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NPIs meet (revised) fundraising goals


Portland Development Commission Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative manager Dana DeKlyen and Kenneth Poirier, Parkrose NPI steering committee member at a recent meeting in January held at the Russellville Grange.
Mid-county Memo photos/Tim E. Curran
Parkrose NPI co-chair Loretta Stites shows the home page of the group's new website,, at a meeting last month.
After fundraising targets were moved to accommodate what districts could hit, the Portland Development Commission's six Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative districts have all met their targets, PDC's Dana DeKlyen told the Memo last month.

All six districts, including mid-Multnomah County's Parkrose, Rosewood, Division-Midway and Jade districts have raised at least $15,000, she said. This, plus a pledged dollar for dollar match by PDC, will allow them each to hire a manager for the next six months.

PDC's original plan was to have each district raise $30,000 by June 15, and use this plus an additional $30,000 to hire a full-time manager for a year. The timeline was gradually extended as the six were unable to surmount the fundraising hurdle, individually or collectively. A joint fundraising effort did secure a $50,000 grant from JPMorgan-Chase Bank, but it proved to be one of a kind.

The Parkrose district's stakeholders committee had posted the job announcement as the Memo went to press. According to co-chair Joe Rossi, they hope to complete a hire at their February 12 meeting.

Among the other districts, the furthest ahead is the Rosewood District, which hired a manager in January. The laggard is the Jade District, where PDC is working with local volunteers to broaden the Stakeholder Committee.

Neighborhood Prosperity Districts are like mini urban renewal districts; they include commercial corridors plus about two blocks of territory on either side. The corridors are “under-performing” in terms of private investment, and they serve communities that are ethnically diverse and below average in household income.

As with other urban renewal districts, property taxes generated in the district, over and above the level already being collected when they formed, are placed in a special tax increment account for use in the district. This, plus other funds, will give each district $1.2 million to spend over the next eight to ten years. The funds can be used for business improvements, for projects and events to promote the area, and perhaps for one or two small physical public improvements.

At the January 29 meeting, hiring subcommittee member Mark LaCroix reported 40 applications had been received for the revitalization manger position.

Asked if applicants had local ties or investment in the area, LaCroix said, “If we did, I would think he (subcommittee chair Ken Poirier), would have told me. I'm not sure, but I'd say probably not.”

Loretta Stites, Parkrose NPI co-chair, reminded the group that since Russellville Grange, host for NPI meetings and events was included when drawing district boundaries, she asked the board to consider giving funds to Grange operators to remodel bathrooms and make them handicapped accessible. “I'd like you to please keep in mind the possibility of a tiny bit of our money to throw at the Grange,” she said.

Mike Taylor, Parkrose Business Association president proposed the NPI board create an ex officio position that would attend to attend PBA meetings.

Rossi, also chair of the Parkrose Community Foundation, producers of the annual Rossi Farms Barn Bash, announced a $2,400 donation from his group to the NPI.

Tim E. Curran contributed to this story
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