The Portland Development Commission awarded community livability grants totaling $300,000 to eight nonprofit organizations in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area. The grants will be used to enhance and expand capacity of existing community facilities and historic structures in the corridor area, including an affordable child care center, community centers, alternative educational opportunities, and an arts and cultural center.
The eight proposals awarded are:
June Key Delta Community Center, 5940 N. Albina Street;
Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N. Interstate Avenue;
Kenton Firehouse, 2209 N. Schofield;
Celebration Tabernacle, 8131 N. Denver Avenue;
Peninsula Children's Center, 4720 N. Maryland Avenue;
Open Meadow Middle School, 7602 N. Emerald;
Trillium Charter School, 5420 N. Interstate Avenue;
Albina Youth Opportunity School, 3710 N. Mississippi.
"It is often said that the foundation to learning is motivated students and strong instruction. What is not so frequently mentioned is that it also takes a clean, safe and dry facility," said Andrew Mason, Open Meadow's executive director. "We thank the PDC for recognizing and investing in the latter. We are quite pleased that our middle school will receive a new roof that will keep future generations of students dry while they learn."
This is the second year that PDC has awarded these grants using a competitive process. PDC announced the availability of funds in March 2007 and received 15 proposals. Grant monies for the program come from tax increment funds generated by the urban renewal area. In this way, urban renewal funds are reinvested back into the community to do good work. An evaluation committee of community residents and PDC staff reviewed the proposals and recommended the distribution of the funds.
"We are blessed with the faith you have in our organization, in the project design, and in our commitment to the community," said Chris Poole-Jones, project manager for the June Key Delta House Community Center. "This award ensures we can successfully create a green space that can be a pilot project to show what can be accomplished by small organizations, and with the help of good partners. Everyone is pulling together for us to be successful and we will succeed."
The evaluation committee reviewed and discussed the strengths of each proposal in supporting the ICURA Plan's goals and principles, specifically as they implement the Community Livability Implementation Strategy. Priority was given to projects that best meet one or more of the evaluation criteria that include meeting identified needs in the community, demonstrate public support, leverage other resources, preserve significant structures, and maintain, enhance or increase useable space in an existing (or new) community facility. For more detailed information on what each organization plans to do with the grant funds, please go to www.pdc.us/ura/interstate.
PDC expects to award Community Livability Grants in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area again in 2008. Questions about the program should be directed to Susan Kuhn, PDC, 503-823-3406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.