PCRI Groundbreaking at MLK & Rosa Parks

A PCRI press release today tells us:

“On Friday, February 15th at 11am, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives Inc., (PCRI) invites the media and community stakeholders to join in the celebration to begin the construction of King + Parks, a 70 unit affordable housing development being built at the corner of NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Rosa Parks Way.
The event will feature a Land Acknowledgement ceremony in honor of the indigenous Native Tribes of this land, and the historic African American settlers, both communities which experienced traumatic displacement. The ceremony will also pay tribute to the fearless freedom fighters, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, whose names adorn the intersecting streets of the development.
King + Parks is part of a series of developments which were greenlighted through PCRI’s innovative Pathway 1000, a displacement mitigation strategy designed by PCRI as a “Right To Return” initiative for the displaced residents that primarily consisted of the African American community, indigenous populations, and other long-term residents.
At the behest of the Portland Housing Bureau and Commissioner Dan Saltzman who selected the team to develop the site, PCRI and partners, Colas Construction and Merryman Barnes Architects, are moving full-steam ahead with construction in an ongoing effort to address Portland’s history of urban renewal and other actions by City government in North and Northeast Portland that have systematically marginalized and displaced many longtime residents of that community. Utilizing Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) N/NE Preference Policy, PCRI’s Pathway 1000 plan prioritizes families and individuals with generational ties to N/NE Portland for new affordable housing opportunities in the area and gives opportunities to housing applications from current or former residents of those areas and their descendants.
The first successful implementation of the plan resulted in the construction of the Beatrice Morrow Cannady Apartment Complex located on NE MLK last year. The building’s namesake, civil rights worker Beatrice Morrow Cannady (1889-1974), was renowned as a tireless advocate for the Black community, the first African-American woman to practice law in Oregon and a distinguished chair of the Portland NAACP’s committee on legal redress
The King Parks complex promises to be another jewel in the community and a victory in the struggle for affordable housing opportunities in Portland.
“King Parks is another step in the right direction that seeks to correct the housing issues caused by income disparities in the city of Portland and State of Oregon. Beyond the brick and mortar development, this project, implemented through the Pathway 1000 strategy, also addresses unemployment, under employment, wage disparities and the inequitable treatment that lead to these noted disparate outcomes which hit-low income and communities of color especially hard.”     
–Maxine Fitzpatrick, PCRI’s Executive Director.
Please contact Fawn Aberson at fawnaberson@flossinmedia.com, 971-388-3117 (text or call) to RSVP your attendance at the ceremony and, or, to schedule an interview with
PCRI’s Executive Director, Maxine Fitzpatrick.”

Tomorrow: PUSHIT! [exercise 1 in getting well soon]… on MLK Boulevard

US WEST COAST PREMIERE: Can resistance be choreographed? PUSHIT!, a site-responsive performance by NIC Kay, is a meditation on emotional labor and the impossibility of the stage as a place of freedom for the Black performer. This work is part of a larger set of exercises in getting-well-soon. Tuesday’s performance is in Piedmont, setting off from the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard & Lombard.


NIC Kay is from the Bronx, currently occupying several liminal spaces. They are a person who makes performances and creates/organizes performative spaces. They are obsessed with the act and process of moving the change of place, production of space, position, and the clarity/meaning gleaned from the shifting of perspective. NIC’s current transdisciplinary projects explore movement as a place of reclamation of the body, history, and spirituality.

NIC has shown work, spoken on panels, and hosted workshops at numerous venues throughout the United States, and Internationally. In 2016, they developed a web series called the Bronx Cunt Tour around their debut solo performance lil BLK for Open TV, which premiered in April, 2016. NIC Kay was a 2017 Movement Research Artist-in-Residence Van Lier Fellow in New York City.

Run time: 120 min.

Mobility Note: Full performance viewing requires walking for approximately 3 miles/2 hours. Please contact PICA’s box office at 503-224-PICA with any access or accommodation questions or concerns.

Now is the Time, the Time is Now

“Isaka Shamsud-Din painted this mural in 1989 at the Irvington Covenant Church on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Shaver Street in Portland, Oregon. It was part of a program designed to train and employ promising young artists, enhance the cityscape, foster a sense of community pride and aid in revitalization efforts in the area. Now is the Time, the Time is Now is about education, the importance of history, identity for the African American community and knowledge of where they came from.

The mural was created with a second companion mural on the south side of the building designed by Shamsud-Din and painted by the artists Paul Odighizuwa, Charlotte Lewis, and Kathy Pennington. Regrettably this second mural was destroyed in fall, 2009 due to necessary construction on the building.

This mural depicting King and other prominent black Americans is one of the oldest murals in Portland,. Teenage apprentices helped him paint the 70-by-20-foot mural, which took the summer and fall of 1989. It was funded through Percent for Art – Multnomah County, Private Industry Council. It has been anthologized in several art books.”

Brief video at: https://vimeo.com/199626093



“Urban renewal hurt African Americans, officials say. Now Portland leaders want to make amends”

Unbelievably, the city had to spend money to figure this out:

Urban renewal had decimated Portland’s African American neighborhoods before. But, in 2000, city leaders promised this time would be different. This time, they said, money spent in North and Northeast Portland would benefit the poor, the elderly and people of color.

Sixteen years later, that still hasn’t happened.

“We over-promised and under-delivered,” said Kimberly Branam, the executive director of the Portland Development Commission, which oversees the city’s urban renewal projects. The plan’s intended beneficiaries, Branam said, “were, in fact, those who were most harmed.”

Wouldn’t it be something if the PDC admitted that, in fact, urban renewal acted just as it was supposed to – to clear inner N/NE of black and poor people, and create a gentrified urban core?

Wouldn’t it be something if the gentrifiers in inner N/NE stopped saying things like, “they {the black community of two or three decades ago} wanted it this way, wanted the neighborhood improved”?

Wouldn’t it be fine if the city served the people who live in it?

Anyway, read more at OregonLive, if you can stomach it. The work PAALF did when the Trader Joe’s deal was announced has had incalculable, invaluable effects on this city – we’re the better for it, even if the city needs to pay someone to tell them it’s so.

Black Cinema 2: Friday November 4th at Portland Community Media.


Black Cinema 2: A Deep Responsibility to Live Up to

Friday, November 4th
Portland Community Media | 2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Doors at 7pm, Films at 7:30
Free, donations welcome

Two black-and-white 16mm films from the early 1970s will be presented in this program that seeks to address race and the need for real change in this country. In a hardly seen 1972 interview at Malcolm X College, Angela Davis talks about the upcoming presidential election, campaigning for the Communist Party candidates Gus Hall and Jarvis Tyner, and her freedom after 16 months in prison. Malcolm X Speaks is a touching and well-rounded documentary made by Gil Noble and WABC-TV five years after Malcolm X’s assassination in 1965. It is a different type of biography, showing excerpts from speeches, but also listing his favorite dance moves. Malcolm X’s sense of humor comes through and his ideas shine. Newscaster Gil Noble, who anchored the show Like It Is for over forty years, has an incredible presence. It is sobering to see these films from the past and to reflect on how much we still need to change.

During the event, there will be prompted moments for discussion. We hope that a robust community conversation will take place.
Supported in part by Multnomah County Cultural Coalition and Oregon Cultural Trust

Angela Davis at Malcolm X College
US, 1972, 16mm to video, b&w, sound, 33 min.
Courtesy of The Chicago Film Archive.
Malcolm X Speaks by Gil Noble
US, 1971, 16mm, b&w, sound, 50 min.
Courtesy of Stephen Slappe.