Major federal grant for Cully Park...!!

Great news, and another welcome and humbling payoff for hard work by many, many people and organizations.

Today, we are pleased to share that we have secured a $500,000 federal grant to develop Cully Park. These funds will support development of the soccer field, and are being provided by the National Parks Service's National Land and Water Conservation Fund Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program. Cully Park is 1 of only 10 awards in the nation, and 1 of only 2 to receive the maximum grant amount, a recognition of the power of our community-based model for Park development.

It is important to express our great thanks to Portland Parks & Recreation and to the State of Oregon Parks & Recreation Department. Nonprofits, like Verde, cannot apply for these grants -- Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership grants are available only to state and local government agencies as well as to certain federally-recognized Indian tribes. So, please join us in thanking the City and the State for pursuing these funds for Cully Park, and for their continuing partnership and unwavering support.

Click here to read Portland Parks & Recreation's press release...

Living Cully's 1st crowdfunding campaign is a success...!!

1.8.2015. THANK YOU to all of you who donated, got the word out or got friends and family to donate to Let Us Buy the Sugar Shack! We raised $54,194 and surpassed our $50K goal on December 18. We’ve received verbal commitments of an additional $10,070 in contributions as well. Over 500 people and organizations contributed. This is an amazing outpouring of support from the community and we are heartened by it.

So, what’s next?

The sale is still moving forward. We have until January 25 to complete our due diligence. We are still completing our due diligence, including building inspection and appraisal. We’ve been supported by the Cully Blvd Alliance in paying for these costs. THANK YOU Cully Blvd Alliance!! We have been and will continue to engage with community members and potential tenants of the redeveloped site to identify community-serving uses like healthy food, recreation, childcare, health care along with green infrastructure to create environmental benefits at the site.

Living Cully welcomes new staff

1.5.2015. Happy news to report -- Living Cully welcomes new staff in 2015: Anna Gordon (Living Cully Communications/Outreach Coordinator), and Cameron Herrington (Living Cully Anti-Displacement Coordinator).

Anna comes to us from Living Cully Partner Hacienda CDC, where she built a stellar track record working within the Hacienda community serving residents, youth and the broader Cully Neighborhood. She speaks English and Spanish, and lives in in the Cully Neighborhood.

Cameron has been the Not in Cully intern for the past year, and is finishing his Masters in Urban Studies at PSU focusing on the impacts of displacement. He speaks English and Spanish.

Together, Anna and Cameron mean a tremendoues increase in Living Cully's ability to engage community, communicate our work, preserve affordability and raise income. Anna is housed at Verde and Cameron is housed at Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East.

Please join us in welcoming these great folks to our collective work...

NAYA initiates Cully Weatherization 2.0

10.29.2014: This winter, Living Cully -- together with Clean Energy Works , MACG, Energy Trust of Oregon, Multnomah County Health Department and Portland Housing Bureau -- is supporting neighborhood stabilization and offsetting the pressures of gentrification in Cully through the Cully Weatherization 2.0 project.  Cully Wx 2.0 builds off of 2010's Changing the Climate in Cully project, led by MACG.

After intensive neighborhood outreach, the project partners will launch a pilot weatherizing up to 100 single-family owner-occupied homes-with a focus on low- and moderate-income households and communities of color-to advance the benefits of carbon reduction, energy savings, workforce development and positive health outcomes.

To find out if you qualify for the Cully Weatherization 2.0 project, please contact the project coordinator at the Native American Youth & Family Center via email ( cully2@nayapdx.org) or by phone (503.288.8177 ext. 299).

New Positions in FY15

8.6.2014. Good additions and changes happening at Verde as our FY15 enters its second month:

Alyssa Kocsis continues growing with and within our company, transitioning to the Verde Data Coordinator position. Long-time friends of Verde might recall that she began working at Verde in early 2012 as the Landscape Program Assistant, and then became Verde's first Training Liaison (our point person for crew member training). As the Data Coordinator, she collects, organizes, analyzes and shares data to support Verde and Living Cully, building off a year of work with Ecotrust to develop an in-depth data collection, evaluation and dissemination model, with an emphasis on GIS presentation. Congratulations Alyssa!

Maria Jimenez has been hired to serve as the Verde Program Assistant. Maria began working as an Intern at Verde in early 2014, referred through the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization’s Workforce Experience Intermediary Project. She quickly became a great and valuable part of our team, and we are happy to say that we have hired her as a regular Verde employee. As the Program Assistant, Maria supports Cully Park, Outreach, Verde Landscape, and organizational administration. Welcome Maria!

Living Cully awarded Kresge Foundation cross-program grant...

7.10.2014. Something good to share -- today, Living Cully (Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East, Hacienda CDC, NAYA, Verde) was awarded a 3 year, $600,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation. This important award will build capacity across all 4 Living Cully Partners, as well as fund 2 new full-time positions:

The Living Cully Communications Coordinator, responsible for implementing the Living Cully Communications Plan. Verde hosts this position in FY15, and the position rotates to another Partner in FY16 and in FY17

The Not In Cully Coordinator, responsible for implementing “Not In Cully: Anti-Displacement Strategies for the Cully Neighborhood," a 2013 Report prepared by Living Cully. Habitat for Humanity hosts this position in FY15, and the position rotates to another Partner in FY16 and in FY17.

Led by Kresge's Health Program, this grant includes resources from 4 Kresge program areas: Health, Community Development, Arts & Culture, and Environment. Please click here to read a joint Living Cully-Kresge press release about the grant, and please join us in celebrating this exciting opportunity and in the good/challenging work ahead...

Pedro Moreno travels to Denver to present at Brownfields Symposium...

6.12.2014. Today, Pedro Moreno, long-time Verde Outreach Worker, presented information at the 2014 ASTSWMO State Superfund and Brownfields Joint Managers Symposium, held in Denver, CO. In a session titled "Above and Beyond: Successful Outreach Methods and Better Metrics Measurement," Pedro shared information about the Human Health Risk Assessment process for Cully Park, the development of our community-driven vision for the Park, and that project's deep commitment to community engagement.

This was Pedro's first time traveling out of state to share information about Verde and the daily good work he does, so we're excited and proud of the great job he did representing our community. Please join us in thanking and congratulating him for an excellent presentation...

Greenworks' Werbin project receives award from Oregon Community Trees...

Long-time Verde partner Greenworks has received an award from Oregon Community Trees for its design work on Werbin Park.

Greenworks approached the Werbin Park project as a platform for teaching kids in the program about park design and the building process, providing a series of education opportunities for students in Hacienda CDC's Expresiones program, an after-school program for middle school students living in Hacienda CDC's affordable housing. Developed and implemented with Hacienda CDC staff and Verde's Nestor Campos, Greenworks' program consisted of six weeks of activities, including a site visit to Werbin Park and other similar parks. 

Please join us in congratulating Greenworks, Hacienda CDC and Nestor for their great work on the Werbin project. We'll give the last word to Oregon Community Trees: "Through this unique outreach effort, GreenWorks demonstrated their support for the Cully Neighborhood’s commitment to social equity and provided an amazing learning opportunity for local children, who will ultimately become the primary users of Werbin Park."

Two Verde Landscape Crew Members transition to jobs outside of Verde...

Verde is happy to share that we have placed two temporary Verde Landscape Crew Members with outside companies: Apogee Landscapes and Friends of Trees.

February 2014, Apogee Landscapes approached Verde to request referrals for a full time Maintenance Crew Leader. Verde Landscape Program Manager Ricardo Moreno connected Apogee with Enrique Arguello, who has worked for Verde since September 2011. Enrique has substantial experience in planting, maintenance and restoration work, and also has strong communication skills and leadership qualities. Enrique started work with Apogee late February.

March 2014, longtime partner Friends of Trees approached Verde with a draft job description for a Landscape Laborer to perform full time, temporary field work. Ricardo Moreno and Verde Data & Training Liaison Alyssa Kocsis met with Friends of Trees staff to discuss the position, potential for advancement and benefits, and to identify crew members. Verde recommended Manuel Ku. Manuel has worked for Verde Landscape since December 2010, and is experienced in providing maintenance, restoration and tree planting services. He started work with Friends of Trees in April.

Please join us in celebrating this new opportunity for Enrique and Manuel and honoring the good work they've done at Verde Landscape over the last few years, as well as join us in thanking our partners at Apogee Landscapes and Friends of Trees.

Lastly, let's clearly recognize and appreciate the strong work by Ricardo and Alyssa in service of Verde's mission and of its enterprise crew members, we are very fortunate to do this work with you...

Living Cully Memorandum of Understanding signed...

Today, Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East, Hacienda CDC, the Native American Youth & Family Center, and Verde finalized the Living Cully Memorandum of Understanding/MOU.

Approved by each organization's Board of Directors, and signed by each organization's Executive Director, the Living Cully MOU recognizes the Partners’ complementary core capacities within a framework of mutually-reinforcing activities. It sets out: Parties and Mission; Vision, Purpose and Scope; Mutual Responsibilities; and, Organization Responsibilities. Per the MOU, Verde is responsible for Leading Living Cully.

Please click here to read the MOU.

The MOU's development process reflects the strong, routine collaboration among the 4 Living Cully Partners:

  • NAYA’s Director of Operations & Finance proposed a Living Cully MOU during the development of the Living Cully Budget.

  • Verde presented the idea at the next Living Cully Partners meeting, where Hacienda CDC offered to share its MOU template with the Partners as a follow up task.

  • Habitat for Humanity used Hacienda CDC’s MOU template to develop the 1st draft of the MOU.

  • Verde revised the 1st draft, and these subsequent drafts were reviewed at Partner meetings and separately by each Partner’s staff.

  • Program Managers and Executive Directors met with their Boards and/or Executive Committees to share information about the MOU, answer questions, and ensure the MOU was on track for formal approval.

  • Each Partner’s Board approved the MOU in the same calendar month.