Development process will engage community impacted by displacement and include medical services, affordable housing and community amenities

CONTACT: Michael Cox, Mayor Wheeler’s office, 503-823-4046

PORTLAND, OR – Legacy Health, Prosper Portland and the City of Portland today announced a collaborative effort to develop a 1.7 acre vacant block at North Russell Street and North Williams Avenue currently owned by Legacy Health. The focus of the development is to honor Portland’s African-American community, contribute to the neighborhood’s vibrancy, and further Legacy Health’s mission of promoting health and wellness for children and families.

A Project Working Group will be established to oversee a visioning process and the selection of the development team with the objective of ensuring a transparent and community-centered project with significant community engagement.  The Project Working Group will include representatives from Prosper Portland, Legacy Health, the Portland Housing Bureau and a wide array of community partners.

“I don’t view today’s announcement as an attempt to make up for what has transpired. Rather, today’s announcement indicates our shared path toward the future, “said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “It is to make clear that whatever ultimately is built on those properties will be done in collaboration with the community and will include projects that serve and support the community.”

“This development will benefit the community by helping to expand Legacy Emanuel’s mission of healing in this community,” says George J. Brown, M.D., Legacy Health president and CEO. “It will also provide a new location for the spiritual center for what was once the center of Portland’s African American community. It will provide an opportunity for retail space, for healthcare space and for community space. It will contribute to the pool of affordable housing that is sorely needed in our community. It is my hope that it will also provide a permanent space to honor the heritage of the African American community.”

“As a lifelong Portlander and resident of North and Northeast Portland, I know the history of this site,” said Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam. “We know that one project cannot and will not make up for the past, but we are also hopeful that a project grounded in a shared commitment to Portland’s African-American community and to the health of individuals and families can promote community healing in the process.”

Read Executive Director Branam’s remarks from the announcement

Immediate next steps include:

  1. Summer 2017: Make a minor amendment to the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area (ICURA) boundary to add the subject site to ICURA and enable access to Tax Increment Finance (TIF) resources from Prosper Portland and the Portland Housing Bureau; an
  2. Summer 2017: Establish a Project Working Group that will guide the development and community outreach and engagement
  3. Fall 2017: Project Working Group meetings and community visioning forums begin

The development will complement the adjacent Legacy Health Medical Center campus and include medical offices, a surgery center and a patient and family housing center. Additional uses with the project would better engage the community by including such potential elements as inter-generational affordable and workforce housing for seniors and families, community gathering spaces, a cultural business hub, open space, or other community-desired amenities.

The process and resulting collaborative project will activate a historic corner within North Portland and will benefit and honor Portland’s African American community.

For more details about this project please contact Michael Cox in Mayor Wheeler’s office at 503-823-4046.