06-21-2018  1:21 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Girl, 14, drowns in pond near Silverton

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a junior camp counselor drowned in a pond near Silverton.The Marion County Sheriff's Office says deputies arrived Wednesday night to find lifeguards and camp counselor searching the pond for 14-year-old Naomi Rudolph of Keizer. Her body was pulled from the...

ICE office in Portland closed another day

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Portland was closed again Thursday because of a demonstration against Trump administration immigration policies.Agency spokeswoman Carissa Cutrell said people who had appointments scheduled at the office will be...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington and more than a half-dozen other states said Thursday that they plan to sue the Trump administration over a policy of separating immigrant families illegally entering the United States.Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson made the announcement Thursday...

Walla Walla podiatrist charged with unprofessional conduct

WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) — A Walla Walla podiatrist has been charged with unprofessional conduct for allegedly failing to meet the standard of care in treating two patients who developed infections which later required amputations.The Union-Bulletin reported Thursday that Washington state's...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

3 men face hate crimes charges in Minnesota mosque bombing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A grand jury has added civil rights and hate crimes violations to charges three Illinois men face in the bombing of a mosque in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington.Federal prosecutors announced the new five-count indictment Thursday against 47-year-old Michael Hari,...

Governor orders probe of abuse claims by immigrant children

WASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia's governor ordered state officials Thursday to investigate abuse claims by children at an immigration detention facility who said they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete...

Abloh's historic debut at Vuitton is a big draw in Paris

PARIS (AP) — The debut Louis Vuitton collection by Virgil Abloh, the first African-American to head a major European fashion house, drew stars of all stripes to Paris for his rainbow-themed menswear show.Kanye West was there with his wife, Kim Kardashian West, who had returned to Paris for...

ENTERTAINMENT

Q&A: Sam Smith on touring, therapy, smoking and lip syncing

NEW YORK (AP) — Sam Smith knows his music is melancholy and emotional, but he's hoping his live shows will be uplifting and feel "like a fistful of love," as he put it.The singer, known for down-tempo hits like "Stay With Me" and "Too Good at Goodbyes," is launching "The Thrill of It All...

AP PHOTOS: Toasts, kisses and laughs at Clooney AFI gala

LOS ANGELES (AP) — George Clooney, this is your life.The American Film Institute hosted a star-studded gala earlier this month to honor the Oscar-winner's achievements as an actor, director and activist. The evening kicked off with a video message from former President Barack Obama, and...

Mike Colter brings the pain as the indestructible Luke Cage

ATLANTA (AP) — "Black Panther" broke box office records, but "Luke Cage" once crashed Netflix.The streaming service suffered a massive outage for more than two hours in 2016, one day after the premiere of "Luke Cage," a drama-action series starring Mike Colter who plays the show's superhero...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Dig it: Archaeologists scour Woodstock '69 concert field

BETHEL, N.Y. (AP) — Archaeologists scouring the grassy hillside famously trampled during the 1969 Woodstock...

Canada's legalization to offer pot by mail, better banking

Mail-order weed? You betcha!With nationwide marijuana legalization in Canada on the horizon, the industry is...

Koko the gorilla, who learned sign language, dies at 46

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Koko the gorilla, whose remarkable sign-language ability and motherly attachment to...

Cuba slightly loosens controls on state media

HAVANA (AP) — Minutes after a plane carrying 113 people crashed on takeoff from Havana airport, Cuban state...

Pope, in Geneva, says Christians must work together on peace

GENEVA (AP) — Pope Francis journeyed Thursday to the well-heeled city of Geneva to encourage all...

South Sudan's armed opposition rejects 'imposition' of peace

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — South Sudan's armed opposition on Thursday rejected any "imposition" of a...

By Arashi Young | The Skanner News

A new vision is emerging for the development of North and Northeast Portland -- that includes a bustling commercial corridor hosting African American businesses. The streets would be home to soul food restaurants, hip-hop and jazz nightclubs and emerging Black-owned technology companies.

And what is the foundation of this vision? Commercial property ownership.

BICEP, the Black Investment Consortium for Economic Progress, has developed a plan to reclaim the area  as an economic hub for Black-owned businesses. The strategy, dubbed the SOUL District, would be a targeted set of property developments connecting and showcasing minority businesses.

Carl Talton, president of BICEP formation board, said it is very important to control the economics of the community through the acquisition of property.

“Commercial property in many ways dictates the lifeblood of the community,” Talton said.

Talton is a long-time resident of Northeast Portland and a Jefferson High School Graduate. He worked as an executive at Portland General Electric and Pacific Power and Light. Most recently he was chair of United Fund Advisors, which provides investment capital and advisory services for community development and renewable energy projects.

Talton joins development professionals in BICEP such as Jeana Woolley and Ray Leary, who created the Vanport Square business center on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.  Another member is  Anyeley Hallova, who recently completed a 405-bedroom sustainable apartment community in Eugene, Ore.

The group also has venture capital expertise with Stephen Green,  the community director at Elevate Capital, as well as business incubation insight from Dwayne Johnson, deputy director of Innovate Oregon, and the community activism experience of Charles McGee from the Black Parent Initiative.

This new proposed SOUL District is an area that spans from Interstate-5 to NE 7th Avenue,  and from Broadway to Northeast Rosa Parks Way. It would encompass the Humboldt, Boise and Eliot neighborhoods.

Talton says the group has a contract with the Portland Development Commission to create a substantive plan. The group aims to focus on community cultural offerings, such as ethnic food markets and Black-owned entertainment venues, as well as emerging technology companies.

The combination would bring together the past identity of Northeast  Portland community with the future projected job growth in Portland technology.

Plans for the SOUL District business development include collective co-working spaces called "The Bridge," sponsorship of Black entrepreneurs at events like “Pitch Black.” The group would also like to create a pipeline of future technology workers, through science, technology, engineering, art and math youth workforce development.

A draft report from the SOUL District website lists four strategies to pursue to make the district a reality:

  • Study the business market,  identify the businesses in the district,  identify the needs of the district and to categorize Black-owned businesses in and near the area.
  • Make an inventory of available commercial development sites within the district
  • Create a list of federal, local, state and foundation funds available for use.
  • Create an investment vehicle to acquire the land and develop the businesses using things like investment trusts, small business development funds, community development funds.

The group is now working with the research firm DHM Research to conduct a business and community survey. Talton said they wanted input to connect with other community builders and to get a sense of what people would want from the SOUL District.

Interested community members can visit http://www.souldistrictpdx.com/ to take the survey.

Talton says the community is running out of time to secure commercial properties for Black-owned businesses and it is “getting less possible every day.”

“If we don't anchor now we are going to lose all the opportunities,” Talton said. “The same thing will happen that happened with housing, they'll all be gone.”

The SOUL District report suggested using available land on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for these Black business commercial properties. The report said that most of the development over the last 20 years has been affordable housing projects.

Talton said this strategy takes on gentrification through the economy -- that there has to be good paying jobs and thriving businesses at the foundation.

“This is the anti-gentrification plan. Gentrification is all about the economics of the community,” Talton said. “Gentrification is not about displacement, it is about the economics that displaced them. Once people control and participate in the economic vitality of community, then changes in the community just don't affect them that much.”

 

If you would like to know more about the SOUL District or to take the community survey, please visit the SOUL District website.

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