Group will oversee process that ensures a transparent, community-serving project


February 2, 2018
Contact: Michael Cox

Portland, OR – A group of community representatives tasked with leading the visioning and development process for the Hill Block project at North Russell Street and North Williams Avenue will hold an open house and information session on Tuesday, February 20, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at New Song Community Church, to collect individual feedback from community members regarding their hopes, concerns, and aspirations for the property.

The February event will mark the transition of project stewardship from institutional partners to the Hill Block Project Working Group and introduce the Project Working Group to the community.

On August 1, 2017, Prosper Portland, the Office of City of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Legacy Health announced a collaborative project to develop the Hill Block property, a vacant 1.7 acre block currently owned by Legacy Health. The property is located within an area that Prosper Portland and the City of Portland condemned in the early 1970s under urban renewal for an expansion of the hospital campus, displacing 171 families, 74 percent of which were African American. The focus of the new development is to honor Portland’s African-American community, support community housing and economic needs, and further Legacy Health’s mission of promoting health and wellness for children and families.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said, “We’re grateful to our partners at Legacy Health and Prosper Portland, and especially appreciative of the many community organizations that nominated representatives to serve on the Project Working Group. We’re looking forward to moving ahead in a positive way with a group that could become a model for future city of Portland outreach efforts.”

Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam said, “With the launch of the Project Working Group, we’ve embarked on a strong community-based process that will define and expand decision-making beyond institutional partners. This is a historic opportunity to acknowledge the mistakes of the past and learn from diverse voices, expertise and vision to deliver a project that honors the African American community and fosters opportunity for wealth creation.”

George Brown, M.D., president and CEO of Legacy Health, said, “This development will benefit the community by helping to expand Legacy Emanuel’s mission of healing in this community. In looking ahead at Legacy’s needs and the community’s needs, as well as looking at what opportunities Prosper Portland and the City of Portland can offer, I am exceptionally pleased that we can be a part of what I believe will be a historic partnership.”

Nominations to the Project Working Group involved outreach to more than 20 organizations and community groups within or with a strong connection to the North/Northeast community. Two seats on the Project Working Group were reserved for community-at-large members who could submit their own statements of interest. In determining the final roster, the Nominating Committee, composed of community representatives, focused on generational diversity and a broad set of perspectives and skills. A list of the Project Working Group members and background on the project are available here.

The Project Working Group will oversee a year-long visioning and development process that ensures a transparent, community-serving project; oversee the selection of the development team; and communicate about its work to the organizations and stakeholders it represents as well as the community at large.