Portland, OR. For over 100 years, Toy and Joy Makers has promoted the spirit of helping children and their families during the holiday season. Last year the organization provided toys to 7,529 children. The annual toy drive was founded by the Portland Fire & Rescue in 1914 to help local families in need around the holidays. It’s run by volunteers, and last year 6,150 volunteers helped out.
Toy & Joy Makers depends on donations of toys and cash for supplemental toy purchases. The organization also relies on volunteers to help with toy distribution during the holiday season and with storage at its distribution center during the rest of the year.
Toy donations can be dropped off at the following locations:
• Any Portland fire station
• Portland Toy & Joy Makers office in NE Portland (Please call ahead to arrange for pickup or to drop off – 503-823-0922)
Volunteers help sort donations.
When called upon, volunteers from Toy and Joy Makers are also able to help families throughout the year.
“Toy & Joy Makers” mission for over 100 years has been to promote the spirit of helping children and their families in our community during the holiday season. When called upon, we are also able to help families throughout the year. This mission manifests itself by providing qualified families in need with appropriate gifts for their children. These efforts bring joy to both givers and receivers during the season and throughout the year.
“Toy & Joy Makers” celebrates 107 years and counting of helping children.
“Please Continue To Help Make A Christmas Wish Come True For Some Girl or Boy”
Our primary service – Portland Toy & Joy Makers helps the needs of low-income families in the Portland area to give their children toys for Christmas. (We follow federal income guidelines.)
Our current program involves getting ready to set-up our distribution center. We are also setting up programs for our show and tell events. Board members are meeting with businesses who we feel can help us with donations of money, supplies, inventory, PR and building location.
Program Goals:* To provide leadership that encourages community Toy & Joy Makers partnerships that result in helping children and their families.
* To strive to ensure that no child should go without receiving gifts for Christmas.
* To reduce a child’s tragedy of losing their toys due to fire, flood, earthquake and other natural or man made disasters.
* To manage the resources and provide the support necessary to accomplish our mission.
* Our timeline, of course, is the Holiday Season. We do not want to cut our program. Without additional financing that is our only choice.
Our history – Portland Fire & Rescue’s Toy & Joy Makers started giving toys to needy children in 1914. [more…]
In past years, we have accomplished our targets with the help of the continued budget we request. When we find our program running short of toys, we have gone to the television and radio stations and made our plea to the public and to businesses. Buying toys at Christmas time is costly and limited. So far, each year we have reached our target number of children.
The present & future – The Board of Directors is responsible to make our program work. We have been adjusting to many changes and now we must look to more outside help.
This project will allow us to continue our program and to look at additional ways to bring in more community participation. To show the city and its leaders that this is a long established community program that is worthwhile and a valuable PR program for the City of Portland.
Duplication prevention – We work with other agencies in our area to check for duplication of clients. We all feel we have a good handle on this. We do not share equipment or facilities with other agencies. Our program is the largest in the State of Oregon and has a long respected history in working with state and local agencies.
Community outreach – We have been working in our neighborhoods since 1914. Our role in the community involves working with schools and the teachers to find and assist families in need and working with schools to teach children about giving and helping their community. We work with businesses to show them how they can get involved helping with toy collection or donation programs. During our main season, we contact and work with state and local agencies that assist low-income families. This is one way we prevent duplication of giving.
Our great volunteers – Commitment of volunteers and staff involves many long hours during the peak season. We have 20 to 25 volunteers each day helping at our headquarters (during December). Staff members are also there every day. We all believe in this worthwhile program and will continue to support it through good and bad times.
Portland, OR. The Oregon Zoo bid a sad farewell in mid-September to Mochica, elder statesman of the Humboldt penguin colony and a distinguished seabird ambassador for more than three decades. At 31 years old, he was one of the oldest — and best-loved — penguins on the planet.
“Mochica was the oldest male of his species in any North American zoo or aquarium, maybe the whole world,” said Travis Koons, who oversees the zoo’s bird populations. “His remarkable longevity says a lot about both his zest for life and the quality of care he received over the years.”
Mochica hatched July 6, 1990, at the Oregon Zoo and was hand-reared, a standard practice at the time. But Mo, as he was known for short, grew up different from the other chicks. More than any penguin in the zoo’s large Humboldt colony, he enjoyed spending time with people, often choosing keepers’ quarters over the company of his fellow birds in the Penguinarium.
Here’s a video about the special penguin:
“It was pretty common to walk into the keeper kitchen area and find Mo ‘helping’ with the food prep or just hanging out with care staff there,” Koons said.
Mo was equally fond of visitors to the penguin area, who would meet him on behind-the-scenes tours. Eventually, Koons said, he became the zoo’s “greatest ambassador,” personally greeting thousands — perhaps tens of thousands — of visitors, and helping to raise awareness about a species in decline. It was a role he seemed to relish. As one former keeper put it, “Mochica rarely met an arm he didn’t love to groom.”
Wild Humboldt penguins seldom live past 20, and Mochica, who turned 31 in July, had been slowing down for several years. Over the past couple of years, animal-care staff had been monitoring him closely and treating a variety of age-related ailments.
“He had a mature cataract in one eye, old-age haze in the other, bilateral arthritis in his hips,” Koons said. “He was just a very old bird. It was hard for him to see, and at times difficult for him to walk.”
Koons praised the efforts of care staff, who did everything they could to ease the elderly penguin’s discomfort, sneaking a daily dose of meloxicam into his sustainable-seafood breakfast and scheduling regular laser-therapy sessions with specialists from Kenton Animal Hospital. Eventually, though, Mo’s conditions deteriorated, and on Saturday veterinary and care staff made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him.
“It’s an incredibly sad day for his care team and for everyone who spent time with this amazing bird,” Koons said. “We’ve all had times in our lives where animals have left an indelible mark on our hearts. Mochica has done that for thousands of people. He inspired generations.”
Koons hopes Mochica’s legacy will be continued conservation, particularly for Humboldts, which among the most at-risk of penguin species with a population estimated at just 12,000 breeding pairs.
“Humboldt penguins live in a region that’s greatly affected by human activity,” he said. “They need healthy ocean habitats to thrive, and we can help make a difference — even in simple ways like downloading the Seafood Watch app and choosing sustainable seafood.”
Native to the South American coastline off Peru and Chile, Humboldt penguins are classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. They are threatened by overfishing of their prey species, entanglement in fishing nets, and breeding disruption due to commercial removal of the guano deposits where the birds lay their eggs.
The Oregon Zoo has supported Peru-based conservation organization ACOREMA’s work to protect the Humboldt penguin. ACOREMA monitors penguin mortality and works closely with San Andrés fishermen to mitigate the practice of hunting penguins for food. The group also trains volunteer rangers, reaching out to 3,000 students, teachers and Pisco-area residents a year to raise awareness about penguin conservation.
The 64-acre Oregon Zoo is located in Portland, a city and surrounding metropolitan area of 2.26 million people. Annual attendance is more than 1.5 million, making the zoo the top paid attraction in the Pacific Northwest.
The Oregon Zoo Foundation, the zoo’s philanthropic partner, plays an integral role in supporting the zoo’s animal welfare, conservation and education programs. Since its inception in 1997, the foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has rasied more than $84 million for the zoo’s top priorities.
Portland, OR. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the Autism Society of Oregon (ASO) to shift towards a virtual walk fundraiser rather than their standard in-person event. This year the organization is back in full swing for its annual Autism Walk fundraiser at Oaks Park in SE Portland on August 15th. The event will include a wide variety of fun activities for individuals with autism and their supporters.
ASO says the event will be “a family-friendly, autism-friendly community event celebrating the people we love on the autism spectrum.” Some of these activities include the half-mile walk that gives the event its namesake, a photo booth, a water display courtesy of Portland Fire and Rescue, and sewing/needlecrafts with PDX Stitch. Additionally, the nonprofit has partnered with several local groups and organizations such as Cosplay Characters for Kindness and Portland Ghostbusters who dress up as fictional characters and attend charity events for photos and to make attendees smile. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 concerns, the event will not include face painting as it normally would in a non-pandemic year. Those interested in attending the Autism Walk can register for the event to help raise funds for it here.
A group of people dresses as Star Wars characters hold the ASO banner at a previous event.
All funds raised for the Autism Walk will go towards ASO’s various programs and resources designed to support people on the autism spectrum. ASO aims to maximize the quality of life of Oregonians on the autism spectrum, guiding them towards self-determination and working to end societal stigmas against autism. Money raised at this event will be used to create further educational materials on what autism is, and resources for those on the spectrum and their families such as a sensory booklet and cookbook which can be downloaded off the organization’s website. In addition to informational resources, funding for ASO will also go towards the organization’s initiatives to directly support those affected by autism and their families, including the “take a break” and “take a breather” programs which put vouchers or tickets for activities or monetary funds into the hands of autistic Oregonians and their caregivers.
In addition to these programs, ASO also hosts workshops, classes, and webinars to educate Oregon about autism and how to approach it. Further, the organization has supplied its supporters with a directory of support groups for those with autism as well as a comprehensive list of scholarships and financial aid for autistic individuals to apply to. All of these helpful and informative resources can be supported by registering for the Autism Walk fundraiser this Sunday, the 15th from 9:00 AM- 12:00 PM. Registering for the event will also make those interested in attending eligible for a discount coupon on ride bracelets at Oaks Park, to be used at noon once the rides open. Ride bracelets for the event at Oaks Amusement Park can be purchased here.
A large crowd in attendance at a previous Autism Walk event hosted by ASO. The organization expects lower attendance in 2021 than in previous years due to COVID-19 concerns.
For other ways to support ASO’s mission, the organization has have a donation page on its website. If readers would like to attend other upcoming events hosted or sponsored by the organization, all upcoming events can be found within the Autism Society of Oregon’s event calendar.
Portland, OR. Volunteers in Portland’s Forest Park are working to remove invasive species and reduce the possibility that a wildfire could spread quickly. The work also improves the forest ecology’s overall health. The risk of fire is higher this summer because of the hotter and drier weather City leaders have banned homeless people from camping in forested parks to both protect them from potential wildfires and prevent them from accidentally starting blazes during a summer of drought and record-breaking heat. At 5,200 acres, Portland’s Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the United States. The nonprofit that stewards Forest Park is announcing three events within the park, allowing visitors to safely engage with the park in new ways.
Forest Park stretches more than seven miles of Northwest Portland along the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains. The park is open every day of the year from 5am until 10pm.
The first of these events is “80 for 80,” which challenges the visitors of Forest Park to cover 80 miles of its trails before the deadline of August 20th. To participate, park-goers can download the Momento app to record miles and begin their adventures through the largest forested park in the united states— whether it be running, hiking, biking, or any preferred recreational method. According to Kady Davis, the Director of Communications and Corporate Partnerships, the ultimate goal of the Summer Adventure Series is to “engage with folks already recreating in park, build community, and bring people into FPCC community” to raise awareness for the work the organization does. Davis hopes that the events will inspire park attendees to “care more about Forest Park,” as “the more people who use, steward, and care for forest park, the healthier it will be for future generations to enjoy.”
In addition to challenging parkgoers to cover 80 miles of trail, 80 for 80 also intends to share the mission of Love Is King, a nonprofit whose mission Davis describes as “ensuring that people of all different colors, and values can feel safe in nature,” specifically targeting and encouraging the need of “freedom to roam safely” for BIPOC communities.
The other events of the Summer Adventure Series include a parkwide scavenger hunt which began July 9th and ends September 3rd, and a photography contest, which began on August 1st. Up until the end of the event on September 1st, photos of Forest Park’s gorgeous landscape can be submitted to FPC for entry in competition for a $500 prize package. These events all directly support forest park by signing up participants for the FPC newsletter and social media postings, raising awareness for what can be done to preserve Forest Park. Davis mentions that this spreads valuable information and educational resources, which promote visitors of the park to “learn more about what FPC is up to in their active stewardship work.”
Woman running on Forest Park’s Wildwood Trail. Photograph by Steven Mortinson.
Davis expressed that the largest and most significant undertaking in the organization’s current efforts to ensure the preservation of Forest Parks beauty is the Green Jobs Training & Internship Program. Started in 2020, the 12-month program intends to “train and recruit youth from BIPOC communities to get professional and personal development support to build a career in the conservation sector.” The program introduces FPC interns to a wide variety of green job experiences, seeking to “build out Oregon’s environmental workforce” through exposure to the diverse array of possibilities included under the umbrella of green jobs. As of Sunday, August 1st, FPC’s four current interns in the Green Jobs Training & Internship Program were taken on a trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with Love is King as part of the program’s exploratory approach to learning about careers involved with protecting the environment.
One primary concern of the park this time of the year, as the effects of climate change continue to impact Oregon, is wildfire management. Davis remarked that “because of invasive species, prolonged drought conditions, and the steep slope” that the park rests on, Forest Park is highly conducive to the hazard of wildfires. To combat this threat, the FPC has released informational materials on how to keep the forest safe from fire, and has deployed programs to remove “flammable fuels and non-native species to protect the health of the forest.”
In an exciting development for FPC, the organization will receive additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through a donation to the city of Portland, specifically going towards wildfire prevention in Forest Park. “The funding will go towards “outreach and communications with neighborhoods adjacent to Forest Park,” Davis states, adding that “Many homes and businesses directly next to Forest Park harbor invasive species” which increase the park’s proneness to wildfires. The collaboration between FPC and the park’s neighbors to remove such species and raise awareness is crucial, as it not only reduces the chance of a destructive fire, but it prepares those nearby with a plan if one were to occur.
Those who wish to support Forest Park can contribute to FPC’s preservation efforts in multiple ways. The organization can be donated to online, or fans of the forest can volunteer to participate in park maintenance and its trail program. Signing up for The Summer Adventure series is another way the park’s visitors can engage with Portland’s largest outdoor recreation area. Davis made sure to note that ultimately, the goal of the event series is to “ to have fun, enjoy forest park, hopefully make some friends” and gain a greater appreciation for Forest Park’s beauty, as well as awareness of the FPC’s conversation work and what can be done to protect the city’s own lush forest for future adventurers.
Portland, OR. The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon (FCCO) is holding its ninth-annual “Catio” Tour in September. “Catio” is a portmanteau of “cat” and “patio,” which describes outdoor enclosures for pet cats to climb and play in safely, without risk of the animal escaping. To adjust to pandemic restrictions, FCCO has converted the tour to include both in-person observation and virtual self-guided tours of this year’s selections around the Portland metro area.
Catios come in all shapes and sizes, often containing ramps to climb, perches to rest on, and toys to play with. Following a year when many spent extensive time at home working on DIY projects, the trend of creating safe outdoor spaces for cat recreation has increased in popularity.
After many submissions, the nonprofit has selected all Portland-based catios to showcase. Registration for the event is now open here, for all interested in watching cats explore innovative constructions designed for their leisure. The 2021 Catio Tour event will take place on September 11th, 2021. The in-person self-guided tour is $10 and virtual tour access is $15.
The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon has already announced that the event will be happening in 2022, and invites all catio creators to prepare for application. The FCCO has posted additional information online detailing what catios are and can be, as well as a list of resources for Portland residents interested in having their own catio. The list includes Portland-area construction businesses that design and build catios, as well as information and instructions for those who wish to build their catios independently, from scratch.
The 2021 Catio Tour event comes as part of a partnership with Portland Audobon society, as part of their Cats Safe At Home campaign, which aims to “reduce the number of cats living outdoors in the Portland metropolitan area in a humane and environmentally responsible manner.” Catios can assist with this initiative by providing outdoor time to pet cats, while ensuring safety from outdoor hazards, protecting wildlife from cat predation, and preventing cats from running away from their owners.
From The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon:
The Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon is a Portland-based nonprofit that offers spay and neuter services to Oregon and SW Washington. Their services are free for feral, stray, and barn cats, but unfortunately due to the pandemic, The FCCO is unable to offer cheap services to pet cats as they usually would. In addition to spay/neuter services, the organization also coordinates a “kitten caboose” program which has successfully relocated over 1,300 feral kittens into adopted homes. You can support the Feral Cat Coalition in its mission of housing cats, and keeping them safely off the streets on its website.
Portland, OR. As Oregon reopens, one activity Oregonians are eagerly anticipating is the return of concerts and live music. The Portland nonprofit, Friends of Noise is a local organization making a return of live music possible, and accessible for anybody who wants to get involved. It provides sound equipment to performers, hosting free age-inclusive shows, and helping creative youth navigate the local music scene. Now starting its summer 2021 season, the nonprofit has a fresh slate of performances and events to bring the joy of communal music experiences back to Portland youth, including a dance battle, hip hop cypher performance, and multiple outdoor concert events for youth artists.
Friends of Noise provides programs, workshops, and other professional development opportunities for teens and young adults to gain experience with sound equipment, and performing so they are more prepared to navigate the music industry.
An integral core foundation to Friends of Noise is the belief that getting young performers and audience members involved in music is essential to the growth of the local and global music community.
The nonprofit offers a variety of services to support Portland’s musically-oriented youth, including professional development workshops providing skills for involvement in the music industry, paid opportunities for youth musicians to perform, and offering sound equipment services for independent, youth-organized concerts, teaching those interested how to operate such equipment and offering youth paid opportunities for work with sound technology. According to Friends of Noise executive director André Middleton, the nonprofit’s mission is to “facilitate healing and growth in the community” for Portland youth artists, with a focus on BIPOC individuals.
Middleton admits that the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for Friends Of Noise, with the nonprofit completely halting operations like most other businesses at its start. However, the organization still found ways to utilize its services mid-pandemic to further its commitment to justice by providing sound equipment to local Black Lives Matter protests and marches to “lift up the voices of the unheard.” Friends of Noise even helped host a BLM protest event on labor day 2020 in Portland’s Cathedral Park, providing and setting up sound equipment for speakers.
Middleton says that his organization’s greatest challenge of the pandemic has been the recruitment of new youth performers and sound technicians to work with, stating that reconnecting with the musical youth of Portland is the current “highest priority” for Friends of Noise. Thankfully, they were still able to support independent young musicians of Portland through the pandemic by recording isolated performances in various Portland music venues from a wide range of talented youth, editing them, and uploading these performances to the Friends of Noise Youtube channel as part of their “Friends of Noise TV” series.
Here’s a video from ‘Friends of Noise TV’:
Behind the scenes photo depicting the filming of a live performance by Arietta Ward/”Mz. Etta” at Jack London Revue for the Friends of Noise TV YouTube concert series.
Middleton says what he was most excited for about the return of live music, but for Friends of Noise, concerts have been back for a while as they have done sound equipment for and hosted a series of concerts for youth artists in parks around Portland, following COVID safety procedures such that youth could still gather, connecting to both music and one another, safely. He is most eagerly anticipating the Friends of Noise Summer Jam being held for free at Oregon Contemporary on July 11th from 6-10pm, where the organization will be hosting a variety of talented young performers. Middleton also noted that he is currently working with a youth graphic designer in a paid opportunity to create a poster for the event, highlighting his organization’s commitment to uplifting creative youth and getting them involved in as many ways as possible.
Middleton hopes support for Friends of Noise will take off this summer in comparison to last year, as the organization has its eyes set on a large, yet important project— the creation of a free, youth-led, all-ages, all-inclusive space for performances, music, workshops. and creativity as part of public housing in Northeast Portland. He expressed disappointment in the fact that Portland currently has no all-ages, youth-inclusive concert spaces, and hopes to change that by saving the organization’s funds and donations to establish the community center.
More information about Friends of Noise can be found at the nonprofit’s website, friendsofnoise.org. Here, supporters of FON’s mission can find times and locations for all of the organization’s upcoming events mentioned in this article and many more. Further, readers can donate funds through the website via posted PayPal, Venmo, and Cashapp to help make André Middleton’s dream of an youth led and focused, all-inclusive community concert center a reality— one which places the importance of creative expression above alcohol sales.
Portland, OR. Portland had its hottest day ever recorded – reaching 108F (42.2C) on Saturday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. (The previous record was 107F, a mark hit in 1965 and 1981.
Leading up to the weekend of 6/25-6/27 and Monday 6/28, Multnomah County announced an “excessive heat warning,” anticipating temperatures reaching above 110 degrees.
Multnomah County opened three cooling centers in the Portland metropolitan area, which will be open for 24 hours throughout the duration of the heat warning period and will accept anyone inside who needs to cool off and escape the scorching temperatures.
The Arbor Lodge Shelter was purchased in 2020 to be used as shelter during extreme weather events, offering community, services, and safety to homeless Portlanders. More information about the shelter can be located here.
Exterior of Arbor Lodge Shelter
The Sunrise Center is a community center located in the Rockwood neighborhood of Gresham that— outside of use as an extreme weather shelter— offers rental event space, a community kitchen, and workspaces. More information about the Sunrise Center can be found here, or by contacting them at (503) 847-9163.
In addition to 24-hour cooling centers, Multnomah county library branches will be open for those seeking air-conditioned respite from noon to 8 PM. Their locations can be found below:
According to A Home For Everyone, a Portland nonprofit dedicated to supporting and housing solutions for the city’s homeless population, their JOHS supply center located at 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd #600, Portland, OR 97214 will be open on Saturday and Sunday between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM to distribute water and protective equipment to those in need.
Further, resources on the Multnomah County website offer a number of strategies for staying cool during the intense heatwave. Several recommendations include staying far more hydrated than one usually would be, avoiding alcoholic beverages, using fans for air circulation, and taking a cool shower or bath. For outdoor activity, high SPF sunscreen, hats, and staying in shade are advised, as well as a general notice to keep outdoor activity to morning and evening hours if possible.
County officials are particularly concerned for residents of high-rise apartment buildings lacking air conditioning, encouraging those in such circumstances to make a plan. During such weather events, it is important that Portland residents take care of each themselves and each other, whether that be checking in on the health of elderly neighbors, or inviting friends who may be at risk to air-conditioned indoor activities or swimming spots (a map of which can be found here.)
Just as it is crucial to look out for other humans, it is essential to watch over pets and animal friends. Multnomah County has released a guide to keeping pets safe during the heatwave here, including tips to keep them in cool indoor places, constantly hydrated with cold water, signs of heatstroke, and more.
Two dogs rest in shelter from extreme weather and wildfire smoke at an Oregon Red Cross shelter during September 2020.
Data from Meteorologist Ryan Maue that he posted to twitter indicates that the climate phenomenon Oregon is undergoing to experience such unseasonably high temperatures is that of a “heat dome.” The National Ocean Service (NOAA) characterizes a “heat dome” as a bubble of hot oceanic air trapped under the atmosphere like a lid, causing temperatures of the air to rise towards dangerous temperatures over the region it is trapped above. Thankfully, it is currently estimated that temperatures in the Portland area will decrease from the triple digits after Monday June 28th.
Portland, OR. Friends of Trees is an Oregon-based organization that plants trees around the Portland-metro area, Salem, and other parts of the state. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers have had to shift how they work to make sure it’s safe for everyone. Pivots include only carpooling with people in the same household and wearing masks during an entire volunteer entire.
Photo courtesy to FriendsOfTrees Instagram.
Organizers also request no more than 25 people per shift in the Portland area while in places like Eugene, a crew can include up to 50 people. Currently, Friends of Trees requires volunteers to sign up on its website and sign the waiver online instead of in person.
To best stay in touch with Friends of Trees, follow the nonprofit’s social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages at friendsoftrees.
Here’s a list of Frequently Asked Questions from Friends of Trees:
What should I bring to a planting? What about my group? Can you verify my hours? And more!
Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Friends of Trees! Friends of Trees strives to make your experience safe, fun, and fulfilling. Below are common volunteer questions as well as detailed information on safety measures we are taking during this era of Covid-19. Click on the question to view the answer. Thank you for considering volunteering with Friends of Trees!
Contact Friends of Trees Volunteer & Outreach Staff
Hmm…don’t see your question? No worries–we are still here to help you! You can reach Jenny Bedell-Stiles, Pablo Brito, and Carey Aroonsuck in the Volunteer & Outreach Program at [email protected] or call our volunteer hotline: 503-595-0213. We’re here to help make your volunteer experience a good one!
Portland, OR. As mutual aid organizations all over Portland have arisen in response to the Black Lives Matter protests, nationwide police brutality, and the growing awareness of social justice activism, Brown Hope has taken strides in mutual aid efforts for Portland BIPOC. Founded in 2018, by Cameron Whitten, (seen above) with their mission directly informed by the needs of “Black, Brown, and Indigenous Portlanders” through trauma-informed activism, this completely volunteer-led organization is working within the community to make improvements for those historically marginalized communities in our city.
Co-founder of the Black Resilience Fund, Salomé Chimuku, speaking with an attendee of a July event where volunteers conducted in-person intakes and distributed funds to Black Portlanders in need. (Photo, Courtney Sherwood/OPB)
One of Brown Hope’s biggest achievements comes from their Black Resilience Fund program. Launched in the summer of 2020 with the goal of providing an immediate emergency funding resource for Black Portlanders, they successfully raised over $1 million in direct donations from 11,000 Portlanders in the short time frame of a single month. These funds are allocated as direct relief for BIPOC Portlanders, an admirable goal considering the financial hardship and trauma sprouting from this last year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its launch last summer (8 months ago as of this article), their website donations tracker now sits just shy of $2.25 million.
As an intentionally multifaceted organization to deal with a multifaceted and complex community, Brown Hope has founded multiple other initiatives to build up our community. Power Hour is a weekly community discussion meeting in which participants can receive food, drink, and most notably, direct cash reparations of $25 (an interesting aspect of Brown Hope’s mission considering the rarity of active reparations). Featuring a 45-minute discussion based around local community happenings, news, and needs, they encourage white folks to come and participate and/or donate their time. Another is Brown Hope’s Black Street Bakery which provides work opportunities for Black Portlanders while offering the community delicious baked goods.
Brown Hope understands that community building requires mutual aid and a multifaceted outlook on what our community needs are. Further, they know that the only way to go about enacting real change is by offering an ear to the community you’re working within. Brown Hope is a “healing initiative” first and foremost. They understand that justice is a collective experience that requires all of us to put our best foot forward.
Our Mission Brown Hope is a community solution for racial justice, creating connection with Black, Brown, and Indigenous leaders through the heart, mind, and voice to inspire our collective healing.
Our Vision We envision a future where the truth about this nation’s long history of injustice is self-evident. We envision the survivors of this injustice taking the lead on change. We envision love as a lived, and collective, experience.
Organizational Values Truth Seeking Love Creating Always Resilient
Portland, OR. After four years of planning, Albertina Kerr is beginning construction on 150 low-cost housing units on the Gresham campus for Kerr caregivers and improved client care. (Above is an architectural drawings.) On February 17th, the organization had a virtual groundbreaking.
Once completed, this project will be one of the first and largest net-zero affordable housing projects in the Pacific Northwest producing enough energy to operate the entire building fully.
Albertina Kerr has been caring for Oregon’s vulnerable citizens since 1907, with services that have evolved over the years to meet community needs. Kerr offers short-term psychiatric care and community-based outpatient mental health services for children and teens. This also includes 24-hour residential group homes for children and adults experiencing an intellectual and/or developmental disability (I/DD).
In the virtual groundbreaking, guests were introduced to several community leaders who have been a part of getting the project off the ground. Joining the live stream to discuss the project were:
Ken Thraser, Albertina Kerr Emeritus Board Member, also spoke in the live stream about what this project could look like for other organizations as well, “This is kind of going to have a ripple effect. Not just for Kerr, but for the community, for other non-profits, for other organizations that will look at workforce housing as a strategy that they too could do.”
Albertina Kerr unveiled its Workforce & Inclusive Housing Project during a virtual groundbreaking, which can be viewed in the live steam video below.
During the live stream event, Albertina Kerr’s CEO, Jeff Carr, shared stories about the affordable housing project targeting low-wage human services workers and adults experiencing I/DD.
As Carr shared in the live stream, the idea for the Workforce & Inclusive Housing Project came to him after speaking with one of his managers in 2016. Carr learned that one of the direct care employees lived in a tent with her five children in Washington County. He also learned that some other employees were sleeping in their cars or couch surfing.
He immediately relocated the direct care employee and her five children to a hotel as he took time to think about this issue. After 48 hours, the idea came to him during an early morning run where later that day, he told his assistant that they were going to build housing for workers.
“Those who care for the most vulnerable in our community are the backbone of our social safety net. If they become as vulnerable as the people, they care for due to housing instability, our entire community is at risk,” said Carr.
Chief Program Officer, Derrick Perry, also spoke in the live stream about the project, “I’m just really happy to be aligned with an organization that cares so much about the people we support and our workforce, to where we’re launching this huge project.”
One aspect of the universally accessible units will be hydraulic upper cabinets as well as pull-out cooktops.
When completed in the spring of 2022, one hundred and twenty units of studio, 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments will promote greater workforce stability for low-wage caregivers (Kerr employees and others).
Throughout the complex will be an additional 30 universally accessible units for adults experiencing I/DD. These individuals face a shortage of quality, affordable, accessible housing and often earn 30% or less than the average median income.
Solar panels will be placed on the apartment complexes to produce renewable energy, adding another layer of affordability where residents won’t pay for utilities, including high-speed internet access. Once built and occupied, one full year of collecting energy usage data will be completed and certified.
From Albertina Kerr’s website: MISSION: Kerr empowers people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, and other social barriers to lead self-determined lives and reach their full potential. VISION: All people thrive in nurturing and inclusive communities. VALUES: The values of our expert caregivers remain constant: compassion, commitment, collaboration, and advocacy.
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