Portland, OR. Community Warehouse raised a record $200,687 at its annual gala, “Chair Affair,” which was held on June 26th. The event was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Chair Affair 2020 was “a virtual affair to remember,” according to Community Warehouse Communications Manager Pua Trice, and featured “unique art, exciting auctions, and inspiring stories from people whose houses have been transformed into homes.”
“The event raised a record-setting net of $200,687 that will connect essential furnishings to neighbors in need throughout the region,” Trice said. Dale Johannes and Dunethcka Otero-Serrano, Community Warehouse’s Executive Director hosted the event, as shown in the photo above. “I want to start tonight’s Chair Affair with gratitude,” Otero-Serrano said. “These past few months have been so challenging for all of us, but we have been able to get creative and continue service to our community because of our partners.”
Children’s Chairs created by local artists and sponsored by wonderful supporters of Community Warehouse. These chairs go to children of families that visit the Warehouse in need of furnishings.
“These past few months have certainly been challenging,” Johannes said, “but your team of superheroes—and they are superheroes—they’ve been hard at work adapting to this change and creating some new ways to meet the needs of the community.”
The hosts emphasized how important a table or a bed can be throughout Covid-19’s disruptions to daily life, and that Community Warehouse has continued to serve their clients throughout the pandemic by supplying them with Home2Go essential item kits.
“These are kits that are essential items for every household, designed to give our clients an opportunity to cook their own meals, to have a safe place to sleep, a full set of dishes, and a full set of towels and bedsheets,” said Community Warehouse Program Director Joe Glode in a video.
Stories from various partners, volunteers and clients were spotlighted at the event. Partners like the Tigard-Tualatin School District detailed the impact that essential furnishings have on their students’ capabilities in the classroom, and Youth volunteers highlighted their understanding and proactivity towards Community Warehouse’s mission.
Matthew Mickles, Ben Garcia, and Priscilla Villanueva from the Tigard-Tualatin School District
“Well-being was encapsulated by the Espinoza family,” Trice said, “clients that can enjoy ‘family day’ in a warm and welcoming home.”
The Espinoza Family—Amelia, Alexander, Ailani, Steve, Sandra, and Sandy
According to Glode, at the beginning of the pandemic in March, Community Warehouse had to temporarily lay off most of its staff. “When city and state officials issued a stay at home order, we really were thinking, how do you stay at home if you have nothing at home?” Glode said.
That’s when Community Warehouse decided to start making essential item kits—called Home2Go kits—with items they had readily available in both their Portland and Tualitan warehouses.
Since March, Community Warehouse has been able to bring nearly all of their staff back to work in some capacity, and the organization is continuing to focus on providing their services to the Portland community.
“It means a lot to know that we have the support of everyone in the community to make sure that we can provide furniture in a safe place to live for everyone,” Glode said.
Joe Glode, Program Director at Community Warehouse, preparing a Home2Go Essential Item Kit.
About Community Warehouse:
We’re your friendly local furniture bank, serving the Portland area for over 15 years. How does a furniture bank work? In a nutshell, we collect donated home goods, and work with social service agencies to get those goods in the hands of those who need it most. The stuff you no longer need becomes the solution for a family in need. Pretty simple, huh? At Community Warehouse, it’s the simple stuff – the extra dishes, towels, beds, and more – that changes lives.
Portland, OR. “We are the Rose City! A History of Soccer in Portland.” That’s the focus of a new exhibit coming to the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) in late July. The Oregon Historical Society Museum will be reopening its doors to the public on Saturday, July 11th at 10:00 A.M. It has been closed since March 14th due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Timber exhibit photo above features Mamadou “Futty” Danso, Jack Jewsbury and Steve Purdy celebrated a win following the Timbers first home game in the MLS era. (Photographer Craig Mitchelldyer, Courtesy of Portland Timbers.)
“We’re looking forward to reopening,” said OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk. “We’ve got lots for people to see, and we’ll be following of course all the guidelines required by the state and the county as far as face coverings and social distancing.” Museum-goers will be able to check out OHS’s permanent exhibit, “Experience Oregon,” which debuted last year and chronicles “the good, the bad and the ugly,” of Oregon’s history, according to Tymchuk. Additionally, the new exhibit entitled, “Soccer in the Rose City,” will explore a full history of Portland’s soccer culture.
Capo Tina leads section 108 during a 2019 Portland Thorns game. (Courtesy of 107 Independent Supporters Trust.)
Over the past few months, OHS has been busy producing a weekly newsletter and keeping the community updated and informed through social media.
“We’ve been very proud of all the work and material we’ve been able to provide through our social media outlets,” Tymchuk said. “We’ve been putting out great material on the pandemic, such as the Spanish flu pandemic of 100 years ago and how it impacted Oregon and lessons learned and not learned. And then we were able over the past couple of weeks to put out just a phenomenal amount of material on racial justice and equity.”
Just before having to shut its doors on March 14th, the museum was getting ready to debut an exhibit entitled, “Nevertheless, They Persisted: Women’s Voting Rights and the 19th Amendment.” Museum-goers will still be able to check out the exhibit when OHS reopens. “[It’s] a phenomenal exhibit—artifacts and documents, chronicling the fight for equal rights for women and giving them the right to vote,” Tymchuk said. “We’re anxious to give that a showing to everybody.”
March in 1913 in support of women’s right to vote. Photo featured in OHS exhibit, “Nevertheless, They Persisted.”
Additionally, the OHS has a variety of virtual programs that can be found on the OHS website that will still be available after the museum reopens.
According to Tymchuk, due to good financial planning and the Multnomah County levy, which provides the museum with funding, the OHS has not had to make any mass lay-offs or budget cuts. “We’ve been very fortunate,” he said.
Tymchuk encourages anyone interested in supporting the OHS to visit the museum after it reopens, to make a tax-deductible donation, or to become OHS members. “A membership in OHS is a great deal, and we encourage people to become members—that way they get all the material that we put out,” he said. He also provided this reminder: “Here in Portland, because of the Multnomah County levy, all Multnomah County residents have free admission [to the museum].”
“We’ve been actively fulfilling our mission during this time,” Tymchuk said, referring to the pandemic’s effect on the OHS. “We certainly live in a time where people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of history.”
OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk and Oregon Governor Kate Brown in June 2013.
Following re-opening, public museum and store hours will be Wednesdays – Saturdays from 10 am – 5 pm and Sundays from 12 pm – 5 pm. The OHS Research Library remains closed for renovations that began in January 2020. More information on library services that are available during the renovation can be found at ohs.org/libraryreno.
About the Oregon Historical Society:
For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.
Portland, OR. “That was incredible,” said Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon Nancy Haque, (pictured eighth from the left above in pre-covid days). She was reacting to a recent Supreme Court ruling. “People have been working for decades to get this kind of protection for the LGBTQ community, and to get that victory now, when we really needed a victory, felt really good.” Hague was weighing in about the June 15th Supreme Court ruling that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ members from employment discrimination. The ruling is widely considered a historic step towards equality for the LGBTQ community. She spoke at a virtual town hall on June 23rd. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Basic Rights Oregon has held weekly virtual queer town halls in an effort to build community and to share information with the LGBTQ and larger Oregon community.
The focus in the town halls is on current events and features statewide leaders and experts in a variety of fields. Previous discussions have focused on issues such as healthcare, housing, employment, and discrimination. After the discussion, panelists answer audience questions.
On Tuesday, June 23, five speakers, including Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosemblum and Unite Oregon representative Inger McDowell, discussed hate crimes and recent legislation that clarifies gender discrimination as a protected class.
“Thank you so much to BRO for hosting this event,” Rosenblum said, “This is a time for me to be listening and learning … We need to make sure that people of color and the LGBTQ community and the disabled community [are] at the table and that we are together—and that [elected officials] are the ones doing the listening.”
Since the pandemic began, many operations at BRO have changed. All workers and volunteers now work remotely, and events planned for the summer—such as BRO’s large annual fundraising event “Ignite”—are being adapted into virtual events. The weekly virtual town halls began in an effort to keep the community engaged with BRO’s work.
Over the past few months, BRO has done significant outreach to get important information to those in the LGBTQ community affected by the pandemic.
“Part of what’s happened with the pandemic is an economic disaster for many people,” said BRO Executive Director Nancy Haque. Haque emphasized that many in the LGBTQ community work in the hospitality industry and do not have a large financial cushion, and as a result are facing dire financial insecurity.
Nancy Haque, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon
“We shared info about how to apply for unemployment benefits and snap benefits,” Haque said, “We’ve also made an effort to try and respond to people’s needs and questions.”
Even though many of BRO’s events have been either canceled or adapted into virtual events because of the pandemic, Haque said that BRO has been given a lot of great support by new donors which the organization has never worked with before.
However, Haque emphasized that there’s still work to be done. “There’s a lot of things we have to do as a state and as a community to continue to help the LGBTQ community,” she said. “We would love your continued support, and your support for our virtual events.”
On top of the pandemic, BRO has also expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. “We also get to think and dream about what we can do and what we can build and how we can be part of the fight for racial justice,” Haque said, “We’ve had an organizational commitment to racial justice, but we need to keep it on the forefront of our work.”
Basic Rights Oregon will ensure that all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Oregonians experience equality by building a broad and inclusive politically powerful movement, shifting public opinion, and achieving policy victories.
Here’s a video about the organization:
About the Queer Town Hall:
In an effort to develop community and stay connected and informed during these trying times, Basic Rights Oregon has set up weekly Queer Town Hall on Tuesdays. Streaming live on YouTube, we’ll be speaking with a wide variety of experts on issues that matter most to you, including healthcare, housing, employment, discrimination, and more. It’s your chance to ask your questions and have your voice heard, so join in!
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