We did it. All of us!
At the end of 2015 we were looking back with pride over our accomplishments that year, but we were also getting desperate in our search for a new space. Cascade was moving forward with their plans for redeveloping the Garlington Center property, and our lease had an end date of August 31, 2016. Despite working with an experienced real estate broker and leveraging our community connections, all of our leads had come to a dead end. There was lots of new construction in the neighborhood, but it was out of our price range. We began to experience first hand what so many community members face when they look for housing in the neighborhood they have called home for years. We considered moving farther east, something many of our patients have had to do. But when we talked with them about this, we heard the same message over and over; our patients were adamant that our presence in inner Northeast was important to them.
We redoubled our efforts and started looking for temporary space while a more permanent solution could be developed. But even our search for a temporary location came up empty.
Then, one day last October we ran into a friend who asked how our search was going. He mentioned that members of his family owned property on Alberta Street where they had run a successful business for decades. The business was no longer operating and they were in the process of deciding whether to sell the property. The family was very interested in our mission and excited about continuing the legacy of the building in service to the African American community. We started working out the details and put together a top notch design and construction team, hoping to begin construction this past May. When a very generous donor stepped up with a pledge of $50,000 toward the project, we knew we were on our way. We were awarded $366,000 from the Portland Development Commission to cover 80% of the construction costs. Permitting delays complicated things a bit (and gave us all a few more gray hairs), but Cascade extended our lease for two months and we moved into our beautiful new home on October 17th!
We are so grateful to the hundreds of you who together helped us raise over $100,000 to complete the project. Our relocation team worked tirelessly to keep the project on schedule and on budget: B&G Builders, STACK Architecture, SIsu Design Group and Nest NW.
Our new address is 714 NE Alberta Street; if you’re in the neighborhood, we’d love to give you a tour of our new space space. Please stop by!