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Building inclusive, safe and livable neighborhoods and communities.

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Spirit of Portland 2015 Awardees

Outstanding Community Group or Organization

Enough is Enough

Enough Is Enough is a community-led campaign created to give voice to families and others impacted by gun-related violence, to aid in the healing of those exposed to violence by promoting a message of unity and empowerment.  Enough is Enough has offered community-led efforts that generate conversation and activism amongst those affected by violence, which have been especially important in 2015 due to an increase in gun related violence experienced by Portland and other US cities. 

To accomplish this members of Enough is Enough have partnered with local business, faith-based organizations, social services, schools, and state and federal agencies to promote healthy relationships with our community.

Enough is Enough grew out of community concern over tragic gun violence related events which occurred in July and in early August of 2014.  The first city wide Enough is Enough community meeting was held on August 18, 2014.  It was noted by attending media as: 

“A community effort to quell increasing gang violence in Portland a day after a woman was killed, three men were wounded downtown and another man was shot at a local park. The city campaign urges people to get involved in protecting their neighborhoods and partnering with police to curb the shootings and stabbings”

During that meeting dozens of people crammed into the community room at the North Community Policing Center to join the Enough is Enough campaign.



Individual Making a Difference


A tireless and passionate advocate for persons with disabilities, Suzanne Stahl has been an active member of the Portland Commission on Disability. She was appointed by Mayor Sam Adams in December 2011 and immediately recognized for her enthusiasm, knowledge, skills and ability in promoting the civil rights of people with disabilities.

Her abilities became readily apparent on the Commission as she became actively engaged with its Accessibility in the Built Environment committee (ABE). Her involvement in the discussions with committee members, bureau staff and the public demonstrated her talents in community outreach, advocacy, public policy, program evaluation and process management. When the committee chair position became vacant, she was unanimously elected to it.

An example of her engagement happened at a PCOD executive board meeting when a woman spoke about a problem in the New Columbia development. Persons requiring the use of a lift ride were facing new vehicles that had the lift unit in the back of the vehicle. There was not a disabled parking spot to accommodate them, so they had to go into the street to enter, putting them at risk. Working with Sue and ABE, the woman worked to get support from building management, drawing up a site plan and helping the Bureau of Transportation provide a much-needed parking spot. The residents of New Columbia may now safely enter their lift rides.

Sue has also served on the City’s Private for Hire Transportation Innovation Task Force  and with the Pedestrians Advisory Committee, representing concerns of the disability community for accessibility. She advocates that accessibility be recognized as a civil right, as expressed in the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).

Earning a Masters Degree at Portland State University in Public Administration, she served her internship with Northwest Portland Ministries. This agency’s mission is helping people with disabilities and the poor in the community. Her work there covered creating policies and procedures to improve the volunteer program, creating a volunteer handbook and increasing the agency’s outreach.

As evidenced by her skills, passion, community engagement and ability to get things done, Sue embodies the true spirit of a Portlander making a difference in her community. 



Outstanding Youth Leader

Kallie Kurtz

Kallie Kurtz is 24, yet her accomplishments are that of a person much older. Having graduated high school at 16, she moved to Panama to teach English, then returned to the US to complete her undergrad at Lewis and Clark College. She speaks four languages, and in addition to Panama has lived in Cuba, Kenya, and Tanzania. She has worked at Mercy Corps, Hacienda CDC, the World Affairs Council, Multnomah County, and the Alaska Center for the Environment. Currently, while working full time as the Teen Services Coordinator at Matt Dishman Community Center, she is also a graduate student of Public Policy and PSU and a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum. However those stats don't matter to Kallie, instead what she cares about are the youth and people she works with. Kallie is extremely motivated to create the positive changes she wants to see for our youth and community. From coordinating the program that brought 1000 youth through the doors of Matt Dishman all summer, to empowering youth to help tackle the challenge of removing the strip club the youth had determined was negative to their community, to caring so much about the youth she works with to help them find the opportunities that transform their lives. She is the person showing other 20 somethings what they have the capacity to do and the younger generations what they can be. She is making the entire community excited and engaged in making this the best place possible



Organization Making a Difference 

Portland Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of American (HLAA-Portland)

Providing a supportive atmosphere for persons with hearing loss is the Portland Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of American (HLAA-Portland) mission. The all-volunteer group provides assistance and resources for people with hearing loss and their families to learn how to adjust to living with hearing loss.

The group, led by President Anne McLaughlin, recently joined other advocates in promoting a city policy to require all businesses within the Portland City limits that have television sets viewable by customers and public to display the closed captioning 24 hours, seven days a week. An advocacy campaign, “Portland: Turn on the Captions,” worked to bring the issue before council and develop the ordinance for City Council approval. They see benefits beyond providing people with hearing loss access by also providing comprehension for people who use English as a second language, boosting children’s reading skills while watching television and for others to enjoy the television even if sound is muted.

The Portland Chapter has actively participated in other City policy actions with outreach and testimony to council with its concerns. It endorsed Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s 2013 captioning policy to provide captioning for all online and broadcast city videos. Portland’s HLAA chapter also regularly provides monthly information to the City’s Disability Program NEWS to further extend its outreach in the community. The group is seeing increased community attendance as a result.

This all-volunteer group actively engages the community and works vigorously to provide information and support to Portlanders about hearing loss and the effects on the individual, their friends and family.



Outstanding Community Group

Zomi Association of the USA

Zomi Association of USA is working with newly arrived refugees families and individuals regardless of their ethnic background or national of origin. Zomi association USA help refugees to become self-sufficient and contributing members of society. Myanmar ethnic nationalities are leaving Burma primarily due to religious and racial persecution by the military junta. ZAUS have partnership with government agencies and with other non for profit organizations and with other communities’ organizations on issues of mutual interest. Zomi Association also work with East Portland Neighborhood Office, the City of Portland Environmental Service watershed projects and community garden projects.
In 2014 Office of Refugee Resettlement’s (ORR) awarded grant that enables Zomi Association of USA to open its office at immigrant and Refugees Community Organization (IRCO).



Outstanding Community Leader


Outstanding Community Leader

Emanuel Price

Emanuel spent time in prison because of a mistake he made as a very young man. So he understands that some people make mistakes, but that they deserve a second chance. In 2009, he began to develop his dream of helping them do this. He started a program that assists people transition from prison into society. Using $25,000 of his own money, he created and sustained Second Chances Are For Everybody (SCAFE).

SCAFE’s mission statement reads “SCAFE works to reduce the rate of recidivism by providing support services to promote employment, empowerment, and community engagement for men & women in transition because Second Chances are for Everyone.”

SCAFE helps these people by providing professional clothing, and assistance writing resumes and cover letters. Emanuel estimates that to date, SCAFE has helped over 1,000 men, women, and youth.

Another way SCAFE has helped people is by being a major advocate for the Ban the Box campaign. With SCAFE’s help, House Bill 3025 was enacted into law in early 2015. As a result, employment applications may no longer ask about a person’s previous legal convictions because this often prevents applicants from getting any well-deserved consideration for hiring. However, appropriate questions about convictions may be asked later in the hiring process.

In 2011, Emanuel was also recognized for his work with the Black Parent Initiative when he was awarded the Portland Peace Prize. The prize was granted by Jefferson High School students after they studied Nobel Peace Prize winners, then researched people working for peace on the local level.



Neighborhood Association of the Year

Markham Neighborhood Association

Kim & Donna have help make the Markham neighborhood safer for families and pets with actives such as crime prevention and emergency preparedness, getting Portland Bureau of Transportation to improve traffic control in problematic intersections within the neighborhood and near our schools, working with BES to address environmental run off areas near creeks and streams and improve safer walking and bicycle routes for families and children on their way to school.

Other neighborhoods took notice of the MKNA successes and contacted the Herron’s for information to do the same in their neighborhoods. The Herron’s said neighborhoods are not in competition with one another. They said it is an honor and their obligation as officers of MKNA to help other neighborhoods if asked. Kim and Donna met one-on-0eone with some neighborhood leaders and attended neighborhood meetings when invited to others to answer questions and provide guidance.

The Herron’s have also served on Southwest Neighborhood Association Inc.’s committees and help with community projects. Both helped with the SWNI Community Recycling events in November 2014 and May 2015 and sit on the SWNI Communications Committee. Donna served on the SWNI Officer Elections Committee, Outstanding Volunteer Awards Dinner Planning Committee, currently serves as Vice Chair to the SWNI Public Safety Committee and is responsible for finding training facility locations for the Portland Police Department’s Women Strength self-defense classes throughout SW Portland to help educate women about not becoming a victim and if they are, how to survive it.



Business Community Partner of the Year

Po' Shines Café de la Soul

Poshine’s has many accolades for the work they do with the community. From feeding hundreds on Thanksgiving Day, to the workforce training for folks off the street in their restaurant, and this group brings hope for people that whatever their past looks like they offer a place for hope and job experience on future job applications. And their menu offers soul food with many healthy options as well.

For several years they have had many events in the Kenton neighborhood connecting diverse groups together with good food, fun and fabulous music.
 Beyond Portland, Apostle E.D Mondaine was one of the first leaders to be in Ferguson during the unrest and has gone to many other places working to bring peace in times of trouble whether it be civil unrest or to comfort the families of miners stuck in a mine. His leadership and love for all people rubs off on all of his staff and the people around him. The business model of raising up those who thought they may never work again is both genius and replicable.



Business Association of the Year

Portland Area Business Association (PABA)

In late 1991, a group of three business people, Deborah Betron, Rick Schmidt and Fred Elledge, met to discuss forming a business networking group in Portland, Oregon. As their discussions continued, they became more convinced of the need for an organization to support Gays and Lesbian business people. The goals for this new group were to strengthen business within the Gay and Lesbian community.

Soon other business people were invited to help breathe life into what is now known as PABA, the Portland Area Business Association. Tremendous effort and guidance were given by Lonnie Lusardo and the Greater Seattle Business Association. The success of the GSBA and its impact on Seattle has been PABA's model and motivation..

PABA's focus is business; its goal is to help its members achieve success in business. PABA is meant to be inclusive. Everyone with an interest in business and an interest in bettering the community is welcome to be a part of this dynamic and rapidly growing organization.



Sandy Diedrich Environmental Stewardship Award

Judy Bluehorse Skelton, Portland State University

Judy Bluehorse Skelton is a key leader and elder at the local and regional levels, building relationships between the Native American community and government, nonprofit, and community-based organizations focused on urban environmental issues. 
She is nominated by City Staff in several bureaus, a community partner, and a student from the Indigenous Nations Program at Portland State University.  Judy connects, unifies, and inspires us to reclaim the urban landscape for people and nature to thrive. 
Judy has long been a resource to the urban Native American community.  Through her work as an environmental educator through the Title VII Indian Education Program, she connected with countless youth and taught them to see the environment as an extension of ourselves. 
Her mentorship and leadership roles at PSU's Indigenous Nations Studies Program inspire those who work on issues related to equity and inclusion in the urban natural resource arena.  Tactfully and gracefully imparting her knowledge, she is an indispensable force in the Parks system serving a key role on the Native American Advisory Council.  Her calm and confident demeanor helped to heal relations between native tribes.
Her vision was instrumental to the development of the Inter-Tribal Gathering Garden at Cully Park and the creation of the Westmoreland Park Salmon Celebration.  Her voice and values are woven through these places and events focused on Native culture and connection to place, land, animals, honoring the past, and connecting the past to the present.



Equity in Practice

Jennifer Devlin, BES Community Watershed Stewardship Program Staff and Partners


Jennifer Devlin and her team of City staff and PSU graduate scholars from the Indigenous
Nations and Masters of Urban and Regional Planning Programs studies graduate scholars, exemplify authentic community partnerships for delivering a very valuable City service to historically underserved neighborhoods.

Portland has a national reputation for high livability through environmental stewardship. This Portland ethos is being established in immigrant and refugee communities by BES Community Watershed Stewardship Program (CWSP) through their unique quantifiable outcome-based Equity in Practice initiative.

Three valuable City of Portland services delivered are: Watershed stewardship education to newcomer communities; Small City grants plus mentored practice of watershed stewardship to immigrant and refugee elders and civic activists; providing networks of environmental stewardship resources to immigrant and refugee.

These services are provided to 14 immigrant and refugee mutual assistance associations and four community-based organizations through authentic City/community partnerships – that is, City staff and community elders and activists together design, develop, and deliver their valuable City service to their not-so-well-served neighborhoods.



Innovative City Leader

Som Nath Subedi, Parks for New Portlanders

Som Nath Subedi leads Parks for New Portlanders which focuses on engaging immigrant and refugee families in the healthy community mission of Portland Parks and Recreation and serves as an avenue for both New Portlander integration into life of the City, and a model for more equitable delivery of this valuable City service to historically underserved communities.

Through innovative use of the international sport of soccer, Som each year has engaged around 350 immigrant and refugee families in an integration process which includes introductions to community policing, to recreation centers, to youth employment and mentorship, and youth career development.  The annual Portland World Cup tournament is a partnership of four City bureaus, four East Portland local high schools, four immigrant and refugee service providers, and 22 volunteer coaches from 18 ethnic minority communities, and the Portland Timbers.

Som’s leading work at Portland Parks and Recreation are partnered with Healthy and Happy Bhutanese Families cultural integration workshops at East Portland Community Center and the Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct; his US Citizenship and English language acquisition classes, also East Portland Community Center; renters’ rights trainings with the Community Alliance of Tenants and Oregon Legal Services; and his Portland Parks and Rec Youth Ambassadors program connecting East Portland high school students from eight ethnic and national communities to local government, and training a new generation of Portland leaders.

All of these City-school-social service-business partnerships have demonstrated the effectiveness and equity of partnerships when they’re driven by the focus and compassion of a single inspired leader.  Som Nath Subedi makes us all proud to be Portlanders.



Mayor Charlie Hales Nomination

Bedmart Mattress Superstores

BedMart Mattress
Superstores is a locally owned and operated mattress retailer based in
Portland. It was founded by Steven Stone and his wife Sherry in 1992 at the
corner of 56th and Powell. Over the next ten years, BedMart slowly expanded
across different Portland neighborhoods. In 2001, BedMart acquired Sleep-N-Aire
Mattress factory and their 5 retail locations in the Portland area. Now,
BedMart has grown to 27 stores across Oregon and SW Washington, and is now the
largest locally owned and family operated mattress retailer in Oregon.

Recent Community Involvement

BedMart participated in the Community Warehouse annual “Chair Affair” and
helped raise $144,639 to go toward providing furniture and household goods to
families and individuals in need. Additionally, BedMart donated $11,000 worth
of mattresses - providing 28 families with clean, comfortable bedding.

For Victims Of Sexual and Domestic Abuse:

BedMart gave over 100 Tempur-Pedic twin mattresses, worth over $146,000, to
local social service agencies, including Community Warehouse, Casa Hogar,
Bradely Angle, and the West Women’s Shelter.

Many children rely on their school for two meals a day the school year.  During the summer many children are faced
with the reality of lacking up to 10 meals a week that they would have received
at their school between September and early June.  BedMart helped raise over $70,000 both online
and in their 27 stores in the region.

Steven and Elena Stone received an Award from Multnomah County for their
participation in the 100 Day Push to End Veteran Homelessness in Portland and
Multnomah County. BedMart donated 200 Tempur-Pedic mattresses to support the
Home for Every Veteran Initiative. The Home for Every Veteran Initiative is a
citywide effort committed to house all homeless veterans in Portland by the end
of 2015.



Commissioner Amanda Fritz Nomination

Mike Verbout


Mike Verbout is a lifelong contributor to the communities of North Portland. He was born in Linnton and graduated from George K-8 and Roosevelt High School. After college in 1967, he taught for 33 years in Portland Public Schools including serving as Principal at Applegate, Beach, and James John schools. 

Mike founded the Roosevelt High School Alumni Association in 2011, and continues one of its most active supporters. He was a key driver in the $482m PPS bond measure campaign, and h helped establish the groundbreaking partnerships between schools and faith based communities. Mike also volunteers with Loaves and Fishes, Peninsula Kiwanis, North Portland Optimist Club, and The Salvation Army. He chaired Mayor Adams's Illegal Gun Ordinance Oversight Committee, and each year raises money for ALS research in honor of his mother Doris. Mike convenes the quarterly Gatherings and annual Celebrate North Portland events. He truly exemplifies the Spirit of Portland.



Commissioner Amanda Fritz Nomination

Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association

Portland Water Bureau

Commissioner Fritz's group 2015 Spirit of Portland Award goes to the Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association and the Portland Water Bureau, for their success negotiating agreement on disconnecting the open reservoirs in Mt Tabor Park. While Portlanders should always expect intelligent, principled advocacy from Neighborhood Association participants and sincere, transparent professional engagement from public servants in City bureaus, the process and outcome in this contentious issue exemplifies the best of both. And the success was accomplished independently, merely with clear direction from the Commissioners in Charge.
The longtime stalwart volunteers of the MTNA and the public-spirited, motivated staff at PWB have richly earned the 2015 Spirit of Portland Award.



Commissioner Nick Fish Nomination


Debbie Aiona, League of Women Voters

Debbie Aiona has called Portland home for nearly 30 years. She helps make Portland better, serving as an active member of the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization that promotes informed and active participation in government.
As a long-time LWV Board member, past President, and current Action Committee Chair, Debbie focuses her passion and energy on affordable housing policy, police oversight, campaign finance reform, open and transparent government, and urban renewal. She has been a strong and principled voice in our community, and one of our most effective advocates in the fight to address our affordable housing crisis.
Debbie is making her mark in Portland by helping carry out the League’s goal of empowering citizens to achieve the best solutions for key community issues.
To help grow the next generation of women leaders, Debbie also serves on the board of the Coalition of Advocates for Equal Access for Girls, a statewide organization that works to ensure that girls receive equal access to the support and services they need to help them reach their full potential.



Commissioner Nick Fish Nomination

Bernie Foster, Founder of The Skanner

Bernie Foster moved to Portland in 1975, and wasted no time in launching the award-winning newspaper, The Skanner, with his wife Bobbie. Its mission is to “Challenge People to Shape a Better Future Now.”

Bernie’s vision was to take on hard issues affecting African Americans and other minorities, and to share stories about positive role models and individual accomplishments by minority Portlanders. As Bernie said, “I started this paper because the only pictures of Blacks in the news were when they were handcuffed.”

40 years later, The Skanner is thriving – publishing special editions including Black History, Minority Business Enterprise, a Career Guide, and more. Each year, The Skanner Foundation awards scholarships to local youth.
One of Bernie’s greatest accomplishments was spearheading the effort to rename Union Avenue in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Bernie and The Skanner keep the dream – and the Spirit of Portland – alive by hosting the premiere community-wide breakfast event each year, celebrating Dr. King’s life and legacy.

In 2011, The Skanner won the prestigious Carl Murphy Community Service Award for their coverage of the campaign to secure the Medal of Honor for World War I hero Sergeant Henry Johnson. In 2013, Bernie and Bobbie shared the prestigious History Maker’s Medal from the Oregon Historical Society.



Commissioner Dan Saltzman Nomination

Free Geek Technology Services

Founded in 2000, Free
Geek’s mission is to recycle technology and provide access to computers, the
internet, education, and job skills in exchange for community service. Free
Geek is a convenient place for individuals, organizations and businesses in
Portland to ethically and environmentally recycle technology they no longer
use. Free Geek's emphasis is on reuse, getting technology to individuals and
community change organizations seeking access. In the last five years alone
Free Geek has diverted 6,000,000 pounds of e-waste from landfills, given out
nearly 7,000 computers to students and individuals, and over 2,500 hardware
grants to nonprofits.



Commissioner DanSaltzman Nomination

Michael Balter, President Emeritus, Boys & Girls Aid

Michael Balter, President Emeritus, Boys & Girls Aid From 1985 until his retirement this summer, Michael served as President/CEO of Boys & Girls Aid, overseeing all functions of the nonprofit child welfare agency originally founded in 1885. Under Michael’s leadership, the agency has been a pioneer in its approach to services, from adoption and pregnancy counseling, to foster care and residential programs for teens. His 30-year tenure as President and tireless advocate for youth at Boys & Girls Aid followed more than a decade in social services in both Oregon and Illinois.



Commissioner Steve Novick Nomination

Kem Marks, Division Midway Alliance

Kem Marks was born and raised in a small town in Indiana. He was also born visually impaired.  These two facts have been fundamental in his personality and development.  The school for the blind asked why he was "pugnacious" because he rarely backed down from someone.  Kem's mom said it was because of where they lived and it was a matter of survival and left it at that. Kem escaped the black hole that is Indiana to go to Willamette Law School.  From the earliest time, he was told he would be an lawyer. Fortunately, Kem says he is now a recovering lawyer.  Even so, he still has much of the skills and mentality of a lawyer, good or bad. Kem has lived in East Portland for 8 years now.

His activism began in2013 when he went to a Transportation Town Hall, was lucky enough to speak, and met Lore Wintergreen of EPAP who told him about it.  EPAP gave him the avenue for my activism.  Kem has a deep belief that all of Portlanders should benefit from the political and economic systems regardless of who they are or how much money they have, or where they live.



Commissioner Steve Novick Nomination

Anti-Displacement PDX Coalition

Portland is in the midst of an affordable housing and displacement crisis that has affected communities of color and low income families for decades. The reports and research are clear:  the impact of the increase in demand is driving up the cost of housing, and people of color and low income people cannot afford housing in most of the city. This situation will only get worse as housing costs continue to climb.
That’s why housing affordability and displacement need to be at the top of the conversation for all of us as a community. The Planning and Sustainability Commission and the City Council have important roles – but are not the only players. To continue this conversation, community members need to continue to advocate.
The Anti-Displacement PDX coalition’s advocacy efforts have successfully brought issues of gentrification and displacement front and center of the Comprehensive Plan update. Their advocacy has been crucial to ensuring that community requests for sidewalks, transit, economic development and other investments in East Portland, Cully and other neighborhoods are achieved.
The Comprehensive Plan is an important document, but we need to continue to keep anti-displacement at the top of our community agenda to ensure that these priorities are implemented in our neighborhoods. The City can only lay the foundation through our policies and planning. Implementation happens hand in hand with the developers and community members who make projects a reality. This is why the work of the Anti-Displacement PDX coalition is vital to the livability and planning efforts of this city so that its resources and investments can be enjoyed by all Portlanders.




Lifetime Achievement Award


Mrs. Clara Peoples, Mother of Juneteenth

Clara Mae Peoples was born in Muskogee, OK in 1926 and when asked she would tell you with excitement she is a "Okie from Muskogee". Her accomplishments start as early as the age 16 when she attended Kansas City Teachers College. Upon her moving to Portland, OR she knew the importance and meaning of Juneteenth and felt the need to share when she got to Portland during a short break while working at the Shipyards. Clara not only started the Juneteenth Celebration in Oregon, but she also had a love for her community and helping others who were in need. She started Community Care Food Program which is said to have been the first organized food bank in the United States. This is only to mention several of her accomplishments. Clara was able to see all her effort recognized at Juneteenths 150th Celebration this year as Mayor Hales recognized it as a City wide celebration. Even in her passing her accomplishments still lives on within the community and City of Portland. Clara met the Almighty Father this past October 5, 2015. She is smiling down with that big smile tonight as she is being recognized.