Prosper Portland Awards Community Livability Grants

By Kris McDowell

For the 2023-24 fiscal year, Prosper Portland has awarded $865,000 in Community Livability Grants to 15 projects from community-based organizations in four Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts or neighborhoods (Gateway Regional Center, Lents Town Center, Interstate Corridor and Central Eastside). The projects are intended to foster vibrant and healthy neighborhoods and improve the prosperity of area residents and businesses. Of the 15, six are in the Central Eastside.
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; deliver a community asset tailored to the community’s expressed priorities and opportunities; and advance goals of area-specific action plans.
Bosco-Milligan Foundation, the owner and operator of the Architectural Heritage Center (AHC), was awarded $30,000 for improvements to the AHC, a non-profit resource for historic preservation. These grant funds will allow them to conduct needed repairs and systems upgrades to their 140-year-old historic building so they can continue to be an active community resource. AHC’s programming strives to inform and encourage the preservation of historic buildings and public spaces that embody Portland’s diverse cultural heritage and to promote the important role of restoration and reuse in our battles to lower carbon emissions and boost housing supply.
$50,000 was awarded to Central Eastside Together for a series of public art murals. Central Eastside Together is an Enhanced Service District (ESD) within the Central Eastside Industrial Council. They seek to foster a safer district, enhance the pedestrian experience, reinforce economic viability and promote Central Eastside’s unique identity through innovative and highly-responsive programs.
On a mission to empower disenfranchised communities to overcome social and environmental injustices and adapt to climate change through urban re-greening, Depave received $50,000 for community greenspace. They believe paved surfaces contribute to stormwater pollution, whereby rainwater carries toxic urban pollutants to local streams and rivers, degrading water quality and riparian habitats and disconnects people from the natural world.
Friends of Green Loop, a community-based organization that promotes, advocates and helps to advance the development of the Green Loop, will be using the $16,500 they were awarded to improve the community space at Bear Block. Located at the landing of the Blumenauer Bridge, it’s a key opportunity to welcome bike and pedestrian users of the bridge to the Central Eastside and visitors to the Lloyd District and Convention Center. The main area will contain a beer garden and food with rotating vendors, bike parking, two stages and covered seating. The parking lot to the north of the area will be used on weekends as a market space for vendors. The grant funds will contribute to construction costs, the majority of which comes from private funding. They hope to be open for a special grand opening event early this fall.
Literary Arts will be using their $123,000 in grant money for the renovation of a new headquarters at 716 SE Grand Ave. When the community-based nonprofit, which works to engage readers, support writers and inspire the next generation with great literature, began, they had seven staff. Now with 18 staff (22 when they fill vacant positions), serving 75 percent more students, offering 70 adult writing classes and producing the Portland Regional Book Festival, their programming has exceeded their physical constraints, necessitating a new home. The space will establish a permanent home for the organization that includes new public cultural space. This month they will begin renovations with completion and move-in anticipated to take place Summer 2024.
Miracle Theatre Group, the Northwest’s premiere Hispanic Arts and Culture Organization, received $15,900 for capital improvements. They will be using this grant to match with a grant received from Travel Portland to do improvements to sound, add a portable teak dance floor and install an exterior mural at their community gathering space, Zocalo. The goal is to have the improvements done for the opening of Season40 Hope, Courage & Resilience, which kicks off with Worry Dolls September 15.
Since 2006, Prosper Portland has awarded nearly $14 million to 245 community livability projects across multiple neighborhoods and TIF districts. Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam said, “Our investment in these community-serving projects demonstrates our commitment to the programs and initiatives of neighborhood districts that are vital to the city’s continued stabilization and growth. We’re so pleased to continue helping community organizations fulfill the aspirations of their neighborhoods and better serve diverse populations throughout the city with this year’s grants.”

Prosper Portland Awards Community Livability Grants

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top