OREGON ON THE BEAT May 3rd, 2012

Oregon ON News

Rolling Up Our Collective Sleeves: SB 1552
Time to Vote: Here’s the Scoop on Portland Candidates
Watch “I Support the Portland Safety Net” Video
Oregon ON Board Adopts Fair Housing Best Practices
Everything You Wanted to Know About HUD But Were Afraid to Ask
Thank you Cathey Briggs, Whit Spencer, Oregon Housing Authorities



Wells Fargo Recognized for Diversity, Corporate Citizenship
Capital Pacific Bank Wins Sustainable Business Award


Member Events

20 Years Already? JOIN’s Birthday Party – May 18
Support Microenterprise Development with $3.50 Lunch – May, June
Community Alliance of Tenants Hotline Training – May 6


Member News

United Nations Special Rapporteur Visits NAYA!
More Rent Assistance for Portland Vets Who are Homeless
Changes Improve Home Forward’s Housing Choice Vouchers
Multnomah County Makes Community Court History
Columbia Cascade Opens 1st Senior Housing in Cascade Locks
Jessica’s Story: the One Family Shelter in Clack. County
New Donated Website for Northwest Housing Alternatives
Implementing Foreclosure Reform: Reimagining the System
Members Weigh in on Housing Need at Lake Oswego Council
Looking for a Four Star Charity?
Luncheon Raises $63K for NAYA Early College Academy
Friends Celebrate a Legacy of Helping Families
Home Forward Gets New Deputy Director, Resident Commish
Northwest Housing Alternatives’ Strategic Plan
From Atop Aurora Bldg. Retired Rancher Observes Different Herd
CAT’s 2012 Spring Membership Drive Contest
Community Vision to Offer New Rehab/Repair IDAs
Family Self-Sufficiency Success from Housing Works
Keep Abreast on Pests
Catholic Charities Talks Consent at Nightclubs
Fair Housing Poster Winner’s Art Welcomes Everyone Home
Roseburg Resident is Wells Fargo’s Top Oregon Volunteer


Member Media Coverage

$7.2M Affordable Housing Project Planned for NE Portland
First Time for Clackamas Co. Housing Authority: Homeless Vet Vouchers
New Columbia Takes Small Steps Toward New Life
How Do Residents Engage in Green Living? FHDC
Service Groups Press County for Money
Proposed SNAP Cuts Would Affect One in Five Oregonians
Library Dreaming: Cornelius and Bienestar


One Fun Thing

How is Cathey Briggs?
New Form of Housing is No Tin Can

Oregon ON News

Rolling Up Our Collective Sleeves: SB 1552 top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Several Oregon ON members, including  Emily Reiman of NEDCO (pictured left) have been working on the rulemaking process for SB 1552, as part of a special Oregon ON Homeownership  Counseling Subcommittee (Emily is a co-faciliator of our Homeownership Education and Counseling Working Group).

Throughout this process, Emily has been meeting regularly with homeownership counselors all over the state to find out the best and most efficient way to implement the program so that it is actually doable and helps homeowners as much as possible.

SB 1552 offers mediation to homeowners in foreclosure or underwater in their mortgages, giving them the opportunity to discuss foreclosure- avoidance measures with their bank and a neutral third party. Part of the legislation stipulates that homeowners must receive counseling before they are eligible for mediation, which could potentially greatly increase the demand for homeowner counseling across the state.

Our goal in participating in the rulemaking process is to ensure the best outcome for homeowners, and our members and housing counselors.

Thank you to Emily and all of our members for all your time and hard work!

Time to Vote: Here’s the Scoop on Portland Candidates top

posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Now that it is actually time to figure out who to vote for in Portland’s myriad elections, we thought you might find these Candidates’ Questionnaires on housing helpful. You’re welcome. :)

Watch “I Support the Portland Safety Net” Video top

posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Watch this short, adorable and enlightening video, brought to you by the Community Alliance of TenantsJOIN, Street Roots, 211info and Oregon Opportunity Network about how important Portland’s Safety Net is!


Read more about the Safety Net campaign at: http://scr.bi/FOgqmf and http://www.facebook.com/PDXSafetyNet

< You can also get buttons that say “I Support the Portland Safety Net” at our office and that of our above partners. Recommended by 9 out of 10 plastic dinosaurs

Another important way you can help:

Please help the Safety Net campaign by donating much needed items to people experiencing homelessness, such as blankets, towels, washcloths, new undergarments, new socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, diapers, lotion, etc.

Place your donations into the green bins that look like this:

You can find the green bins at

  •  JOIN: 1435 NE 81st Ave, Suite 100, Portland, OR 97213
  • Street Roots: 211 Northwest Davis Street, Portland, OR 97209
  • Community Alliance of Tenants:  2710 NE 14th Ave.,Portland, OR 97212.

Anything you can donate will help so much! Go in together with friends or family to buy items listed above. No donation is too little or too big! Every item you donate helps someone who is homeless and in need. Thank you!

Be sure to stay tuned in for additional action alerts on the
“I Support the Portland Safety Net” Campaign!

Oregon ON Board Adopts Fair Housing Best Practices top

posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Fair Housing Council of Oregon 2012 Poster Contest Winning Entry

Oregon ON has long held the belief that everyone has the right to a decent affordable home. More recently, we embarked on a process to ensure that that right truly does extend to everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, familial status or sexual orientation. At both of our 2011 Industry Support Conferences, Oregon ON members discussed fair housing practices and concluded that we should adopt a Value Statement and set of Best Practices that would ensure that ALL Oregonians had the right to a decent home.

In the Fall of 2011 Oregon ON formed a “Fair Housing Best Practices” committee comprised of several of our members from across the state. This committee worked with many of our partners, including Oregon Housing and Community Services, the Portland Housing Bureau, the Fair Housing Council of Oregon and Metro Multifamily Housing Association, to develop a value statement and a set of best practices that reflected our commitment to fair housing, and more importantly, to the fair treatment of all Oregonians. Oregon ON’s Board of Directors, our Policy Councils and our partners reviewed this value statement and these best practices and provided amendments and critique. The resulting final documents were presented to Oregon ON’s Board of Directors for official adoption on April 4th, 2012, and they were unanimously approved and adopted. We ask that all of our members also adopt these values and best practices within their organizations.

We are proud to show our commitment to ensuring that all Oregonians have access to safe and decent affordable homes and we are pleased to share this commitment and these best practices with communities and citizens throughout the state. It is our hope that by adopting these values and best practices Oregon becomes a more welcoming and inclusive place for all people.


John Miller, Executive Director

Oregon ON Fair Housing Best Practices – Statement of Values:

Our goal as an industry is to create properties that are welcoming and effectively serve all types of people.  We believe our communities are best served when decent housing is available to all people, regardless of income or personal characteristics. We want to continually further fair housing, to ensure that members of all protected classes have equal access to housing within the community of their choice, to make sure that none of our actions or rules has a disparate impact on a particular group of people.

All of us recognize that we may have internal biases of which we may be unaware.  We know that the process of furthering fair housing and equity in our communities is a continual process of assessment, learning and evaluating our results.  We see fair housing as an ideal that requires continual effort, not an end to be reached.

Click here to read the Fair Housing Best Practices.

These Fair Housing Best Practices may be modified from time to time by Oregon ON staff. The document will be maintained on our website and shared with both current and incoming members. All members are expected to adhere to the values expressed in the policy and to strive to use the Best Practices in their organization. We welcome and encourage member input and feedback on these Best Practices; please contact John Miller or a Board member.

Everything You Wanted to Know About HUD But Were Afraid to Ask top

posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

OK, that’s not the name of our great new afternoon session at our 2012 Spring Industry Support Conference, but it could be!

Only two weeks away from Conference day (May 16), we are excited to announce that at a joint afternoon session (1:30-4pm) between the Executive Directors and the Multi-Family Developers*, there will be a Q&A with HUD’s Mary McBride. 
*All sessions are open to all

HUD Regional Director for Region X, which serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, Mary will join us for a question and answer session regarding HUD programs and current and future funding issues. In the past few years program funding has dropped and the rules governing that funding have changed. This is an opportunity to listen and provide feedback to Mary, who will then relay concerns and suggestions on to the main HUD offices in Washington DC.

Mary’s folks tell us that she likes to do these sessions because she wants to hear from practitioners what is happening on the ground and about their concerns. I had the opportunity to interview Mary shortly after she came on here at Region 10, and I can tell you that she is a good speaker: personable, down-to-earth, and engaging. Mary did community development work for almost 30 years, including heading a small rural economic development council and the USDA-Rural Development for Washington state. While she clearly represents a federal agency, and all that goes with that, I found her to be refreshingly direct. [As an interesting side-note, a possible federal streamlining compliance project she was excited about in 2010 actually came to pass this year, thanks to a partnership between her, OHCS and USDA Rural Development].

This session is only one of 18 amazing sessions, and our lunch plenary session isn’t so shabby either: we will be joined by Oregon Housing and Community Service’s Margaret Van Vliet. She will be talking about the Governor’s five priorities and how they link to Oregon’s housing and community development needs.

To learn more about the Conference or to register, click here.

Thank you to our Conference Sponsors; we just started the Conference sponsorship program in 2010, and the generous support of these “early adopters” is helping us make the Conferences realize their full potential. Please stop by their tables and say “hi” at the Conference!

Bergsund DeLaney Architecture and Planning, P.C.
Umpqua Bank

Coin Meter
Fair Housing Council of Oregon
/Community Development Law Center
Affordable Housing Risk Pool
Inspections Unlimited

Thank you Cathey Briggs, Whit Spencer, Oregon Housing Authorities top

posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Oregon ON would like to extend a warm thanks to renewing members Cathey Briggs, Whit Spencer, and Oregon Housing Authorities, who raised their dues this year! A network is only as strong as its membership, and we are proud to have them in ours.

Also, thank you again to Enterprise Community Partners who raised their dues this year. Enterprise Senior Program Director Amanda Saul had this to say about it: “We are pleased to be able to increase our membership to Oregon ON this year. We feel that they share our big-picture thinking about the importance of the industry’s sustainability, and so it’s a great partnership. The membership, along with last year’s grant for Oregon ON’s Industry Support Program and our event sponsorship, are just a small part of our strong commitment to Oregon’s affordable housing industry.” Thanks Amanda!


Wells Fargo Recognized for Diversity, Corporate Citizenship top

posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Wells Fargo has been recognized by two organizations that examine aspects of a company’s commitment to social responsibility issues.

DiversityInc ranked Wells Fargo No. 33 on its 2012 list of Top 50 Companies for Diversity, up seven spots from last year. Wells Fargo also was named the top company for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees and will receive DiversityInc’s Top Company for Community Development Special Award during an event in October in New York City.

Corporate Responsibility magazine named Wells Fargo among the 100 Best Corporate Citizens. For the past 13 years, the magazine has rated companies based on factors including diversity, corporate governance, philanthropy and environmental sustainability.

12 Consecutive Years

The honors from DiversityInc mark the 12th year in a row that Wells Fargo has placed among the Top 50. In 2011, Wells Fargo ranked No. 40.

Each year DiversityInc surveys companies and looks at factors such as CEO commitment, human capital, corporate and organizational communication, and supplier diversity. For 2012, 587 companies were considered for inclusion in DiversityInc’s lists, up 11 percent from 2011.

“It’s great to be recognized for our efforts,” said Wells Fargo Oregon Region President Don Pearson of Portland. “Diversity and corporate responsibility are part of our core values at Wells Fargo. We realize we will not succeed as a company if we don’t embrace diversity and do all we can to help our communities and customers succeed.”

“Few companies have faced the marketplace challenge as well as Wells Fargo,” said Luke Visconti, CEO of DiversityInc. “At a time when bank values have been under scrutiny, this company has demonstrated a deep commitment to creating economic vitality in underserved communities. Under the leadership of Chairman, President and CEO John Stumpf, a true diversity visionary, the company is increasing its external and internal diversity focus even more.”

Serving Oregonians since 1852, Wells Fargo is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year. The company provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores; 12,000 ATMs; the Internet (wellsfargo.com); and other distribution channels across North America and internationally.

Capital Pacific Bank Wins Sustainable Business Award top

posted on Monday, April 30th, 2012

Capital Pacific Bank won a coveted 2012 BEST Award from the City of Portland’s Sustainability at Work program for its work in providing financial services to local businesses and nonprofits, and for demonstrating how an impassioned green team can foster a culture of sustainability within its own operations. The bank earned its award in the small organization category.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams presented the awards at the ceremony held on Wednesday, April 25 at the The Nines Hotel. The award event marked the 20th anniversary of the BEST Awards, which recognize businesses demonstrating a commitment to excellence in sustainable business practices.

“This is a huge honor,” said Mark Stevenson, president and CEO, “and it reflects the values important to us as a community bank — investing in and supporting the health and vitality of the community in which we live and work. It represents a deep commitment on the part of our staff and our green team who have led efforts to transform our practices and how we do business with vendors and customers.”

The 20-year old Portland BEST awards recognize business leadership in environmental, economic and social sustainability. Businesses are selected for their work in reducing waste, supporting the local economy, and adopting practices and policies that save energy, water and money. The BEST Awards receive countless nominations, which are reviewed by a panel of judges that name finalists and winners in seven categories.

Among the bank’s notable accomplishments in sustainability are:

  • Support and sponsorship of local community organizations through volunteer activities, bank programs and an active Board and staff. The bank’s 37 employees donated more than 350 hours of their time in 2011 to various non-profits in the community.
  • Cover 100 percent of employee public transportation pass costs.
  • Transition all paper files into an electronic document software system (banking is a traditionally paper-heavy industry).
  • Provide internship opportunities through organizations working with at-risk communities.
  • Reduce desktop power consumption by 93 percent through a transition from traditional computers to Thin Clients.
  • Achieve 100 percent carbon offsets, as well as Water Restoration Certificates, purchased through Bonneville Environmental Foundation.
  • Collaborate with community leaders to find ways to finance energy efficient projects.
  • Work to create a pilot composting program for the Bank and collaborated with building managers to set up building-wide composting.

“Our work in sustainability doesn’t end here,” continued Stevenson. “We’ll continue to look for ways we can adopt new practices that support a vibrant community in which businesses and individuals can grow and prosper.”

Member Events

20 Years Already? JOIN’s Birthday Party – May 18 top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

JOIN is turning 20, and we’re throwing a birthday party to celebrate all the people, organizations, and partners that helped us get here.

You have been part of JOIN’s journey, helping us provide support to tens of thousands of people experiencing homelessness, and helping over 6500 people move back into permanent housing. I hope you will join us for the celebration.

When: Friday, May 18th, 6 to 9 pm

Where: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1624 NE Hancock

This is a free, family friendly, event and not a fundraiser.  We’ll have music, heavy appetizers prepared by chefs from JOIN & the New City Initiative, activities for kids, a short retrospective on JOIN, and awards for several community members who have made exceptional contributions to peoples’ efforts to end their homelessness.

Please feel free to bring guests. Your RSVP will help us plan: Sydney Linden via email or call (503) 232-7052 ext 204.

Support Microenterprise Development with $3.50 Lunch – May, June top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

PORTLAND, Ore. – Farmers market patrons can feel good about supporting not only a local business, but a local economic development initiative by simply purchasing a lunch this summer.

Beginning in May, Hacienda Community Development Corporation (CDC) will publicly launch the new Latino Food Vendor Incubator project, a social enterprise supporting micro-business development for low-income Latinos. Aspiring microentrepreneurs will gain practical experience and financial support through catering sales and at local farmers markets, while simultaneously receiving training in a classroom setting.

“My children inspire me to be successful despite a number of obstacles, so here I am fighting,” says Irma Orduña, a participant of the program. “My dream is to open my own restaurant called El Ranchito, and that seems within reach now.”

The Incubator project, popularly known as Micro Mercantes, has roots as an informal cooperative of Latino tamale vendors. However, a high demand for culturally specific training opportunities, as well as a large market for local food in Portland has led Hacienda CDC to restructure the program to serve more entrepreneurs. Participants will now follow a structured three-year curriculum and culminate in the soft-launch of their own business. This model opens the program up to a stream of participants instead of serving a static group.

The initial launch of the Latino Food Vendor Incubator project is supported by a three-year grant from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, with the vision of becoming a self-sustaining program by the conclusion of the grant. The first class includes four tamaleros, or tamale vendors, and one Colombian arepa vendor.

  • Beginning Saturday, May 5, Inocencia and her brother José will serve tamales from a recipe out of Puebla. Find them in Hollywood Farmers Market (4420 Northeast Hancock Street, Portland, OR 97213).
  • Beginning Sunday, May 6, Fernando and his wife Elizabeth will work the King Farmers Market (4815 Northeast 7th Ave) dishing out savory Colombian arepas.
  • Beginning Saturday, June 2, find Paula at the St. Johns Farmers Market (N Lombard & N Philadelphia) serving a variety of tamales oaxaqueñas.
  • Beginning Sunday, June 3, Graciela and her daughter-in-law Maria will be at the Montavilla Farmers Market (7600 Block SE Stark St.) serving another version of tamales from Puebla.
  • Beginning Tuesday, June 5, find Irma and her daughter Lupe at the Oregon Health & Science University Farmers Market (700 SW Campus Dr) serving tamales. Do not miss her famous tomatillo salsa, another recipe from Puebla, Mexico.

Community Alliance of Tenants Hotline Training – May 6 top

posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Join Community Alliance of Tenants for a Hotline Training on Sunday May 6th from 1-5pm. Be an advocate for yourself and others by giving information about renters’ rights and responsibilities to callers on our Renter’s Rights Hotline.

This is the first of a two part training, the second part is an overview of Oregon Landlord /Tenant law presented by a Legal Aid Lawyer which will be given in June.

We give you the education, tools and support you need to be successful! The time requirement is only 4 hours a month for 6 months. We are very flexible in scheduling volunteer time.

Volunteer in a fun, relaxed atmosphere and learn about other volunteer opportunities at CAT!

Call Justin at 503-460-9702 ext.2 or email him to sign up.

Member News

United Nations Special Rapporteur Visits NAYA! top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

On April 30, United Nations Special Rapporteur James Anaya visited NAYA Family Center as a part of his twelve-day mission to the US as an independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to report on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Youth, elders and community members, met with Mr. Anaya to share their concerns as Portland’s Native community and the unique challenges indigenous peoples face in the urban setting.

At the end of his mission, Mr. Anaya will hold a press conference in Washington, D.C., at the United Nations Information Centre and present the visit’s findings in a forthcoming session of the Human Rights Council.

For more information on Mr. Anaya’s US consultations, click here.

More Rent Assistance for Portland Vets Who are Homeless top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in partnership with the Veterans Administration, has awarded Home Forward another 60 special vouchers to help veterans who are experiencing homelessness.  The VASH vouchers are paired with services with a goal of supporting veterans in their efforts to reestablish stable lives.

The award brings the total VASH vouchers Home Forward has received since 2008 to 305.  “We are pleased to have a strong partnership with the Veterans Administration on behalf of our vets who have done so much to help our country,” said Jill Riddle, director of Rent Assistance for Home Forward.  Riddle said the agency’s success in putting VASH vouchers to use is a result of the partnership, program support from many community partners who work with veterans, and Home Forward’s decision at the urging of those partners to tap Moving to Work deregulation authority to help participating veterans pay security deposits.

Learn more about the voucher award>

Changes Improve Home Forward’s Housing Choice Vouchers top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Two modifications help renters in a tight market

The Portland metro area’s hot rental market means rising rents, fewer vacancies, and more competition for a place to live.  Home Forward has made two changes to make it easier for participants in its Housing Choice Voucher program to find a home with their Section 8 voucher.  The first provides more flexibility with a landlord who prefers shorter leases: the agency now will accept six-month initial leases in addition to 12-month initial leases, which offer greater stability.

The second change involves increasing payment standards – the maximum subsidy a voucher can provide – for one and two bedroom units in areas that have become much less affordable.  The new payment standards make a wider range of rental choices available to Section 8 participants who wish to live in inner central Northeast, inner central Southeast, Northwest, and downtown Portland.  They will not be available in census tracks within those areas that have poverty rates above 20%, to encourage housing choices in areas with lower poverty.

Learn more about the program changes>

Multnomah County Makes Community Court History top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

“New court connects homeless, services,” Portland Tribune, 4/22/12

[Ed. note: this story is unique because of its innovation, but also interesting because of the implications for reducing people’s barriers to gaining affordable housing]

On May 4, Multnomah County makes community court history when it opens the first courtroom in a homeless facility.

Every Friday afternoon, the Bud Clark Commons in Old Town — which features a temporary shelter, a day center and 130 permanent apartments for the chronically homeless — will also host community court Judge Alicia Fuchs presiding over a docket of cases featuring homeless men and women arrested for street crimes.

Officials hope bringing the court to a place familiar to many of the defendants will lower the “failure to appear” rate. For the people who provide services at Bud Clark Commons, the Friday courtroom is just one more in a series of novel efforts aimed at attacking homelessness.

Click here to read more.

Columbia Cascade Opens 1st Senior Housing in Cascade Locks top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation celebrated the grand opening of the 13-unit, $2.9 million Cascade Meadows Senior Apartments, “the first and only senior housing development in Cascade Locks.”

Below is a story on its development from Housing Development Center:

Cascade Meadows: A short-term infusion of cash keeps a senior housing development on track, on time.

Cascade Meadows

Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation (CCHC) provides affordable housing to communities in Oregon and Washington’s mid-Columbia region, a five-county area stretching across 7,200 square miles. One of these communities is Cascade Locks, a 1,100-person city located 30 miles east of Portland, known as a gateway for river traffic as well as for visitors driving to and from the scenic Columbia River Gorge.

In 2010, CCHC partnered with the City of Cascade Locks and a group of local residents to plan and develop the community’s first housing project designed for low-income seniors. Composed of three four-plex structures, along with a fourth building occupied by a manager’s unit and community room, Cascade Meadows will provide 14 affordable apartments for elderly households earning 50% or less of area median income. Located near downtown Cascade Locks, the project offers residents the opportunity to live independently with easy access to shopping, health services, and other amenities.

By early 2011 Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation had procured more than $3 million in loans and grants to fund land acquisition and construction of Cascade Meadows. But two major federal awards, a Community Development Block Grant and a HUD 202 grant, were being held up. To close these grants, worth $1.89 million, and to qualify for ongoing rent subsidies associated with them, CCHC needed to complete due diligence work. This would require a short-term infusion of cash to cover architectural services, an archeological survey, a soils analysis, and other expenses.

The HDC Community Fund came to CCHC’s aid with a $131,552 loan. The six-month low-interest loan paid for CCHC’s remaining due diligence expenses, triggering the release of the two federal grants and enabling construction of Cascade Meadows to commence. CCHC repaid the loan on time, allowing the HDC Community Fund to recirculate the capital to other nonprofit borrowers. But the best result of all is still to come: In spring of 2012, 12 low-income senior households will have a safe, affordable place to call home.

Jessica’s Story: the One Family Shelter in Clack. County top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Did you know that there are enough children experiencing homelessness in Clackamas County to fill 44 school buses every day?

Northwest Housing Alternatives, Inc.’s Annie Ross House is the only family shelter in Clackamas County. Watch this great video to learn about how they helped one mom and her children and disabled mother escape homelessness, gain affordable housing, and change their lives.

New Donated Website for Northwest Housing Alternatives top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Northwest Housing Alternatives, Inc. has a gorgeous new donated website – check it out!

Implementing Foreclosure Reform: Reimagining the System top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

from Neighborhood Partnerships enewsletter, 4/25/12

On Wednesday, April 11, Governor Kitzhaber signed into law SB 1552, which provides homeowners facing foreclosure with new tools. This monumental legislation will address the overwhelming tide of foreclosures and financial insecurity which has been threatening to permanently undermine the foundations of our state.

The legislation is just the first step – now it’s time to implement the law and help to create a system which will make all these pieces work together for the benefit of homeowners and Oregon communities.

While the task is large, Neighborhood Partnerships, the Housing Alliance, and advocates are confident we can do it and that we can make it work well for homeowners. This important legislation gives homeowners facing foreclosure the right to mediation, access to better information and protection from “dual track” processing. The new foreclosure law has the potential to positively impact thousands of homeowners across Oregon, and help stop the negative effects of foreclosure on our communities, our economy, and our state.

Together, we can create a system that fully utilizes the policy changes and dollars from the national Attorneys General settlement to benefit homeowners in need of assistance. You can read more about the details of this law and the system here.

Members Weigh in on Housing Need at Lake Oswego Council top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Lake Oswego City Council Foothills Meeting Summary; Thanks to Three Non Profits Who Submitted Comments, Tom Cusack, Oregon Housing Blog, 24 Apr 2012 10:17 PM PDT

Three Non Profits Submitted Pre Meeting Comments to the City Council on Need for Affordable Housing

Before the meeting several non profits provided comments to the City Council on the need for affordable housing as part of the Foothills development plan.

A BIG thank you to the three non profits who I am aware of who took the time to submit comments (HERE) prior to the meeting:

  1. Enterprise Community Partners.
  2. REACH Community Development, Inc.
  3. Housing Land Advocates.

At the Meeting 

I will provide a link to the Council meeting video at a later time but below are my quick observations from the meeting.

Observations from the meeting:

  1. By 4-3 members agreed to proceed with Option B.
  2. There was significant discussion about affordable housing at the meeting. Members discussed whether social equity concerns/affordable housing provisions would increase the likelihood of receiving transportation funding; the need to assess costs of affordable housing in financial feasibility assessments moving forward, and the need to move forward on long delayed policy on requiring affordable housing in urban renewal districts.[There was no assertion at the meeting that statewide inclusionary zoning prevented adoption of affordable housing requirements in urban renewal districts].
  3. Next steps include finalization of a pre development agreement and framework plan by mid June and (by end of year) approval of urban development district; approval of code amendments; and approval of development agreement.

Not mentioned at meeting: 

In looking at ECONorthwest financial feasibility analysis (p.2) posted late on Monday it appears to me that there is a significance difference in  the count of total housing units (2,614 units) vs what appears in table 2.2.2 of the April 19, 2012 Foothills Revision Process memo (1,594 total housing units).

The upshot may be that my projected need of 458 affordable rental units affordable <60% MFI may be understated. I will be exploring reconciliation of the two different total unit counts with city staff in the future; 35% of total rental units affordable <60% MFI remains my goal for Foothills.

Looking for a Four Star Charity? top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

For the fifth consecutive year, JOIN has received a 4 Star Rating from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management.  That puts us into the top 4% of charities rated!


Luncheon Raises $63K for NAYA Early College Academy top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), held its 3rd annual Early College Academy Luncheon this past Thursday, to a sold out audience of community supporters and friends. We are happy to announce that this was our most successful luncheon to date—raising over $63,000 for our school and students.

The event included the generous establishment of a $7,000 scholarship fund from Portland Community College and a $1,800 Emergency Student Fund raised at our very first student art auction.

The NAYA Early College Academy provides our students with a culturally relevant education and the resources and supports necessary to succeed. The Academy boasts an impressive retention rate with over 90% of our students returning each year while also maintaining the highest graduation rate for Native youth in the city with 88% of our students obtaining their high school diploma.

We are grateful for the unyielding support of our community sponsors and generous donors. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our youth!

Friends Celebrate a Legacy of Helping Families top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Many Habitat For Humanity supporters who give financial gifts and spend countless hours swinging hammers wish they could give even more, but feel that there is just no more room in the family budget. With Planned Giving, Habitat supporters are able to make larger gifts than they ever thought possible.

And on a Spring morning in March, Barbara Casey arrived at the Rivergate Commons dedication ceremony in Portland to share a story about her best friend, Armanda Pinto, who left a Planned Giving gift to Habitat.Armanda Pinto and Barbara Casey

“Social Justice was not just a word for Armanda, it was a call  to action,” said Barbara. “She always took the side of people working for rights and dignity. To her, all work was valuable and there is no greater work than to provide a home for your family.”

Armanda cherished her home more than anything, remodeling it all by herself. Her home was where she enjoyed her art and projects and it was where her best memories were made. When Armanda passed away she provided a gift to Habitat in her will as a meaningful way to create a memorial that would help other families also feel the joy of owning a safe, stable home.

Barbara will never forget the joy in the six families eyes as they were handed keys to their homes, thanks in part to the generosity of her best friend, Armanda.

“I will never forget Armanda and now there is a wonderful part of north Portland that will be surrounded by homes that she helped to build,” said Barbara. “She would be humble and yet she would be proud that Rivergate Commons is part of her legacy.”

If you would like to learn more about Planned Giving opportunities, please contact Erika Read at via email or call 503-287-9529 x16.

Home Forward Gets New Deputy Director, Resident Commish top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Home Forward has called on the talents of Michael Buonocore to fill the number two staff position left open by Anita Yap’s resignation earlier this year.  Michael most recently directed resident services activities.  During the years he led policy and planning efforts agency-wide, he spearheaded the development of the agency’s strategic directions and was the architect of its groundbreaking Rent Reform program, successfully launched this month.  In addition to his Home Forward experience, he was associate director at Sisters Of The Road, a Portland non-profit serving people who are homeless.

Home Forward resident Benita Legarza will be able to put her passion for social justice to work on the agency’s Board of Commissioners.  A single mother of four, Benita worked to put herself through college and will earn a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice from Portland State University this year.  She is a member of Home Forward’s Resident Advisory Committee and the National Low Income Housing Coalition and volunteers for the National Law Project.

Learn more about Benita’s appointment>

[Ed. note: Ok, is there a new rule that all new Home Forward appointments must be fabulous, or what?]

Northwest Housing Alternatives’ Strategic Plan top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

The Plan is published! http://nwhousing.org/about-us/images/NHA%20Strategic%20Plan.pdf

From Atop Aurora Bldg. Retired Rancher Observes Different Herd top

posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

from St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, Inc. enews, April 25 2012

The kids are grown, Leo has passed, and Marie Bishop has left the ranch and moved to St. Vinnie’s Aurora Building where her outlook is fabulous and the neighbors bowl her over on a regular basis.

Read more.

CAT’s 2012 Spring Membership Drive Contest top

posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Enter the Community Alliance of Tenants (CAT) Raffle! Refer and Register New Members  April 30 through June 15, 2012, and Enter to WIN!

1st Prize is an $80 Toshio Acupuncture gift certificate
2nd Prize is an $80 Massage gift certificate from Lyn Hughey, LMT
3rd Prize is a $50 Fred Meyers gift certificate

Why enter the Raffle?

CAT is the only grassroots organization led by and for tenants in Oregon. We strive to ensure all renters have stable homes. Because we are a tenant-led member organization, tenants direct, sustain and support CAT in all of our work.

By referring new members and/or renewing your membership, you strengthen the collective voice of tenants in Oregon to demand just housing practices.

 How do I PLAY? It’s really easy!

1. Share information with friends, family, and neighbors about CAT’s important work.

2. Register NEW members online at www.oregoncat.orgor call Justin at 503-460-9702 ext. 2 if you would like to sign up by phone or by mail.

3. Your full name needs to be provided on the form at “Referred by”. If new members sign up online, your name must be added to the “Designate” contribution box. Without knowing who to thank, your information can not be entered into the RAFFLE.

4. Once the form and dues/donation are received either by mail or online, CAT will then process the information and referrals for the Raffle drawing.

5. The more new members you refer, the more chances to WIN!

Winners will be called or emailed by mid-July, 2012 and
Announced in the July CAT email newsletter, website and Facebook page.

GOT Questions? CALL Justin Buri at 503-460-9702 ext 2


Community Vision to Offer New Rehab/Repair IDAs top

posted on Monday, April 30th, 2012

Community Vision was awarded $52,000 by CASA of Oregon to continue their Individual Development Account (IDA) program in 2012-2013.  Organizations across the state were notified of their allotment in April.

Community Vision remains one of the (if not only) organizations offering IDA’s exclusively for people with developmental disabilities.  The organization uses strengths-based, person-centered, individualized supports that empower people to live and work independently.

Community Vision will now be able to offer IDA accounts for home rehab and repair.

“This is a natural extension of our programs and we are thrilled to offer this opportunity to our community, said Development Director & Homeownership Coordinator of Community Vision, Rebecca Miller.

Participants with disabilities or who have a household member with a disability may use the funds to improve access, remove barriers or make accommodations that create access for the person with a disability.  They can also be used to eliminate health and safety hazards, correct code violations, replace or upgrade major housing system and provide other repairs as necessary for weatherization.  The allotment allows for 6-10 new savers this year.

In addition to home rehab/repair, CVI will continue to offer IDAs for homeownership, microenterprise, and adaptive technology.

Family Self-Sufficiency Success from Housing Works top

posted on Monday, April 30th, 2012

[Thank you for this wonderful success story from Families Forward/Housing Works!]

by Kelly Fisher, Home Ownership Manager

When Jessica applied for housing assistance, she had a nine month old baby and another one on the way.  She was in a rocky marriage and could barely scrape up enough money to pay her rent.  Housing became her life support.  Because of the rental assistance, Jessica was able to get out of a bad marriage and start working toward becoming independent.

When Jessica joined the Family Self-Sufficiency program she was excited about everything it had to offer but she didn’t think she would ever be able to purchase her own home.  Jessica lined out a plan of action to pay off debt, strengthen her credit score and find full-time employment.  During her participation on the FSS program, Jessica did all of these things and then realized that she could buy her own home.  She completed home buyer education, got approved for a mortgage loan and is now the proud owner of her own home.  Through her hard work and dedication, Jessica accumulated over $10,000 in her escrow savings account and has released her housing assistance.  She plans to use the money for improvements to her new home and for an emergency savings account.

Congratulations Jessica!

Keep Abreast on Pests top

posted on Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

If, as a housing and community development professional, you need to keep abreast of all things creepy and crawly, then this is the enewsletter for you.

The first-ever installment of Pioneer Pest Management‘s enewsletter has useful articles on bed-bug sniffing dogs, how to identify the most destructive ants, and what the mild winter will mean for the Cascadia bioregion’s rodent quota. (In fact, I found it fascinating reading just from a tenant perspective, but then I really hate free-loading critters in my house, so I like to know what the enemy is getting up to!) It also has coupons and other offers.

To receive the emails, contact Katie at Pioneer Pest Management.

Catholic Charities Talks Consent at Nightclubs top

posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2012

In honor of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, staff will remind bar-goers of their rights

In recognition of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Catholic Charities Project UNICA visited area nightclubs hosted “Nights of Consent” April 19 and 20.

Project UNICA staff greeted patrons at club entry points and use a stamp reading, “Consent is Sexy” to promote and engage them in prevention of sexual assault.

“It’s important for people to know that without consent for sexual contact, it is rape.  We are all responsible for keeping night clubs safe environments where women don’t have to guard their drink or feel threatened,” said Project UNICA Program Manager Karen Janes. “Between 1 and 3 and 1 and 5 women have been sexually assaulted in their life time and alcohol is the number one rape drug.”

Project UNICA staff hosted “Nights of Consent” at the following locations:

  • Thursday, April 19 at Andrea’s Cha Cha Club, located at 832 S.E. Grand Ave. in Portland, from 10 p.m. to close
  • Friday April 20 at Casa Colima, located at 6319 S.W. Capitol Hwy. in Portland, from 10 p.m. to close

Catholic Charities El Programa Hispano Project UNICA (a New Beginning to End Abuse) assists Spanish-speaking individuals and families affected by domestic violence and/or sexual assault through a variety of advocacy services, support groups and a 24-hour bilingual crisis line. Survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence may call 503-232-4448 or 888-232-4448 for help anytime


Fair Housing Poster Winner’s Art Welcomes Everyone Home top

posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
“Seventh-grader’s winning artwork will imprint the fair housing message across Oregon and Southwest Washington” By Deb Kallen, 211info Communications Specialist, 4/16/12

Cassiel Thom created a poster for April’s Fair Housing Month that was judged the best in Oregon in 2011. And then she did it again in 2012, with a poster that was chosen by judges out of 335 entries.

Whether you’re doing business in the county courthouse in Hood River or the post office in Prineville, Cassiel’s winning artwork will likely be there as a reminder of what neighborhoods look like when fair housing practices are in place. And what better person to interpret the concept than Cassiel, who lives with her mother and grandmother in a duplex run by the nonprofit organization, REACH Community Development, Inc. REACH serves a diverse community of low-income residents in Portland. Some are disabled. Some are elderly. Some are children. And they come from a rich variety of racial and ethnic heritages.

Every April for the past 14 years, as one way of honoring Fair Housing Month, the Fair Housing Council of Oregon runs a statewide poster art contest, open to students in grades one through eight. The challenge given to these students is to draw an interpretation of what fair housing means to them, after learning a little bit about the laws and beliefs behind the idea. This year the poster topic was “Fair Housing Welcomes Everyone Home.”

The judges were eight volunteers from the government and nonprofit sectors, as well as local artists. They must have been amazed to discover that Cassiel’s poster was the winning one two years in a row.

United Nations family

I had a chance to talk with Cassiel, a student at Portland’s Metropolitan Learning Center, after City Commissioner Nick Fish signed the Fair Housing Proclamation at City Hall last week. It didn’t take me long to realize that Cassiel’s ability to symbolize fair housing in words was as astute as it was on paper. One of her metaphors stuck with me. It was about eating. “If you’re a picky eater and you only eat tomatoes,” she said, “you are really limiting yourself.” “If you can eat and digest all foods, you’re open to all things in the world.” Her grandmother, also present, wasn’t surprised at Cassiel’s comment. “We’re a United Nations kind of family,” Margie Thom said.

History lesson

During our conversation, Diane Hess, outreach and education director for the council, brought up a fact that is hard to fathom in 2012 but true. Before 1998, landlords were free to say, “We don’t want kids living in this community .” About 70 percent of landlords actually said this openly to potential renters. Fortunately, such discrimination is illegal now, as is any type of discrimination related to renting or purchasing housing based on “protected class status.”

Even so, people in the housing business still dodge the law, and FCHO exists to protect the public against exclusionary housing practices. The council receives 3,000 to 4,000 calls a year about possible civil rights violations of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. About 10 percent of those calls are lodged as formal complaints and are taken to the next level. Some result in fines or court judgments against the offenders or as settlements to the victims.

Find out about the other artistic students whose poster art was recognized this April by FHCO.

Roseburg Resident is Wells Fargo’s Top Oregon Volunteer top

posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Roseburg resident Cynthia Swinford, a service manager at Wells Fargo in Roseburg, was the company’s top volunteer in Oregon and southwest Washington in 2011. Swinford volunteered more than 1,500 hours last year, mostly for the nonprofit Battered Persons Advocacy (BPA) group in Roseburg.

Wells Fargo held an appreciation luncheon in Portland on Tuesday, April 10, to honor its top volunteers from last year.  Regional President Don Pearson hosted the event, attended by about 80 of the 124 Wells Fargo employees who volunteered at least 125 hours in 2011.

Pearson presented basketballs autographed by Portland Trail Blazers to the top 20 volunteers, including Swinford. She has volunteered for BPA since 1998. She helps staff the agency’s crisis line seven days a month.

“They helped me and I felt strongly connected with them,” she said. “I believe that if you have a skill or compassion to pay it forward and help somebody, it helps the community and it helps the person. I do as much good as I can.”

Swinford also volunteers for the American Cancer Society and the Greater Douglas County United Way. She has worked at Wells Fargo for almost four years. She said the appreciation luncheon on Tuesday “was awesome.”

“I got to meet a lot of great people and I felt really proud to represent Southern Oregon,” she said. “Working at Wells Fargo is more than just coming to the branch. It’s good that Wells Fargo gives us time to volunteer. I’m really grateful to be here.”

Part of the Culture

Volunteerism and community support are part of Wells Fargo’s culture, said Pearson. Wells Fargo’s employees volunteered 73,518 hours for hundreds of schools and nonprofit agencies in Oregon and southwest Washington in 2011. Based on the value of a volunteer’s time (estimated by Independent Sector), those hours are equivalent to a $1.57 million donation.

Wells Fargo employees across the nation volunteered 1.5 million hours to 25,000 nonprofits and schools last year.

“We realize we will only ever be successful as the communities where we operate,” Pearson said. “We expect all of our team members to be community leaders. They help us determine how we should respond to community needs.”

Member Media Coverage

$7.2M Affordable Housing Project Planned for NE Portland top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Fifty new affordable housing units are coming to Northeast Portland. Innovative Housing Inc. is developing a five-story building named The Eliot that will have 1,700 square feet of ground-floor retail and community space. Walsh Construction is partnering with Faison Construction on the $7.2 million apartment project, which is planned to begin in September.

Click here to read more.

[Or in case you, like me, have not paid for a DJC subscription so can only read half of their *%$@ stories, here is Innovative Housing, Inc.‘s interesting write up on the Eliot:]

New Eliot Housing – How We’re Doing It
The Nuts and Bolts

Site Control- The first step of project development is typically securing site control. IHI began negotiating the acquisition of this parcel in the summer of 2010. The then-owner rejected IHI’s purchase offer and later lost the property to foreclosure. After the property reverted to the lender, IHI renewed its offer and entered into a purchase and sale agreement, contingent on IHI’s due diligence and satisfaction with the property. This agreement also included time for IHI to apply to the Portland Housing Bureau for development funds. Since we secured City funding, IHI’s purchase offer has “gone hard,” meaning that our earnest money deposit is now non-refundable and we have removed our conditions to closing. And now that the project is fully funded, thanks to a very generous award of grants and Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the State, we plan to close on acquisition in the Fall and move full steam ahead on the project!

Funding – Affordable housing development involves piecing together many different funding sources. IHI applied to the Portland Housing Bureau for $975,000 in January 2011 and was awarded funding in February 2011. This first commitment of funds is critical, not only to get the ball rolling but also to show local support for the project. With the City on board, IHI was able to apply for additional funds from the State. We submitted this funding application to Oregon’s Housing and Community Services Department in April 2011, requesting an allocation of federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits along with several other state grant sources. On July 22, 2011 we received the thrilling news that the State awarded us nearly $8 Million in grants and tax credits to fully fund the project! The next step will be selecting the tax credit investor to acquire our tax credits and become IHI’s equity partner in the deal.

Design – IHI is working with Carleton Hart Architecture to design a beautiful new building that will blend into the neighborhood and also energize a vacant stretch of streetscape on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Now that the project is fully funded, the design process is in high gear, as we will need final drawings and specifications to apply for permits this fall. The design team is meeting frequently to solidify our programming goals, tour other IHI properties, and discuss building systems. We have an Eco Charrette scheduled for August to explore all the green elements that can be incorporated and help decide what will result in the greatest impact for the project. We will continue working with neighbors to incorporate their feedback on the building’s design. We have already made one change requested by the Eliot Neighborhood Association Land Use Committee – the building steps down one story as it moves away from MLK, to lower its height as we get closer to the existing residential neighborhood. We will continue to post DRAFT renderings on IHI’s website throughout this process as the design evolves.

Construction – IHI involves its contractors early in the development process to tell us how much it will cost to build what is being designed, and also to suggest design changes that will result in a better structure and save money. IHI is working with Walsh Construction Co. and Faison Construction as our general contractors. They will continue to provide cost estimates throughout the design phase and will then take the lead on building the project and coordinating subcontractors during construction. With all funding in place, IHI plans to break ground and begin construction in the summer of 2012.

We will update our progress periodically – thank you for your interest in our work!

First Time for Clackamas Co. Housing Authority: Homeless Vet Vouchers top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

“Federal grants target homeless vets: Clackamas County Housing Authority receives funding for the first time,” By Raymond Rendleman, The Clackamas Review, Mar 27, 2012

The federal bureau of Housing and Urban Development awarded $373,592 to the Housing Authority of Portland [Home Forward] and $178,708 to the Housing Authority of Clackamas County County on Tuesday.

While the Housing Authority of Portland previously has received HUD rental vouchers targeted to assist homeless vets, March 27 marks the first time that the Clackamas County’s Housing Authority has received them.

HUD and Veterans Affairs will provide HUD rental vouchers and VA case management to 610 more homeless veterans this year – 50 in Alaska, 50 in Idaho, 185 in Oregon and 325 in Washington state.

Click here to read more.

New Columbia Takes Small Steps Toward New Life top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Residents try to calm once troubled area so families will thrive

By Jennifer Anderson, The Portland Tribune, Apr 5, 2012

(news photo)

>Rashaun Gavros, 11, (left) and Abdi Mas, 17, have grown up playing basketball and experiencing the good and the bad associated with the New Columbia neighborhood. CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT / TRIBUNE PHOTO

Two vacant blocks of land at the heart of New Columbia in North Portland are not much more than soggy patches of grass.

That soon could change.

Plans are on the drawing board to use some of the vacant space for a bicycle hub for the 2,500 residents who call New Columbia home, half of whom are under 18. It would include a pump bike track for kids and a bike repair shop, where residents would be taught how to fix their own bikes.

Click here to read more.

How Do Residents Engage in Green Living? FHDC top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

from Enterprise Community Partners 4/25/12 enewsletter

Earth Week is a perfect opportunity to reflect and celebrate our collective achievements in developing and preserving high-quality affordable housing that is smartly located, resource efficient, healthy for residents and environmentally responsible.

Enterprise Green Communities is profiling the accomplishments of six organizations that received grants one year ago to support resident-led efforts to engage in green living:

Check out the latest section of our website, Resident Engagement in Practice, which showcases the lessons learned, best practices and customized educational tools that grew out of each of these organization’s year-long resident engagement programs. View and explore their strategies to promote health and green living practices.

We commend the extraordinary work of our community partners to empower residents to engage in behavior that reduces their impact on the environment and extends the green and healthy building features of their homes into their lives.

Service Groups Press County for Money top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

“Service groups press county for money: Nonprofits want $1.5 million more against local domestic abuse,” By Raymond Rendleman,The Clackamas Review, Mar 27, 2012

A coalition of 28 nonprofit and civic leaders last week asked the Board of County Commissioners to spend $1.5 million more of Clackamas County funding next year on programs serving child victims of abuse and violence.

The Red Ribbon Council packed a March 20 hearing with many people who had experienced abuse to lobby commissioners for the funding.

“The voter sentiment that these are very high priority issues and that these should be prioritized within the current county budget,” said Martha McLennan, executive director of Northwest Housing Alternatives.

Click here to read more.

Proposed SNAP Cuts Would Affect One in Five Oregonians top

posted on Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

from Public News Service-OR, April 20, 2012

When one in five Oregonians is enrolled in the program formerly known as food stamps, it’s big news when a congressional committee suggests sweeping cuts to the program. It happened this week in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Fifth District Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, sits on the House Agriculture Committee, which voted this week to recommend cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $36 billion in the next 10 years. That’s in line with the GOP budget mandates to reduce spending, although the committee cut even deeper than the $33 billion goal.

The panel also chose to cut only SNAP rather than trimming smaller amounts from other ag-related programs.

For the Oregon Food Bank Network, the vote amounts to “political showmanship,” according to Jeff Kleen, its public policy advocate.

“The budget resolution is a political statement. So, when shocking cuts like this are made, it really reflects a set of priorities. We’re very concerned when feeding hungry Americans is not a priority of the House Ag Committee.”

The Senate is not expected to accept the committee’s recommendation when it takes up the House budget proposal, Kleen says. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Oregon has “significantly higher” participation in the SNAP program than do two-thirds of the states.

In addition to feeding the hungry, Kleen says, SNAP dollars circulate through the economy, spent at grocery stores and farmers markets. Thus, he says, the cuts would affect more than just the recipients.

“The program is bringing in more than $1 billion of federal funds. Those are funds that are coming into Oregon – I would hate to think where our economy would have been over the last year or two or three without that economic-stimulus impact of those dollars.”

The Oregon Food Bank Network already is meeting record demand for emergency food, and Kleen says charities would not be able to make up for the loss of so much federal nutrition assistance. The Ag Committee is one of six which the budget plan advanced by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., required to propose cuts in order to prevent other cuts to defense spending.

Click here to view this story on the Public News Service RSS site and access an audio version of this and other stories: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/26018-1

Library Dreaming: Cornelius and Bienestar top

posted on Monday, April 30th, 2012

By Christian Gaston, The Forest Grove News-Times, “Library dreaming: Cornelius and Bienestar are developing a plan to build a $13.5 million mixed-use library project on the city’s main street,” Apr 25, 2012

(news photo)

Sometime next year, residents of Cornelius might be voting on whether or not to pay for a new library.

But the price tag will be a shocker – in a good way.

The city is exploring a joint agreement with Hillsboro non-profit housing agency Bienestar that would result in a quarter-block redevelopment on the same block where the city library currently stands. The top floors would consist of 45 apartments for low-income senior citizens.

Click here to read more.

One Fun Thing

How is Cathey Briggs? top

posted on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

We had the distinct pleasure of having coffee with Oregon ON’s former Executive Director Cathey Briggs this week, and got caught up on her gallivanting around. As is characteristic, Cathey just can’t help helping people, and is doing some work with Catholic Charities/Caritas Housing, CAPO, and volunteering with Community Warehouse.

She also helped one son get married, later this year will see another son get married, and she and her husband traveled to France and Italy.

But the really important news is, she learned to make goat cheese! Here is a picture of her and one of the adorable pygmy goats.

Doesn’t she look relaxed and happy? I’m not sure; the next picture we get from her may be of her new herd of pygmy yard goats!


New Form of Housing is No Tin Can top

posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
By Richard J. Brennan, TheSpec.com, Apr 17 2012
This architect's rendering shows what recycled shipping containers will look like on a Vancouver street once they have been refurbished. The goal is to provide affordable housing.

< This architect’s rendering shows what recycled shipping containers will look like on a Vancouver street once they have been refurbished. The goal is to provide affordable housing.


Vancouver is set to be the first city in Canada to use stacked refurbished shipping containers for affordable housing.

While the idea has been met with mixed reaction, city council has agreed after a lengthy study that it makes sense. The 12-unit project to be located in the city’s eastside was to be approved Tuesday.

“It’s the first of its kind in Canada but definitely not the first in the world,” Janice Abbott, executive director of the Atira Women’s Resource Society, told the Star. “We work with a lot of women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.”

Click here to read more.