Guide Dogs for the Blind Hosts Virtual Holiday Celebration

Guide Dogs for the Blind Hosts Virtual Holiday Celebration

Portland, OR. Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) hosted a Virtual Holiday Celebration on December 6th. The event featured stories of GDB’s canine teams across the country. Through the event, $400,000 was raised for the non-profit. Supporters who missed the celebration can watch it online here. People can continue to donate for the event until December 16th and will be given an opportunity to name a GDB puppy.

Guide Dogs for the Blind celebrated its first virtual holiday celebration.

The Virtual Holiday Celebration was hosted by Liam Mayclem, an Emmy Award-winning radio and TV personality, along with Theresa Stern, GDB Vice President of Outreach, Admissions, and Alumni Services. Chris Benninger, president and CEO of GDB, gave updates on the nonprofit, along with the GDB ambassador dog, Thea. Zach Thibodeaux, a recent Guide Dogs for the Blind graduate, shared his story of receiving his first guide dog, Natura. There were some special appearances of the actor Noah Wyle and some GDB guide dogs, and a video starring canine teams across the U.S. was featured.

The Virtual Holiday Celebration was hosted by Emmy Award-winning radio and TV personality Liam Mayclem and Theresa Stern, GDB Vice President of Outreach, Admissions, and Alumni Services.

The virtual celebration had over 1500 attendees sign-on, and an additional 120 viewers signed on to the  Facebook Livestream. Guests joined from all over the States, and from Canada, England, India, and Italy. Donations were given from all around the world.

Behind the scenes of the virtual holiday celebration, with President and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind, Chris Benninger.

From Guide Dogs for the Blind:

Guide Dogs for the Blind is a guide dog school that trains highly qualified guide dogs to provide free services in order to empower visually impaired individuals. The organization has been serving people throughout the United States and Canada since 1942.

Guide Dogs for the Blind was the subject of an award-winning 2018 feature-length documentary called Pick of the Litter, which was developed into a television docu-series by the same name that had its debut in late 2019 on the streaming service Disney+.

Feral Cat Coalition Leads “Season’s Feedings” Holiday Cat Food Drive

Feral Cat Coalition Leads “Season’s Feedings” Holiday Cat Food Drive

Portland, OR. Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) has launched its annual Season’s Feedings Holiday Cat Food Drive. The food gathered during the drive goes to feral cat caregivers to help feed their feral cats and organizers say the need this year is greater than ever.

5,049 pounds of food were donated during the Season’s Feedings Cat Food Drive in 2019

This year the following local businesses are collecting between November 1st and December 31st. Supporters can also purchase food online to be shipped directly to FCCO.

Happy Tails – Milwaukie: 4370 SE King Rd, Ste. 250-260, Milwaukie. Offering 20% off all food purchased for donation!

Healthy Pet – Lake Oswego: 16140 Boones Ferry Rd, Lake Oswego

Healthy Pets NW – Multnomah Village: 3612 SW Troy St, Portland

ROAR: Due to Covid-19, ROAR has shifted to online-only, but is accepting food donations at their local pick-up site just off Alberta Street (request address) and cash donations toward food online.

*Sellwood Pet Supply: 8334 SE 17th Ave, Portland. *They are collecting cash donations toward food.

As a part of the Season’s Feedings cat food drive, the FCCO is offering free cat food through December and January to caregivers of feral cats that bring cats in to get spayed or neutered. FCCO offers a program to safely spay and neuter stray, feral, and barn cats at no cost or for a suggested donation of $40, and at a small price for pet cats. At the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, services are unavailable for pet cats for safety reasons, and appointments must be made to get cats spayed and neutered. All surgeries are done by licensed veterinarians at the FCCO’s South Portland clinic. Along with offering to spay and neuter cats, the organization also offers vaccinations, flea and ear mite treatment, and an eat-tip. FCCO also has a program called Kitten Caboose that works on finding kittens brought in homes to be adopted into.

Just a fraction of the food generously donated by Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon’s community.

This year the organization celebrated 25 years since its inception in 1995, and has spayed and neutered over 100,000 cats since then. Through the Kitten Caboose program, more than 1000 kittens have found homes.

From FCCO:

“Every cat deserves a little holiday gift this year, especially the outdoor feral and stray cats lucky enough to have someone looking after them. Many local businesses are participating in collecting food and generous individuals are purchasing food and donating directly to us.”

Willamette Falls Trust Continues to Engage Community

Willamette Falls Trust Continues to Engage Community

Portland, OR. Willamette Falls Trust is working to engage community members by keeping them up to date about what’s going on with the project. One way is to offer a Virtual Tour of the Falls.

The Willamette Fall Trust is working to create a place where people can fully experience the beauty of the continents’ second most powerful waterfall, Willamette Falls, up close. The group plans to achieve this by creating a Riverwalk, which will give the public access to the intricacies of the river and waterfall. A few of the plans are to add a series of winding promenades and lofting pathways along the Willamette River to give people a great experience with the river and an intimate view of the Falls. The goal is to add an overlook at the precipice of the Falls and connect the Falls to downtown Oregon City. Designs for phase one of the Riverwalk are in the final stages and they are getting ready to start construction.

Willamette Falls Trust wants to make the Riverwalk into a place to tell stories of the communities that intersect at the Falls and the histories of the place.

Willamette Falls Trust has shared renderings of plans for what the future Riverwalk will look like.

Willamette Falls Trust is not currently adding volunteers because of pandemic guidelines, but the nonprofit hopes to soon. You can sign up here to stay updated on volunteer possibilities in the future.

The current plans for the Willamette Falls Riverwalk include repurposing one of the former mill buildings into a three-story structure which will provide visitors with an overlook of the falls and Willamette River, restored habitat and gathering spaces as well as the historic and cultural interpretation of the site.

From Laura Lundborg, a volunteer at Willamette Falls Trust:

“I was born and raised near Willamette Falls. I remember as a child, when we’d drive by and catch a glimpse of the Falls—and how extraordinary it was. As an adult, I feel that same awe. I will often pull over to the outlook on a sunny day to take in the view. It’s amazing how quickly looking over such beauty calms me and makes me feel at home.

My hope is that the Riverwalk will create that same sense of belonging for others, whether they live here or are just visiting. It’s what made me want to volunteer. Because this project is so much more than constructing buildings and walkways to view the largest waterfall in the Northwest. It is about celebrating people—past and present—who have built their lives around the Falls. It’s about safeguarding and sharing a beautiful landmark and habitat in a meaningful way.

 I chose to volunteer because listening to and honoring the many histories and lifeways found at the Falls feels important to me. And I want to be part of bringing people together for the betterment of our community and environment. 

 My experience volunteering with Willamette Falls Trust has been meaningful in many ways. I immediately felt a kinship with the staff, and I appreciate how welcoming they are. My volunteer work is often behind the scenes, yet I still feel a connection with the community. It’s allowed me to contribute as many hours as I can to a project that protects and restores the beauty and environment of the Falls and creates a space to share our stories for many generations to come. 

 Being part of reimagining this spectacular place is meaningful beyond words.”

Willamette Falls Trust is the nonprofit organization raising funds and engaging the community to realize the collective vision for a spectacular Riverwalk at the Falls. This vision includes an overlook at the precipice of the Falls, a connection to Oregon City’s downtown, and opportunities to learn more about the significance of Willamette Falls since time immemorial.

As we curate this collective vision for Willamette Falls, we partner closely with the Willamette Falls Legacy Project—the public-sector collaboration that is managing Riverwalk construction—and our other partners, including:

  • Confederated Tribes and Bands of The Yakama Nation

  • Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde

  • Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

  • Confederated Tribes of The Umatilla Indian Reservations

  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs

  • Downtown Oregon City Association

  • Portland General Electric

  • Rivers of Life

  • Travel Oregon/Mt Hood Territory

  • West Linn Paper

  • We Love Clean Rivers

  • Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation

  • Willamette Falls and Landings Heritage Area Coalition

  • Willamette Riverkeeper

Northwest Film Center Launches New Platform

Northwest Film Center Launches New Platform

Portland, OR. Northwest Film Center is launching a platform called Co:Laboratory. It offers both online and in-person opportunities for people who want to keep their connection to the art world. With Co:Laboratory, art lovers can engage with others by exchanging ideas with an eye toward innovation, and creativity. Co:Laboratory offers a range of opportunities, from free classes and workshops to high-level programming for professionals. The goal is to give everyone an opportunity to expand their skill set.

One of the classes coming up in Co:Laboratory, is a stop motion animation class for students ages 9-14 years old.

Another workshop offered is called Inclusivity and Your Script, offered November 18-21, which will explore approaches to creating diverse characters in film and TV.

Portland Art Museum and NW Film Center have also made a space to access tons of different types of art–from writing to film to paintings and much more– at PAM + NWFC at home. Many nonprofits around Portland have been working hard to transition to online so that the Portland community can continue to access the arts, which is a gift for many during this time.

From NWFC:

Expansive in genre, mediums, and ideas, the NWFC’s Co:Laboratory is one grand experiment. Continuously offering online and IRL connection to people, ideas, and innovations in the media arts that help artists and art lovers sustain their curiosity and what is creatively possible, the Co:Laboratory exists to uniquely inspire new projects, new skills, and new ways of seeing. In the spirit of all creative endeavors, it will be designed to be an ever-evolving, community-driven, ongoing work-in-progress.

Write Around Portland Amplifying Voices of the Community

Write Around Portland Amplifying Voices of the Community

Portland, OR. Write Around Portland virtually hosted its annual event Raise Your Pen, on October 8th. The event was emceed by Slam Poet and Write Around Portland board member Marisol Tawadros and personal work was shared by five Write Around Portland writers. Through the event, Write Around Portland was able to raise over $45,000 which is earmarked for the nonprofit’s work in the community. The night was spent writing and acknowledging the importance and the power of writing.

During the pandemic, Write Around Portland has transitioned all of its workshops, programming, and operations to be done remotely. Among the services that the organization offers is a bi-weekly online writing workshop and a bi-monthly BIPOC online writing workshop specifically for people who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The organization is also partnering with agencies to offer mail-based and remote writing workshops for people who are experiencing isolation and barriers to accessing services.

From Elizebett Eslinger, the Executive Director of Write Around Portland:

“Writing is essential. With a public health crisis and systemic racial inequities especially exposed, the need for writing and connection takes on a new fullness. At Write Around Portland, we are amplifying the stories and voices we need to hear, caring for our community, and continuing our work to build a more respectful and just world through the power of writing. 

We continue our racial equity and anti-racist work, including expanding our own learning; challenging and working to dismantle inequitable structures within our organization and the broader sector; and sharing ways our Write Around community can get involved with the Movement for Black Lives, engage in anti-racist learning and work, and support BIPOC-led organizations.”

Write Around Portland has taken this time to implement remote adaptations for a safe community in the organization. The changes of this year have given the space to encourage the staff to take more time off while they work on contingency plans for returning to in-person when it is safe and responsible to do so.

From Write Around Portland:

We hold free writing workshops for adults and youth in hospitals, schools, treatment centers, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, low-income housing residences and other social service agencies. To ensure everyone has access to writing in community, we provide journals, pens, bus tickets, childcare and snacks for participants in these workshops.