BCMC Albina LLC and Self Enhancement Inc. (SEI) yesterday jointly signed a donation agreement to transition ownership of a vacant undeveloped lot on N. Mississippi Ave. currently owned by BCMC to SEI as a donation to the nonprofit social services organization.
BCMC principals Bryan and Colin McLean, alongside SEI Chief Executive Officer Tony Hopson and Chief Operating Officer Libra Gilbert-Forde, have outlined the terms of the donation, which favors the development of affordable housing and social services on the 7,300 square-foot lot.
“Born and raised in Northeast Portland, we’ve seen our city change drastically,” Bryan McLean said.
“We’ve witnessed firsthand how inequitable polices have led to the displacement of Black Portlanders in Northeast Portland, resulting in a far different community than the one we grew up in. We hope that this donation paves way for retail, office space and affordable housing, so that BIPOC members of our community can return to their neighborhood. And we also hope this donation of real estate to SEI in a historically African-American neighborhood will spur more partnerships between developers and the BIPOC community.”
The McLean brothers had been planning to donate the land to SEI for some time; Colin McLean volunteered at the nonprofit in the late-2000s and both attended Grant High School with several SEI employees. With ongoing protests centered on the Red House next door, causing unrest in the neighborhood, the McLeans decided to move quickly on the donation.
“Gentrification has made it difficult for the families we serve to receive the programming and support we offer due to being displaced farther away from SEI,” Hopson Sr. said.
“The McLeans’ gift will help to achieve SEI’s mission of returning African Americans back to our historic neighborhoods.”
“The McLeans’ property is an ideal location for creating a place that celebrates the history of the neighborhood while addressing and helping to repair the social inequity ingrained in it,” Gilbert-Forde said. “SEI will develop this property with inclusion and equity at its core.”
Those wishing to make donations to SEI can do so at www.selfenhancement.org/donate.
BCMC Properties prides itself on developing high quality projects, with a focus on sustainable and energy-efficient building practices. The company also values the importance of community and its developments encourage human interaction via greenspaces and communal gathering space.
Self Enhancement Inc. (SEI) was established in 1981, by Tony Hopson Sr., a lifelong North Portland resident and community leader. It began as a one-week summer basketball camp aimed at providing a positive alternative for African American teens living in an area of Portland that was leaving them behind. Today, SEI is a comprehensive, one-stop resource for youth and families, primarily African Americans and others living in poverty or seeking culturally responsive services. It is also one of the city’s leading multi-service organizations, providing thousands of youth, families, and adults with a wide array of education and social services on an annual basis. SEI’s strength is in its ability to meet the complex needs of the children and families it serves, including helping people to overcome cultural, educational and economic barriers.