A micro-enterprise business campus,  historical markers on Alberta Street, and space for the city’s first African-American museum are among the most significant awards

Contact: Shawn Uhlman, email, 503-823-7994

Prosper Portland will award $300,000 in Community Livability Grants for fiscal year 2016-17 to eight projects in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area.

The Community Livability Grant project list includes proposals that honor the area’s culture and history, provide greater accessibility to community centers, improve business and marketing services for local micro-enterprises, and increase community space to accommodate Portland’s first African American museum.

The recipient list is as follows:

OrganizationProject Name & DescriptionAwardTotal Project Budget
Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO)MESO Business Campus. Funding to optimize MESO owned properties to support a Business, Marketing and Sales Training Center, the Child Care Improvement Project, and staff offices. $75,000$290,645
Vancouver Avenue First Baptist ChurchBuilding Expansion. Expand building square footage from 6,000 to 10,000 square feet to expand non-religious programming including space for Portland’s first permanent African American Museum$62,500$262,200
Billy Webb Elks LodgeSupport for major kitchen upgrade to accommodate events and for external signage.$62,500$155,000
St. Andrew and All Souls Episcopal ChurchPortland Abbey Accessibility. Improve accessibility to the lower level hall and the addition of an ADA compliant restroom on the main floor.$40,000$223,487
Friends of the Children - PortlandADA Lift. Installation of a wheelchair lift to the basement level to optimize both office and youth-dedicated programming spaces. $25,000$101,500
Alberta Main StreetHistorical Markers. Support the design, creation, fabrication and installation of permanent, cultural/historical markers on Alberta Street to honor the area’s African American history and community.$20,000$53,235
Oregon Community WarehouseFurniture Bank Improvements. Improvements to Estate Store flooring and parking lot area. $10,000$60,000
Polish Library Building AssociationExterior Painting. Funding to paint the exterior walls of the Polish Library Building.$5,000$17,600

Successful grant applicants are required to make a good faith effort to contract with State of Oregon certified Minority-Owned, Woman-Owned, Disadvantaged or Emerging Small Businesses (M/W/D/ESBs). Prosper Portland staff will work with this year’s awardees to identify potential M/W/D/ESB contractors for project work.

Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam said, “Community Livability Grants are one of our most valuable tools to help communities fulfill neighborhood action plans and better serve diverse populations throughout the city. We believe these successful proposals will advance our goals to enhance partnerships and support thriving, vibrant neighborhoods in the North/Northeast community.”

Raymond Burrell of Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church said, “In an age where community involvement and partnerships are increasingly being recognized as indispensable, there is clearly a growing potential for cooperative development and revitalization efforts citywide. Prosper Portland’s valiant commitment to building healthy, vibrant and active communities recognizes that businesses, non-profit organizations, and civil society associations are vital resources that contribute to building a more robust global Portland community.”

Members of the North/Northeast Community Development Initiative Oversight Committee served on the grant evaluation committee.

The Community Livability Grant Program gives funding priority to projects that improve access to jobs and workforce development services; support wealth creation opportunities for small business owners; honor and enhance the neighborhood’s cultural diversity and history; and/or deliver a community asset tailored to the community’s expressed priorities and opportunities.

The Interstate projects were evaluated in the context of their contribution to goals in the North/Northeast Community Development Initiative Action Plan adopted by Portland City Council in January 2017, which put particular emphasis on partnerships with community-based organizations that drive economic development outcomes and serve communities that have experienced displacement or not benefited from economic opportunities (e.g. African Americans, people of color, and people with disabilities).

Since 2006, Prosper Portland has awarded more than $5 million to 100-plus community livability projects across multiple urban renewal areas. This year’s awards will leverage an estimated $1.1 million in other funds and hundreds of hours of volunteer labor.