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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

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The Lost Bird Project

The Lost Bird Project, artist Todd McGrain's memorial to five now-extinct North American birds, arrives at Waterfront Park this week

 June 23, 2010

You might have noticed a new grouping of sculptures in the south end of downtown's Waterfront Park last week. Each of the five statues - up to six feet tall and 700 pounds apiece - depicts an extinct species of North American bird. The sculptures are part ofThe Lost Bird Project, artist Todd McGrain's memorial to five North American birds driven to extinction in modern times.

The sculptures will remain in Waterfront Park for the rest of the year, writes Carolina Hidalgo in the Oregonian, "with the aim of raising awareness of the dangers facing today's bird populations." The "State of the Bird: 2010 Report on Climate Change," released this Spring, reports that almost a third of our country's 800 bird species is threatened by extinction, including all 67 oceanic bird species.

This Saturday, the Audubon Society of Portland will partner with The Zoo, BARK, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, andPortland Parks & Recreation to present the West Coast launch of the project.

Beginning at 10:00, Waterfront Park will open for a day of free, fun, and family-friendly activities. You'll be able to meet Audubon's Education Birds - Hazel the Northern Spotted Owl, Ruby the Turkey Vulture, and Finnegan the Peregrine Falcon - dress like a Condor and learn what it means to be a scavenger, help paint a giant forest mural, and even make your very own birdfeeder to take home!

We hope to see you there!

Thanks to flickr user jgraham for the photo

Portland Housing Center offers new resource for first-time homebuyers

Portland Housing Center recently announced an exciting new resource for first-time homebuyers

June 25, 2010

Since 1991, Portland Housing Center (PHC) has worked with the City and other public and private partners to provide counseling to homebuyers and homeowners in the Portland area. PHC provides financial and homebuyer education, down payment loans, a matched savings program, and post-purchase workshops to support successful homeownership. Over the past five years, HUD-certified PHC has helped more than 2,100 families purchase their first home.

Earlier this week, PHC announced an exciting new resource for first-time homebuyers in the Portland area. In partnership with the three other NeighborWorks America affiliates in Oregon, PHC now offerseHome America, an online homebuyer education program. The online course will increase access to education for first-time homebuyers in the Portland area, core to PHC's mission.

eHome America was developed by Community Ventures Corporation, a fellow NeighborWorks America affiliate organization, and is based on the Realizing the American Dream curriculum currently offered by PHC. The online course better meets the needs of people in remote locations, with mobility challenges, or who have scheduling and/or child care needs that make it hard to attend a homebuyer education workshop in person.

The eHome America course is the approved form of 8-hour homebuyer education for USDA Rural Housing loans; has an interactive format uses a combination of videos, text and quizzes to provide a rich learning experience; is available in English and Spanish; lets folks complete the course at their own pace; and requires enrollees to complete at least an hour of one-on-one counseling with a PHC HUD-certified HomeBuying Specialist to be eligible for a certificate of completion.

The Portland Housing Bureau works to make sure every Portlander has a safe, decent, affordable place to call home. PHC has long been an important partner in this effort, and PHB is proud to support their work.

Central City Concern helps Portland's homeless find employment, even in a down economy

Between 2007 and 2009, Central City Concern achieved a 71% employment rate for homeless individuals

June 25, 2010

Even in a depressed economy, Portland's extraordinary non-profits continue to help some of our most vulnerable find jobs.

A recent Portland State University study of Central City Concern's Supported Employment program found that between 2007 and 2009, 71% of enrollees - all of whom were homeless and battling addictions when they began the program - found employment.

“The Supported Employment program achieved stunning success with a group of more than 200 people who many would regard as unemployable,” said Central City Concern (CCC) Executive Director Ed Blackburn. 
 
One program participant, Hakeem, spent several years on the streets of Portland before seeking help from CCC's Hooper Detox Center and CCC Recovery Center. Encouraged by the stable housing and support network CCC offered, Hakeem sought the assistance of the Supported Employment program.

Hakeem has been working in the Courtyard by Marriott/The Original restaurant for nearly a year.  He recently moved out of CCC housing into his own apartment, has reconnected with his children and is considering a number of educational opportunities for further his skills.  Reflecting on the value of the CCC Supported Employment program Hakeem said, “I spend my time wisely now.  I like my job and have peace within me.”

The study also reports that the average wage of program graduates is 14% more than Oregon's minimum wage and that almost 80% were still employed after the program ended. Read more from the study here.

Pictured above: Hakeem with supervisor Minoosh Zarrineh