08-11-2020  3:09 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Portlanders Struggle to be Heard Amid Protests

The Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing Steering Committee will meet Tuesday, August 11, 2020 from 5:30 –7pm

Portland Protests Persist with Some Flashes of Violence

Tear gas was used by police on protesters Wednesday for the first time since the U.S. agents pulled back their presence

Reimagine Oregon Issues Equity Demands, Gains Legislative Support

Coalition of Black-led and Black-focused organizations takes new approach to concrete change 

Oregon Criminal Justice Commission: Initiative Petition 44 Will Nearly Eliminate Racial Disparities for Drug Arrests, Convictions

The initiative would expand access to drug addiction treatment and recovery services, and decriminalize low-level drug possession.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon Housing and Community Services Awards $60,822,101 to Build and Preserve 802 Affordable Homes

Investments address the statewide shortage of affordable housing through the development and preservation of affordable rental homes. ...

Phase Two Re:Imagine Grant Deadline August 11

The fund focuses on supporting ten artists with grants of $5,000 as they reimagine their practices and pivot toward the...

U.S. Bank Announces $1 Million in Grants to Black-Led CDFIs; Additional Support for African American Alliance

A total of 15 CDFIs will receive grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 while the African American Alliance will receive...

Vote.org Holds #GoodTroublePledge Voter Registration Drive to Commemorate the 55th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

2020 VRA anniversary observance to honor the memory of voting rights activist and late-Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) ...

White Democrats in Congress Falling Short on Reparations Bill

Democracy in Color releases “The White List” showing 79% of democratic House members haven’t cosigned HR 40 despite popular...

Lawmakers adjourn special session, restrict choke holds

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A measure further restricting the use of choke holds by police passed the Oregon Legislature by wide margins Monday night as lawmakers concluded a special session called to fix a billion-dollar budget deficit due to COVID-19.House Bill 4301 prohibits the use of choke holds...

Seattle police chief to resign following department cuts

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle's police chief says she is stepping down, a move made public the same day the City Council approved reducing the department by as many as 100 officers through layoffs and attrition.Carmen Best, the city’s first Black police chief, said in a letter to the...

LSU adds Missouri, Vanderbilt in revamped SEC schedule

Defending Southeastern Conference and national champion LSU will host Missouri and visit Vanderbilt in its expanded Southeastern Conference schedule, while Alabama will visit Mizzou and host Kentucky in league play revised by the coronavirus pandemic. The league on Friday released two additional...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

OPINION

Historians Offer Context, Caution on Lessons 1918 Flu Pandemic Holds for COVID

Scholars find parallels of inequitable suffering between pandemic of 1918 and pandemic of 2020 ...

US Reps Adams and DeFazio Call on Postmaster General to Resign

The legislators say Trump appointee Louis DeJoy is sabotaging the US Postal Service and could harm the election ...

Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. ...

Falling Behind: COVID, Climate Change, and Chaos

Multiple Crises, Multiple Obstacles ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Authorities: Arson, burglary at Black church in Maryland

SHADY SIDE, Md. (AP) — A person started a fire inside the vestibule of a predominately Black church in Maryland and also burglarized the house of worship, authorities said. Firefighters responding to a call about the fire at Judah Temple Ministries extinguished the blaze just after 5 a.m....

Seattle police chief to resign following department cuts

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle's police chief says she is stepping down, a move made public the same day the City Council approved reducing the department by as many as 100 officers through layoffs and attrition.Carmen Best, the city’s first Black police chief, said in a letter to the...

Portland protesters rally as arrest of activist draws ire

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The arrest during protests in Portland, Oregon, of a Black woman who became a leading activist in the racial justice movement after she was assaulted by a white supremacist three years ago has galvanized local and national Black Lives Matter groups.More demonstrations...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Don't shut up!' Film spotlights Filipino journalist

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Maria Ressa says she didn’t take Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte seriously when he declared four years ago that “corrupt” journalists weren’t “exempted from assassination.”“In 2016, it was really, really laughable. And...

Jolie seeks removal of private judge in Pitt divorce case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Angelina Jolie asked Monday that the private judge overseeing her divorce from Brad Pitt be disqualified from the case because of insufficient disclosures of his business relationships with one of Pitt's attorneys. In a filing in Los Angeles Superior Court, Jolie argues...

Chris Pratt, Katherine Schwarzenegger greet baby daughter

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger say they are “beyond thrilled” and “extremely blessed" after she gave birth to their first child together. The 41-year-old ”Avengers” actor and the 30-year-old children’s book author...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Ganges River flows with history and prophecy for India

ALONG THE GANGES, India (AP) — More than 2,000 years ago, a powerful king built a fort on the banks of...

Belarusian challenger flees to Lithuania amid protests

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — The top opposition candidate in Belarus' presidential vote who refused to concede her...

Constraints gone, GOP ramps up effort to monitor voting

WASHINGTON (AP) — Since 1937, the state of Pennsylvania has had strict rules about who can stand in polling...

El Salvador waits for president, congress to act on pandemic

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — If El Salvador President Nayib Bukele and the country’s congress...

Virus surge makes US weak link in global economic recovery

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — People in China are back to buying German luxury cars. Europe's assembly lines...

Extreme poverty rises and a generation sees future slip away

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — As a domestic worker, Amsale Hailemariam knew from the inside out the luxury...

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From time to time, everybody can use a helping hand. Whether you're looking for work and need some assistance polishing your resume, or whether you're a business owner trying to get past those critical first few years, a helping hand at the right time can make all the difference.

Fortunately for workers and business owners in certain parts of North and Northeast Portland, just such a helping hand exists.

In partnership with the city of Portland's Bureau of Housing and Community Development, the Enterprise Community Commission is accepting proposals for $187,000 in grants to be divided between private- and public-sector recipients. The commission's initial proposal deadline was April 28, but that has been indefinitely extended, said Sheila Holden, commission chair.

The Portland Enterprise Community was created 12 years ago during the Clinton administration. Similar to the Enterprise Zones created at about the same time, the enterprise community received special priority when it came to the disbursement of grant funds. Although the area's enterprise community designation has since lapsed, after its pre-ordained 10-year run, the commission set up to administer the grant funds that flow to the area is still around — and it's still disbursing funds to help the area create jobs and build wealth.

"The Enterprise Community Commission … originally started out as a joint partnership between Multnomah County, the city of Portland and the North/Northeast Economic Development Alliance," Holden said. "We applied for a federal designation as an Enterprise Zone. We didn't get that, but we did get a designation as a federal Enterprise Community.
With that designation came a 10-year ability to get first consideration for federal government funds when there was a program or grant opportunity that tied back to the goals for the North/Northeast community, Holden said.

Once established, the commission stepped into its role, handing out federal funds to organizations and businesses within the enterprise community. Over 10 years, the commission leveraged some $31 million into the community, Holden said.
Most of the funds went to small and emerging businesses; many had a credit status that made them a bad risk with traditional lending agencies, like banks and credit unions. The rest of the funds went to nonprofit organizations dedicated to training people to be reliable, employable workers.

The enterprise community's boundaries don't resemble anything like a regular shape. It encompasses the south shore of the Columbia River from where it meets the Willamette River east to just past the end of Hayden Island. From there, it follows an irregular path south to the east bank of the Willamette River, roughly between the Fremont Bridge and Interstate 84.

"We picked the poorest Census tracts, and the places where we thought people could create jobs," Holden said of the community's oddly shaped borders.

But the commission doesn't hand out money to just anyone. Businesses that receive funds must face a rigorous evaluation process before, during and after the grant process, Holden said. Not only do business owners need to put their own equity into the business and demonstrate a solid business plan,  they also must be able to prove that they are sticking to it, and that their plan is contributing to the economic health of the larger community.

"They have to show that they've actually been successful in growing their business if they're going to receive funds," she said. "After we review their activities and make recommendations, we have a consultant come in to make a review.

"Based on the conversation we have with the consultant, we then decide what we're actually going to provide, in dollars, and what the work plan is going to be, and what the performance is going to be if we're going to consider it a success. Our purpose is not just to provide money, but to see some real results."

Jennie Portis makes use of the public-sector side of the fund's activities. Portis is the director of the Northeast Workforce Center, a neighborhood hub for job skills training and other employment-related services. She also provides administrative services to the Enterprise Community Commission.

Portis said the commission and the fund have been invaluable to the workforce center's efforts.

"We're still operating on the same pot of money we got from the Bureau of Housing and Community Development during the last round of grants two years ago," Portis said. "It was about $500,000 over two years, administered by the Enterprise Community Commission."

While the lion's share of the grants administered by the commission go to small businesses, Portis said, the monies that go to organizations like the workforce center are essential to the complete picture of creating wealth in the community.

"We often help people who are part of the working poor," she said. "When you're out there flipping burgers, you're not making much money, but you've worked yourself out of a lot of (assistance) programs, and you still need help."

The grant funds used by the workforce center train and house people so they can find stable jobs and stable housing situations. This helps people escape the vicious circle of being unable to find a job because they don't have a permanent address, and being unable to have a permanent address because they don't have income from a job.

"The people that we're working with … also need assistance with their (rental) housing," Portis said. "People who are trying to improve their housing situation are also needing to improve their income situation. Without the one, there is no other."

To qualify for grant funds from the commission, businesses must be located in the enterprise community or employ people who live in it. To apply, contact the Enterprise Community Commission, care of the Black United Fund of Oregon, 2828 N.E. Alberta St., Portland, OR 97211.

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