[Photo 1: One of the houses rehabilitated using CDBG-R funds]
One of the houses rehabilitated using CDBG-R funds

PORTLAND, OREGON - On June 16th, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, a non-profit that, since 1994, has been in the business of providing "affordable housing and associated services that achieve family stability, self-sufficiency and resident wealth creation" held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion and "grand re-opening" of 12 rehabilitation projects in North Portland.

"Oh no," you say, "not another ribbon-cutting story!" But hold on, please, for just a second. Consider, if you will, all that's behind those ribbons.

Like the long vacant 12 units of housing that now are being re-occupied and put back on the tax rolls. Like the funds from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act that didn't go to bail-out a Wall Street bank, but to help revitalize residential neighborhoods where people like you and me have long lived and worked and raised their families. Like the preservation - and not the demolition - of housing, some of it built more than a hundred years ago, that maintains the unique look and feel that's been home to generations of Portlanders.

Like the 3,100 hours of work at good wages that construction trades people got in rehabilitating the units. Like the opportunities "several" small start-up subcontractors got to work, for the very first time, on a project involving Federal funds under the tutelage of the experienced prime contractor, Colas Construction. Like the opportunities provided members of the Oregon Tradeswomen's apprentice program to get on-site experience.

[Photo 2: A group of workers affiliated with Oregon Tradeswomen who participated in the rehab]
A group of workers affiliated with Oregon Tradeswomen who participated in the rehab

Or, best of all, like the 12 more to families at 60 percent or less of area median income who will now have an affordable place to call home and to build a new future. PCRI's "scatter-site approach helps to weave families into the fabric of their neighborhoods and is a consistent and unique opportunity for PCRI to eliminate some concentrations of poverty," PCRI executive director Maxine Fitzpatrick explained in a recent blog.

The work at each property was extensive, whether in a single-family detached homes in the University Park area or an eight-unit apartment building just off North Mississippi Avenue was extensive. New exterior siding and interior ventilation. New windows and new appliances.

"I love that it's an old house so it's got all the character," said Oregon Opportunity Network's Orion Lumiere of one of the newly-rehabbed properties, "But everything in it looks so new. It's the best of both worlds."

These days a lot of folks, understandably, are asking what kinds of "outcomes" do government-funded programs are deliver. Well, maybe they ought to visit North Portland. Looking for outcomes it's pretty clear that there they'll find a jackpot.


Content Archived: December 23, 2013