By Midge Pierce

Despite the City’s long-standing promise to establish a nearby recreation and community center, inner SE lacks city-funded resources comparable to other parts of the City. As that broken promise lingers, nonprofits and churches try to fill needs on limited budgets with varying success.

TaborSpace, the historic, 36,000 square foot so-called living room at SE 55th and Belmont, hosts events and upwards of 3000 people weekly. Some seek cool shelter, techies like quiet workplaces and grandmas tag along with offspring. The mindful attend workshops and those in pain go to heal hearts, health issues and marriages.

The role of community anchor comes at a cost though as TaborSpace struggles to pay for deferred maintenance to fix its leaky windows, repair roofs and deliver on good intentions of replacing outdated lighting with more environmentally friendly LEDs.

To help offset the upkeep costs, Fundraiser Event Chair Cecile Pitts urges community members to reserve spots for the November 3 TaborSpace Gala. Community members can donate items to be auctioned and purchase sponsorships.

“It takes a village,” she says, to keep things running. The $45 tickets cover gourmet treats from Wonderland of Food, drink vouchers and entertainment from jazz pianist Kerry Politzer.

Auction items range from multi-night getaways to a wine wall and fancy baskets that include baby layettes and pampering for pets. For the fun at heart, fairy hair will be available. For information see taborspace.org/gala

“Last year was our first real effort to bring the community into our building preservation effort,” says Pitts. “The outpouring of support has been wonderful and humbling. People from all over SE Portland are reaching out to share what this lovely, quiet, sacred space means to them.”

The need for community space grows even as nonprofit revenues and church congregations shrink.

Program Coordinator Josh Pinkston says TaborSpace fills a critical role. “We have an unheard of mix of families with kids, professionals and those needing shelter for a few hours.”

During the hot days of summer, TaborSpace became a favored place to get in out of searing heat as well as for quiet reflection, coffee and classes that range from music, art, language to holistic healing and spiritual practices.