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The City of Portland, Oregon

Nick Fish (In Memoriam)

City of Portland Commissioner

phone: 503-823-3589

Email: nick@portlandoregon.gov

1221 S.W. 4th, Room 240, Portland, OR 97204

Commissioner to address Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce

March 4, 2010

Next Wednesday, March 10, Nick will attend theAsian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce(APACC) Winter 2010 Quarterly Event as a keynote speaker. Joining him as a keynote speaker will be Roy Kim, President of Central Bethany Development Company.

The two will reflect on lessons learned from the recession and how businesses can succeed in the current economic climate.

APACC works to cultivate "cultural and business relationships among Asian Pacific American chamber members, local businesses, non-profit organizations, government, media," and the public in our region. 

Registration for the event is open until Monday, March 8. Click here for details.

PHB welcomes new Public Information Officer

March 4, 2010

Dear Friends,

I am very pleased to welcome Maileen Hamto as Public Information Officer for thePortland Housing Bureau. At PHB, Maileen will manage and facilitate internal and external communications, including building relationships with traditional and social media influencers.

Maileen comes to us from United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, where she was responsible for media relations, creating the donor newsletter, and managing web content and social networking sites. She is also the publisher and producer of Colors of Influence, an online magazine that highlights local leaders of color in various industries and functions. Prior to United Way, she was part of the communications team at CareOregon, the state’s largest administrator of the Oregon Health Plan.

Her community involvement includes active membership in several boards, including the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon and SW Washington, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, and the Colored Pencils Arts Collective.  

Immigrating with her family, Maileen moved to the United States from her native Manila in 1992. She holds an MBA from the University of Portland and a journalism degree from the University of Houston.

Maileen is the first point-of-contact for media inquiries concerning the Portland Housing Bureau. She can be reached by email at maileen.hamto@portlandoregon.gov or phone at (503) 823-3239.

Margaret Van Vliet, PHB Director

Update on veterans housing in South Waterfront

March 4, 2010

This morning's Daily Journal of Commerce highlights the Portland Housing Bureau's efforts to move forward on a long-planned veterans' housing project in the South Waterfront District. Reporter Nathalie Weinstein spoke with PHB Director Margaret Van Vliet about next steps for The Tamarack, a project planned for Block 49.

The South Waterfront District was meant to host hundreds of affordable housing units, but so far none have materialized. "I can't explain the past 11 years," before arriving as the new Portland Housing Bureau's first Director, Van Vliet told Sarah Mirk in this morning's Portland Mercury. "I am very intent on getting some affordable housing in that district."

Construction was set to begin on the Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects project in the summer of 2008, but a lack of private financing, thanks to the recession, has delayed the project.

While obtaining enough housing vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has been a challenge, the Housing Authority of Portland and PHB now have 105 vouchers and the Portland Veterans Administration has applied for 300 more.

Financing hurdles have proven more problematic. Director Van Vliet hopes to use $23 million in tax increment financing (TIF) available from the Central City Urban Renewal Area to close the gap, and to see construction begin this summer or early fall. "We're seeing a lot of homeless veterans coming back and struggling with housing and employment," Director Van Vliet told the DJC.

Director Van Vliet has been in touch with the League of Women Voters about this issue. See their letter to PHB and the Director's response.

Thanks to flickr user Thomas Le Ngo for the photo of South Waterfront.

PHB announces funding availability for affordable housing developments

March 4, 2010

The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) has announced the availability of $8.2 million in affordable housing development financing. The funding includes tax increment financing (TIF) and federal sources, and supports PHB's core values of equity, stewardship, integrity, and collaboration.

Distribution of the funding will be handled through an RFP process announced last week. Selected projects will support the City's affordable housing goals for the preservation, acquisition, rehab, or construction of affordable units in Portland. They will serve tenants earning 60% or less of the median family income (MFI), comply with the City's 60-year affordability agreement, and exceed Portland Development Commission (PDC) and City guidelines for Business and Workforce Equity.

Proposals are due March 31 at 3:00 pm. Questions should be directed to Dan Williams, Housing Development and Finance Coordinator for PDC, at (503) 823-1352 or williamsd@pdc.us. For more details, click here.

Downtown Food Ministry partners sign Good Neighbor Agreement

March 4, 2010

Representatives of the City of Portland's Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the Portland Police Bureau, the Old Town Chinatown Neighborhood Association, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, Portland Parks & Recreation, and Bridgetown and Manna/New Song Ministries came together to sign a Good Neighbor Agreement for the downtown Food Ministry program.

Bridgetown and Manna/New Song Ministries run programs serving the growing number of Portlanders experiencing hunger, homelessness, or financial hardship and can't afford basic services. Their weekly services engage volunteers to provide meals, haircuts, shavings, and other basic services.

These weekly events have been around for years - Manna/New Song Ministries has been operating in downtown Portland since 1991. Congratulations to Hannah Kuhn, former Policy Director for Commissioner Fish, and Sam Chase, working from the Portland Housing Bureau, on this successful conclusion to a year of hard work!