Portland, OR. United Way of the Columbia-Willamette has nearly 1,500 volunteer opportunities across 60 community projects as part of the 13th Annual MLK Weekend of Service. Click here for a link to a list of volunteer options from Hands-on Greater Portland.

“Dr. King’s legacy of service continues to inspire and remind Oregonians that we all have a role to play in bettering the health of our communities,” says Angela Dowling, President of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon. “Regence and our employees are proud to celebrate our fifth year partnering with United Way in support of this mission.”

Clean Up and Green Up is a volunteer project at Portland Audubon.

The event is presented by Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon and supported by Intel, Nike, Dunn Carney, Tonkon Torp LLP, Umpqua Bank, with special thanks to U.S. Bank.

From sprucing up libraries and school gardens to sorting books for kids to packaging donated food for families in need – MLK Weekend of Service offers countless opportunities for community members to give back and help build Dr. King’s vision throughout the Portland metro region.

“Our MLK Weekend of Service is an incredible opportunity for people to come together to honor Dr. King’s legacy,” says Cindy Adams, President and CEO of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. “With over sixty volunteer projects and 1,500 volunteers across the region this year, community members can continue striving for the changes Dr. King championed – including ending poverty and advancing racial equity – and make a real impact for tens of thousands of children and families.”

This year’s event also kicks off United Way’s centennial celebration. Since 1920 your local United Way has been bringing the community together to do good. In addition to honoring Dr. King’s legacy, this MLK Weekend we also celebrate United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s historic role in strengthening schools, families, and communities across the region.

  • The event runs from Friday, January 17 through Monday, January 20 with volunteer projects each day.
  • The event is organized by United Way’s volunteer program, Hands On Greater Portland.
  • MLK Weekend of Service is an integral part of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s 10-year agenda focused on reducing childhood poverty and advancing racial equity.

Here’s a list of some of the options for volunteer activities:

Friday: January 17:

  1. Beaverton High School Student Success Week: Join us for painting, creating signage, interior planting
    1. 8:30 am-11:30 am
    2. Location: Beaverton HS: 13000 SW 2nd St. Beaverton, OR 97008
  2. Hands Dirty but Hearts Filled: Help spruce up the Day Center organizing bookshelves, cleaning furniture and windows, picking up around the property
    1. 9:30 am-12:30 pm
    2. Location: 2nd floor of Sunset Presbyterian Church: 14986 NW Cornell Rd. Portland, OR 97229
  3. VOSE Elementary School (Beaverton School District): Help spruce up the school grounds
    1. 9:30 am-11:30 am
    2. Location: 11350 SW Denney Rd. Beaverton, OR

Saturday: January 18:

  1. American Red Cross: Install free smoke alarms and educate households on fire safety
    1. 9:30 am-2:30 pm
    2. Location: Portland Red Cross office: 3131 N Vancouver Ave. Portland, OR 97227
  2. Schoolhouse Supplies: Sort books by grade level for the Free Store for Teachers
    1. 9:30 am-11:30 am
    2. Location: 4916 NE 122nd Portland, OR 97230

Sunday: January 19:

  1. Q Center: Join us for a day of beautification at the largest LGBTQ2SIA+ community center in the Pacific NW
    1. 9:30 am-11:30 am
    2. Location: 4115 N Mississippi Ave. Portland, OR
  2. The Children’s Book Bank: Sort, spruce up and bundle community donated books for children
    1. 10 am-11 am
    2. Location: 1915 NE 7th AVE. Portland, OR 97217
  3. Hillsboro Public Library: Help “weed” the library shelves and organize the supply closet
    1. 1:30 pm-3:30 pm
    2. Location: Shute Park Library: 775 SE 10th Ave. Hillsboro, OR 97124

Monday (MLK Day): January 20:

  1. Bink-A-Thon: Make blankets for children
    1. 9:30 am-1:30 pm
    2. Location: Village Baptist Church, 330 SW Murray Blvd, Beaverton, OR 97005
  2. SnowCap Community Garden Clean-Up: Help weed, prune, haul and spread cedar chips
    1. 9:30 am-12:30 pm
    2. Location: 17805 SE Stark St. Portland, OR 97233
  3. Oregon Food Bank (Portland): Repack food donations into family-size portions
    1. 10 am-11 am
    2. Location: Portland location: 7900 NE 33rd Dr. Portland, OR 97211
  4. Native Gathering Garden at Cully: Help with weeding and general upkeep of the garden
    1. 10:30 am-11:30 am
    2. Location: 5810 NE 72nd Ave. Portland, OR
  5. SOLVE: Clean up MLK Blvd
    1. 10:30 am-11:30 am
    2. Location: Irving Park 707 NE Fremont St, Portland, OR 97212
  6. P:ear: Cook meals & tidy up for homeless youth
    1. 1:30 pm-3 pm
    2. Location: 338 NW 6th Ave Portland, OR 97209
  7. Oregon Food Bank (Beaverton): Repack food donations into family-size portions
    1. 1:30 pm-3 pm
    2. Location: Beaverton location: 1870 NW 173rdAve. Beaverton, OR 97006

The University of Portland is inaugurating an annual MLK Day event with local writer, activist, educator and spoken word artist Walidah Imarisha leading a discussion on the question, “Why aren’t there more black people in Oregon?”

The event is titled MLK Day ON 2020: Engage. Reflect. Serve. It also will feature guest singer Julianne Johnson, a 1983 graduate and Grammy Award-nominated recording artist and songwriter.

What: MLK Day ON 2020

When: 3:30-5:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 20

Where: University of Portland’s Buckley Center Auditorium, 5000 N. Willamette Blvd. (Overflow room: Brian Doyle Auditorium in Dundon-Berchtold Hall)

Admission: Free, but RSVP to Everbrite at www.tinyurl.com/v9hc5gk

35th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute

The Skanner Foundation is hosting its 34th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.

What: 34th annual Skanner Breakfast

When: 8:30-10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 20

Where: Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Portland

Tickets: To reserve individual tickets or tables, go to www.theskanner.com/skanner-mlk-breakfast

In addition, numerous local organizations and institutions hold annual volunteer MLK Day of Service activities. There is no central directory, but you can find them by searching online.

Each of these projects will have a United Way staff member or Volunteer Leader available onsite to answer questions. If you need more information prior to the event, or if you know that your media outlet will be attending one of the projects, please call Kristen Lambert at United Way (contact info listed above).

For a full list of volunteer activities throughout the weekend, please visit: http://www.unitedway-pdx.org/mlk


About United Way

At United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, we have a simple, ambitious vision – to invest in our region’s kids so they are free from poverty in order to be free to reach their potential. United Way of the Columbia-Willamette has been bringing our community together to do good for nearly 100 years. We’re uniquely positioned to connect and support the people, nonprofits, businesses and government agencies working hard to address poverty in our region. When we invest in our region’s kids, we free the future. For more information and to get involved please visit www.unitedway-pdx.org.