thanks to a grant from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the existing home at the site which was not suitable for rehabilitation was deconstructed, helping to prevent valuable building material from becoming landfill. Financing for the development and construction was provided by Portland Housing Bureau and Pacific Continental Bank, with additional incentives and grant funding from Energy Trust of Oregon and NW Natural.


June 30, 2016 · New Construction, PCRI


IMG_6959In June, 2016, PCRI completed construction of two in-fill developments a few blocks from one another in Northeast Portland. Each development featured three new construction attached townhomes which will be available for rent by families earning up to 50-60% of Area Median Income, based on family size.

Each townhome includes three bedrooms, a full bathroom and laundry room upstairs, while the open main floor includes the home’s kitchen, living and dining rooms and a half bath. Individual front porches give each townhome a welcoming entry, while private fenced rear yards offer a place for residents to garden, relax or play.

Designed by eM|Zed Architecture and built by Colas Construction, these homes will ensure durability, health and affordability for resident families for years to come. These new homes earned Earth Advantage Platinum certification for sustainable construction and energy efficiency. As with other homes developed by PCRI, the homes utilize finishes, cabinetry and flooring chosen for good looks and durability as well as the absence of unhealthy chemicals used in production and finishing. Space and water heating, appliances and lighting fixtures were all selected to maximize the home’s energy-efficiency, reducing utility costs for residents.

One of the two sites was vacant land prior to development of the townhomes. At the other site, an existing, dilapidated single family home was deconstructed prior to development of the new townhomes. The new homes are part of a larger strategy by PCRI to ensure and expand the availability of affordable rental housing in high-opportunity neighborhoods. This home and future developments aim to mitigate–and when possible, prevent–the forced displacement of long-term residents due to rising rents and gentrification.

Families on PCRI’s affordable housing waiting list who were displaced or are at risk of displacement from North and Northeast Portland will receive priority to rent the homes using a “Right to Return” policy developed by PCRI to mitigate involuntary displacement. The homes will be reserved for rent by families earning up to 50-60% of Area Median Income (income thresholds vary by unit) and will rent for $955 to $1,146 per month.

This new construction project, built by Colas Construction, also provided good paying construction jobs for historically underutilized firms. Construction work performed by certified minority-owned businesses comprised approximately half of all subcontracted construction expenses. In addition, volunteer partnerships helped stretch the project budget while ensuring the new home was a compliment to the neighborhood.

Funding for this project was provided by Portland Housing Bureau, Pacific Continental Bank, the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a deconstruction grant provided by the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, equity invested by PCRI, and the use of energy-efficiency incentives from the Energy Trust of Oregon.

June 17, 2016 · Awards, Featured, PCRI

PCRI Director Maxine Fitzpatrick at PCRI’s Gala in May, 2016

The Urban League of Portland announced on that PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick would receive the League’s keynote honors at their Equal Opportunity Awards dinner on October 4, 2016 at the Oregon Convention Center.

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.

In the June 15 announcement, the Urban League stated, “Maxine is a passionate leader in our community, working to ensure that all Oregonians have access to affordable housing and opportunities for home ownership. As the Executive Director of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Maxine is a tireless advocate for families in our community and has been at the forefront in providing real solutions to Portland’s current housing crisis.”

PCRI’s staff and board are honored to see Maxine receive the Urban League’s honors and will attend the event to celebrate the Urban League’s work and Maxine’s award. More information about the Equal Opportunity Awards dinner can be found on the Urban League of Portland’s website.

May 25, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

PCRI’s Fifth Annual Dancing with the Stars Portland Gala was the most successful gala yet, raising a record $104,500! The dancers delivered an amazing show and the event’s sponsors, volunteers and guests raised 25% more than ever before to support the affordable housing and services PCRI residents depend on.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Following a packed reception, Nkenge Harmon-Johnson and Erious Johnson brought the event to life with an epic performance choreographed to “Staying Alive”. Emcee Chabre Vickers brought her personal connections to the work PCRI does.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

The headlining entertainment of the evening, the Dancing with the Stars-style competition, was also one for the record books! Trained by and paired with professional dancers from Portland’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, each dancing couple put on a spectacular show.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

In the end, only one dance couple could be named champion and while Adrienne Nelson, Frank Taylor and reigning champion Pamela Weatherspoon had a tough decision, they named Cupid Alexander and Jessi Aillon this year’s winners.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

But the evening isn’t just about a dance competition. Chabre Vickers 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.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Most notably, former resident and first-time homeowner Altia Wilkins described how the stability of PCRI’s affordable rental housing, support of PCRI’s resident services and her strong dedication enabled her to purchase the home where her grandkids have room to play. In addition, the equity she builds in her home will provide stability for her grandkids and future generations.

For more news and photos, be sure to visit the Gala website! And, of course, 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. If you’re not already signed up, be sure to join our mailing list to get news and invitations for next year’s gala, scheduled for Saturday, March 25, 2017.

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