Community Livability Grant Program
About the Program
Each year, the Portland Development Commission seeks proposals that foster vibrant and healthy neighborhoods within the Interstate Corridor, Lents Town Center and Gateway Regional Center urban renewal areas, and the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood (bridging the River District and Downtown Waterfront URAs.) Grants are available through the PDC Community Livability Grant Program for real property improvements to public facilities and neighborhood and cultural amenities that meet the needs and honor the diversity of area residents.
Grants are awarded through a competitive process and are intended to encourage projects that address community objectives, advance social equity, focus on disadvantaged Portlanders, and build local community capacity. Projects must add, expand or improve physical space that benefits the broader community. Examples include:
- Community health or nutrition centers
- Education and workforce training centers
- Recreational space
- Childcare centers
- Open space and community gardens
- Music, arts and cultural centers
- Historic or cultural assets
- Senior centers
PDC has awarded more than $3 million in Community Livability Grants since 2006. The typical grant ranges from $5,000 to $50,000. The schedule for FY 2015-2016 Grants will be announced by September 1, 2015. Please check back for additional information. For program updates, join our email list (under Email Options, choose Projects & Programs > Community Livability Grant).
CLG Award Recipients FY 2014-15
Community Livability Grants – making a difference in neighborhoods across the city
SE Works ribbon cutting in February 2014
PDC’s Community Livability Grant program has been integral to the growth and expansion of SE Works, Inc., a community-based workforce development organization providing employment, training and supportive services at 7916 SE Foster Road. Since 2010, PDC has provided $163,726 in grants to assist SE Works, creating larger and more efficient space, adding programs, and growing employment from 15 to 40, making the agency one of the largest nonprofit employers in SE Portland.
SE Works WorkSource Portland Metro-SE provides employment services for a high poverty community, reaching unemployed individuals looking for work; young adults ages 18-24 who have been involved in the justice system; and offering services for adult reentry and for immigrants and refugees who need their credentials evaluated so that they can return to their professional occupations from their home country.
With help from PDC, SE Works’ current office has grown to 25,000 SF serving 3,300 customers and close to 19,000 job seekers. Holly Whittleton, SE Works Executive Director, says, “Our staff and customers love the beautiful new space, the air quality, the light and the colors and comment on how nice it is to work here. The support PDC provides not only benefits these individuals and their families, it enriches our community and provides employers with a talented and culturally competent labor force.”
SE Works is a prime example of the community capacity building that is the focus of PDC’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the Lents area. It has become an anchor institution in a building that was mostly vacant four years ago. Other non-profits and small businesses near this area have started, expanded, or improved their buildings with public investment, including Junior Achievement, All State Insurance, Above the Rest Homebrewing, Eva’s Herbucha, Maylie Grayson, LLP, Le Car, and Urban Indoor Garden.
PDC was proud to support the construction of Bless Field at New Columbia, dedicated on June 14, 2014. PDC provided a Community Livability Grant to help build the 9000-square foot turf field adjacent to the Regence Boys and Girls Club, Rosa Parks Elementary, and the Community Cycling Center’s Bicycle Repair Hub and Bike Skills Park, built in 2013 with help from the Community Livability Grant program.
Named for pioneering Timbers Army icon Hartmut Bless, and funded in large part by PDC and The 107 Independent Supporters Trust, a Timbers-affiliated non-profit organization, the field is designed, optimally, for teams of 10-year-olds and younger, and it will be used by several youth soccer programs currently operating in the community.
New Columbia has more than 1,200 kids from more than 22 countries and 11 different languages, but they all speak soccer. Bless Field was built to be a clean, safe, all-season and centralized place where the kids of New Columbia can play and grow together. With the nearby Hub and Skills Park, which help remove barriers to bicycling faced by low-income and minority youth, New Columbia now has an entire block dedicated to recreation, health and greater livability for the neighborhood.
The Bless Field project received additional support from the Portland Timbers, Providence Health & Services, Adidas, Widmer Bros., LifeWise Health Plans of Oregon, Oregon Premiere Leagues, and other Portland-area organizations and individuals.
Bless Field was the first capital construction project of Operation Pitch Invasion, a local, grass-roots charity formed to build, revitalize and maintain soccer fields throughout the Portland metro area so that players of all ages and skill levels have high quality and safe playing surfaces to enjoy the beautiful game. For more information, visit www.pitch-invasion.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Between 2009 and 2012, Cody Goldberg and his wife April led a movement that designed, funded and built the first totally inclusive playground in Portland. Harper’s Playground, at Arbor Lodge Park in the Interstate Corridor URA, on N. Bryant and N. Delaware, ultimately raised $1.2 million and received a PDC Community Livability Grant for more than $65,000.
Three years of fundraising – bake sales, grant requests, benefit concerts, birthday parties, art auctions, pro bono and in-kind donations – culminated in a joyful ribbon-cutting ceremony in November 2012. Harper’s Playground was featured on NBC’s TODAY Show and the Goldbergs had a day named for them by then-Mayor Sam Adams for their efforts.
Cody Goldberg speaks frequently about the lessons he’s learned about collaboration, design and politics, and his dreams of creating a better childhood for his own children.
On the Playground website he says, “Our community playground was off-limits to our daughter because she uses wheels to get around. We founded Harper’s Playground to change this. We assembled a team of top designers and shared our vision. We asked for and received help from many. The playground went from dream to reality. We are thrilled with the outcomes, and invite you to come enjoy it with your family. We know you will find that a well designed inclusive play area is truly better… for everyone! We are proud that Harper's Playground promotes more play for more people. We embrace these three powerful and important forces for a better world; COMMUNITY - INCLUSION - PLAY!!!”
Harper’s Playground is a wonderful example of public-private partnership, and marked a new era in play area design and improved types of environments being created for all children to be outdoors exercising and creating community together.
For program updates, join our email list (under Email Options, choose Projects & Programs > Community Livability Grant).
For more information, contact:
Senior Program Manager
PDC, 222 NW Fifth Avenue
Portland, OR 97209