Neighbors Voice Concern about REACH CDC’s Development

At last night’s KNA Board meeting, dozens of neighbors were given a chance to hear directly from REACH CDC and voice concerns on the changes to their development of TriMet’s property at 2133 N Argyle St.

While neighbors might have differing opinions about the project having some market-rate units or not, neighbors did send a clear message on the commercial space: This should be a mixed-use project.

The problem?

With retail included, the project is facing roughly a 4 million dollar shortfall. REACH CDC’s solution to this is to use an affordable housing exemption to the state of Oregon prevailing wage law, allowing REACH CDC to receive millions of dollars of public funding without having to pay the wages normally required for public works projects in Oregon. By not paying prevailing wages, REACH CDC can save about 10% in construction costs, closing their funding gap.

This exemption, however, prevents any space intended for commercial use from being built, but REACH CDC still plans to build out the ground-floor retail as community spaces. Unless Oregon state law were changed, REACH CDC could never convert this space to actual retail or charge any rent for it.

REACH CDC was clearly looking for ideas how they could activate these ground-floor community rooms from neighbors, but those in attendance had little interest in partaking in that conversation. Frankly, it’s hard to envision storefront community spaces not turning out to be more empty storefronts.

The big misstep here is that REACH CDC wasn’t coming to neighbors to figure out how they should proceed with the project; they were here to tell neighbors what had already been decided. It’s now late in the process, and options appear limited.

But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. REACH CDC was receptive to working with the KNA in engaging Prosper Portland, for example, in looking for additional public funds.

The KNA Board will be looking at sending letters to TriMet and Prosper Portland in the coming days along with establishing meetings with REACH CDC and government officials.

Want to get involved? Contact us!

Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair

REACH CDC’s Kenton Housing Development No Longer Mixed-Use

Following up on their presentation at last year’s KNA General Meeting in June, REACH CDC has announced two significant changes to the planned development of TriMet’s property at 2133 N Argyle St across from Nelson Plaza: Converting the project into 100% affordable housing, removing a mixed-income component, and eliminating any commercial space, scraping a mixed-use element.

The project is facing a multi-million dollar funding gap, and these modifications allow for an exemption to Oregon’s prevailing wage law required for projects that receive considerable public funding. However, while allowing REACH CDC to reduce labor costs to stay within their budgetary restrictions, these changes represent a vast departure from the original guidelines for the project.

In TriMet’s Request for Statement of Qualifications (RFQ) for the project that REACH CDC was awarded, TriMet noted that they sought “a development team to provide mixed-use building(s) with both market rate and affordable housing, and a ground-floor retail presence to create an active street frontage.”

While TriMet offered flexibility in the mixed-income aspect by only requiring that at least 25 percent of the units be affordable, TriMet was very clear that project must include “improved availability of retail goods and services near transit station.”

TriMet’s goals for the project tied back to a study by Prosper Portland that, as pointed out in the RFQ, found that this property was “recommended to be the first of a potential phased development plan that would dramatically change N. Argyle Street into a dense node of activity at the north end of the Kenton downtown.”

Hoping to keep the project moving forward, TriMet has lifted the commercial activity requirements.

After discussing the matter at last month’s KNA Board Meeting, the KNA Board issued a statement to REACH CDC in which the KNA Board took the following positions based on current information:

REACH CDC intends to attend the next KNA Board Meeting, which all neighbors are encouraged to attend, on January 10th, 7pm, at the Historic Kenton Firehouse (8105 N Brandon Ave) to begin discussion with neighbors about these changes to the project. As well, the Portland Housing Bureau, which granted significant funds to REACH CDC, will be having their N/NE Oversight Committee discuss the REACH CDC project with a public comment period on the 11th at the New Song Community Center (220 NE Russell Street) at 6pm. Mayor Wheeler is expect to be in attendance.


Winter Updates at the Kenton Women’s Village

Can you believe we’ve had women living in our beautiful little village for half a year now? Wow! We have so many things to celebrate with several women moving into permanent housing, special features and volunteers at Kenton, and all of our generous and kind donors and volunteers! Read on to see what’s happening at KWV.
Sponsor a Move-In Kit!

A big thank you to our Kenton neighbors who have been putting together Move-In Kits for our women moving out of housing! When a client moves into Kenton or from Kenton to a new apartment, they are provided with warm bedding, warm winter clothing, furnishings, and other basic necessities. Interested in helping? Check out our sponsorship page!

OPB’s Podcast on KWV

Dave Miller and Allison Frost of OPB’s podcast Think Out Loud interviewed three KWV clients about their experiences prior to Kenton Women’s Village, plans for the future, and what life is like at the Village. Listen to the full podcast here!

Spa day for the women

Jordana Levenick, along with a team of consultants from Arbonne, organized and hosted a Ladies Pampering afternoon at the Village.  The KWV clients were treated to hand and foot scrubs, massages, and wonderful Arbonne treat bags.  The Arbonne consultants treated the clients to a wonderful spa-like experience right in their own community space. Thank you, Arbonne and Jordana Levenick for your generosity!
Baby, it’s cold outside!
When the temperatures drop, we do our best to make sure our clients stay warm. With the Columbia sports heavy duty sleeping bags and jackets, hot water bottles to safely heat up pods, and a propane-heated community space with cots for nights that get very cold, we are ensuring that every woman feels safe and warm each cold night.
Jewell moved in to a new place!
It’s been an amazing year! Let us count the ways…
Here are some of the amazing successes we’ve had at KWV this year:
  • clients have moved into permanent supportive housing.  An additional four clients are on track to move in before the holidays!
  • 14 clients have health insurance, primary care doctors & access to dental and eye care.
  • clients received legal advocacy for monetary benefits, child visitation rights and domestic violence assistance.
  • clients receive on-site mental health care weekly.
  • 6 clients work with our Catholic Charities Peer Support Specialist.
  • 6 clients are employed in the community.
  • 5 clients received new ID, birth certificates and social security cards.
  • 5 clients receive Financial Wellness Coaching. Two have graduated a six-week Rent Well course.
  • 1 client has graduated from Peer Support Specialist training & will now help others in the community.
  • 1100+ volunteer hours
  • 70+ hours of Villager volunteer service in Kenton Women’s Village
We have so much to be grateful for this year!
A special THANK YOU to Holy Redeemer Church who has provided space for our ladies to have their weekly General Assemblies, as well as provided food boxes, gifts, Fred Meyer gift cards, and handmade scarves and hats.
THANK YOU for all of your support in making this village and our clients’ transitions into permanent housing possible!
Get Involved
If you’re interested, there are still ways you can be involved and help Kenton Women’s Village! Here are a few ways to help:
  • Volunteer – We can always use an extra helping hand! Currently, we’d love volunteers to help with
    • Cleaning pods
    • Painting
    • Sanding
    • Basic Maintenance on empty pods
For more Volunteer opportunities, please check out our Volunteer page. To become a volunteer, please submit an online Volunteer Application as well. Thank you!
  • Sponsor/Donate Check out our In-Kind Donations page or click below to learn how to help sponsor a client!
Help Now

Updates on the Kenton Women’s Village

On Sunday, Susan Oliver and I released a statement making public that allegations had been made about illegal activity taking place at the Kenton Women’s Village (KWV). Given the seriousness of some of these accusations that, for example, Catholic Charities might be dismissing and/or ignoring reports of criminal behavior at the KWV, we felt that the Kenton Neighborhood Association (KNA) needed to notify the neighborhood on some level of the situation and would report back once we knew more.

Although it quickly became publicly known, we didn’t speak to the nature of the supposed criminal activity as to not negatively impact any ongoing investigations nor exacerbate assumptions being made about our fellow neighbors. Of course, some were still quick to try to make this a told-you-so moment while others deemed our actions a reckless exercise in judging a vulnerable population and stirring up negative publicity.

Following our release, Catholic Charities reached out to the KNA and put out a press release, revealing that an investigation was taking place and that landlord-tenant law was limiting the ability for the rules and regulations of the KWV to be enforced. By Monday, the media was covering the situation, and the inaugural KWV Steering Committee meeting was working on ensuring the success of the KWV.

So, here’s where we stand:

As always, if you want to get involved, have questions, etc., feel free to contact us.

Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair





Allegations of Illegal Activity Surface at Kenton Women’s Village

An update to this has been posted.

On the evening of November 10th, the Kenton Neighborhood Association (KNA) received an email reporting illegal activity occurring at the Kenton Women’s Village (KWV) even while employees of Catholic Charities, who manages the KWV, were onsite. The Portland Police Bureau was included in the email sent to the KNA.

The account contains a written report along with photos and a video and comes from a community houselessness advocate that has associations to the organizing partners of the KWV. As well, this individual has previously participated directly with the KNA on matters of the KWV.

Along with claims of criminal behavior, the report also points out potential breaches of the Partnership Agreement signed between the KNA and the organizing partners of the KWV, which partially includes the Joint Office of Homeless Services, Catholic Charities and the City of Portland Office of Management and Finance.

Furthermore, beyond the firsthand details from the community houselessness advocate, secondhand information from a village resident claims that Catholic Charities has dismissed and/or ignored reports of criminal behavior at the KWV.

The KNA indirectly obtained a response from Catholic Charities on the matter from Executive Director Deacon Richard Birkel.

“Catholic Charities is committed to assuring the wellbeing of villagers and to maintaining a healthy environment for those who reside there,” states Deacon Birkel. “We have gone above and beyond in many areas of management and security, including securing and paying for overnight security that is not reimbursed by our current limited contract.”

While Deacon Birkel’s assurances are appreciated, these allegations are extremely disconcerting and raise significant questions about Catholic Charities ability to properly manage the KWV.

After considerable delay, the inaugural meeting of the KWV Steering Committee, which the KNA is a non-voting member of, is scheduled for this week. We hope to have more information to share once that meeting occurs.

Beyond that, we’ll be working with the KNA’s Board of Directors and the KNA’s Committee on the KWV, along with the general membership of the KNA, to determine the KNA’s next steps in ensuring the health and safety of all neighbors.

Tyler Roppe
Chair, Kenton Neighborhood Association

Susan Oliver
Board Member, Kenton Neighborhood Association
Chair, Kenton Neighborhood Association Committee on the Kenton Women’s Village

Fall Updates at the Kenton Women’s Village

What’s happening in KWV this fall?

Happy November, everyone! The Kenton Women’s Village has had a remarkable fall with everything from generous community donations, volunteer awards, and featured fundraisers. Take a skim through to see what’s going on in the Village and how you can help!

Moving on up!
Three clients have moved onto permanent housing from the village, and six more clients are on track to move to permanent housing by the end of 2017! Referrals for clients may be made to Housing Transition Program at Catholic Charities at 971-222-1880.
Winter is coming…
… and we’re prepping for it at the KWV. To prepare, workers have installed new walls, windows, doors, and canopy structure in our community space. Several of the villagers have started caulking windows, doors, and cracks in their pods to start the weatherization process.Columbia Sportswear has generously provided our clients with new cold weather sleeping bags and warm winter coats that the women have already been putting to good use! Each of the women also received a new pair of winter boots, thanks to the Femme Fête event fundraiser. Thanks to all who have contributed to help keep our ladies warm for the winter!
We have a new office!
Our village managers have a new on-site office thanks to Krysty Kuni’s kind donation. When the Kunis heard about the Kenton Women’s Village on the news, they decided they wanted to put their now-grown daughter’s former playhouse to good use and donate it. It took two flatbed trucks, a forklift, and three attempts to get it into place. A big thanks to the Kunis for their kind donation and to Randy and Terrance for their hard work getting everything in place for our village managers!
Around the table with our Volunteers
Holy Redeemer Church parishioners prepared a delicious homemade dinner for the ladies of Kenton Women’s Village on Oct. 16. HRC hosted the lasagna dinner in their basement space and topped it all off with an ice cream sundae bar. The volunteers went above and beyond to allow the ladies the rare opportunity to feel nothing short of restaurant connoisseurs.*To become involved and support this effort, contact Holy Redeemer about their ministry fair happening November 11-12.
Femme Fête feat. KWV
Femme Fête, an annual Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP event celebrating exceptional women in business, selects a different charity-beneficiary each year to receive the proceeds from their fundraiser event. They honored Kenton Women’s Village this year for their housing transition solutions benefiting women in need. The event raised over $1,200, including gift cards and winter items for the women.
KWV Volunteer Terrance wins the Spirit of Portland Award!
Our volunteer Terrance Moses is being recognized as this year’s Spirt of Portland Community Leader of the year award recipient for his contribution at Kenton Women’s Village. Terrance began volunteering with KWV in May and has since put his incredibly resourceful building and repair skills to work. He has become the general handyman for the village, helping repairs repair and improve pods and community spaces.  He has also made several safety improvements to the Village and helped the women feel empowered to keep their pod neighborhood in good condition. He is a patient, kind mentor who treats the clients with the utmost respect and dignity. We are beyond grateful for his work and contribution to KWV! Congratulations, Terrance!
Help with our Collection Drive!
Want to help out? Donate or volunteer today! As our women move into their own housing or new clients move into KWV, the list of needs is growing to help them get established. Check out how you can help here!

Indy Car Racing Coming Back to Portland International Raceway

Following significant speculation last year, the IndyCar Series is stopping by the city-owned Portland International Raceway (PIR) on Labor Day Weekend for at least the next three years.

Big news for racing fans, and frankly, I was a bit surprised when the news broke this morning.

As anyone that follows sports in the Rose City knows, Portland often lands on potential expansion destination lists, be it MLB, NFL or, in this case, IndyCar. But unlike those other sports, Indy Car racing via the Champ Car World Series was here as recently as 2007, so when legitimate talk of the IndyCar Series finding its way to Portland started making the rounds, it certainly seemed like a likely possibility. Such so, that the KNA was actually encouraged by some racing enthusiasts with particular objections to IndyCar to take steps to block the IndyCar Series in Portland.

So why the surprise?

It comes down to the infrastructure. While the track itself is in racing shape, the rest of PIR needs work to be an IndyCar stop. “I haven’t been there for six months, but from when I went, I’d say there’s some upgrading that needs to be done because everything there is kinda temporary,” told Tony Cotman of NZR Consulting to “So my worry would be that it doesn’t just need a promoter; more like a ‘promoter-plus’ – someone who’s willing to take more of a financial risk.”

I thought that financial risk would make IndyCar in Portland a hard sell, but I was wrong: That promoter-plus emerged as IndyCar and Green Savoree, an Indianapolis-based motorsports event ownership and management company, agreed to cover the expense of needed upgrades.

The track has become a polarizing issue among neighbors, and the response to Indy Car racing back at PIR will likely play out as usual with supporters discarding concerns among neighbors with arguments telling them to move, get used to it or to recognize that PIR was there.

Of course, these debates happen for a reason, and the number of newer Kenton residents that lack PIR nostalgia, don’t have interest in racing and/or are bothered by the noise and pollution happening at a city park keeps growing. Supporters of the track need to recognize that and find ways to engage with those newer residents if the track is to remain successful.

Is IndyCar the answer? I’m not sure.

But we do know that the city is at least talking about neighborhood concerns. While pointing to possible economic benefits, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who oversees PIR through Portland Parks & Recreation, also mentioned a willingness to work with neighbors on noise impacts.

“It is very exciting to see IndyCar racing coming back to the Rose City,” Commissioner Fritz, said today at a press conference. “An event of this magnitude means $12 million to$15 million in revenue to the city, scores of jobs, and an exciting weekend of racing with new cars using clean-burning ethanol for fuel. I also acknowledge that there will likely be noise impacts in nearby neighborhoods. We will work closely with the organizers and the neighborhoods to mitigate the impact.”

The KNA is certainly ready to work closely with the city, and to that end, the KNA is already planning meetings with representatives from Portland Parks & Recreation about the event. Along those lines, following up on concerns raised last year by Speaker Tina Kotek, who lives in Kenton, the city released to the KNA this week findings from lead air testing at the track. The KNA will be seeking out expert assistance in evaluating the results, but in the meantime, the study can be found below:



Tyler Roppe

KNA Chair

Trick or Treat on Denver Street Returns

The annual Trick or Treat on N. Denver Street will be held on Thursday, October 26th, from 5pm – 7pm along N. Denver (& Side Streets) between N. Schofield & N. Argyle! The Kenton Business Association will be featuring Kenton businesses from Lombard and the surrounding area with our Trunk or Treat location in the Hive Tattoo Parking lot!

Kenton Women’s Village Newsletter for September

Check out the latest updates from Catholic Charities on the Kenton Women’s Village below:
Kenton Women’s Village News & Updates
Wonderful things are happening for the residents of Kenton Women’s Village! Here are a few highlights:
Calling all volunteers!
Please attend a training session at Catholic Charities. Lead by Margi Dechenne, Housing Transitions Program Manager. Required for Community Partners.
Friday, September 22—2:00pm to 4:00pm.
Register here or email
Village Tours
Village Residents, through the General Assembly, have adopted a new visitor policy—available here. The first of the planned monthly Village Tours began last Saturday afternoon.
Our next public tour is scheduled for Saturday, September 23rd – 1pm. Register by contacting Kenton Women’s Village Tours.
Community Activities
  • Food By Design held a small cooking class for the Village residents, preparing a wonderful meal with donations from the Kenton Community Garden and food from the Village garden.
  • Residents volunteered at the Expo Center drive-in movie event to raise money to Paint Paul and enjoyed having a small part of revitalizing their neighborhood mascot.
  • The PAW team is helping the Village pets stay healthy, and has offered free spay/neuter services as well as ongoing pet health care.
  • Several women participated in a street outreach event in support of their brothers and sisters who are still on the streets. They packed lunches and brought hygiene items, and remarked on the wonderful feeling of being a giver rather than a recipient.
  • Oregon Public House will hold a fundraiser for Kenton Women’s Village on Monday, September 25th. Proceeds will help support winter weather clothing and footwear for residents.


Details for Tall Paul Fest Released!

The 1st annual Tall Paul Fest arrives September 9 12pm–7pm on N Willis Blvd between N Brandon and N Denver!

Get ready to see a restored Paul, have a pint of Widmer Brothers limited edition “Tall Paul Lager” and root on the Timbers in the their live telecast game vs NYCFC.

And get this: Timber Jim is coming out of retirement to cut log slabs during the game!

Slabs will be available to buy in the live auction at half time along with other great items like Danner Boots, 107ist Limited Edition 5th Quadrant Timbers scarves, Miniature Paul Bunyan Dolls and more.

Top bidder in the live auction will have the opportunity to remove the veil from Paul right after the game.

All proceeds go to the restoration and preservation of our beloved icon.

Learn more about the restoration of Paul at PaintPaulPDX

Paul has been restored!

Thank you, Kenton!