PRESS RELEASE: Central Eastside Together Community Grants

Central Eastside Together supports community investment by funding nonprofit projects for BIPOC, people living in poverty in the heart of industrial Portland

The Central Eastside Industrial Council awards grants for placemaking, workforce development, the arts, and more

Portland, Ore. – Central Eastside Together recently completed its third round of grant funding for local nonprofits seeking to kickstart new projects in central Portland. With Portland emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, the grant panel focused on supporting district placemaking, events, and workforce development. 

“With Portland beginning to re-open this summer, we are thrilled to fund projects supporting folks coming back to the district,” says Central Eastside Industrial Council director, Kate Merrill. “We are eager for these projects to come to life.” 

To date, Central Eastside Together’s Community Grant Program has awarded $115,557 in funding to 15 local nonprofits completing projects within the Central Eastside.

The following organizations received funding in this grant cycle: 

The Belonging Series Project brings together BIPOC artists and youth, alongside the Portland community, to collaboratively create murals on the east side of the Willamette River. In addition to working on the murals, youth will also have the opportunity to participate in workshops and discuss the impacts of the past year on their lives, including COVID-19  and racial justice issues, in hopes of beginning conversations that will realign our community on a path of healing. Color Outside the Lines will invite the Portland community at large to engage with a Speaker Series to complement the grand “reveal” of the murals. 

In order to address the growing issue of poverty and the need for criminal justice reform, CityTeam is launching an innovative program to prevent the intersectional experiences of poverty, homelessness and recidivism among young people who are formerly incarcerated, criminal justice system impacted or exiting foster care.

Milagro’s El Zocalo Plaza Activation Project includes a series of bicycle safety video shorts, community engagement workshops, mini-concerts and bike rides in the Green Loop of the Central Eastside from now through the summer of 2022. 

Rewilding Free Skills Series will offer a monthly outdoors skills class at the Esplanade for the houseless community and outdoor enthusiasts. The class will teach self-sufficiency skills such as plant identification, first aid, making cordage, simple basket weaving, and tent repair to a diverse population, connecting neighbors to place and cultivating resiliency through applied learning. Rewild Portland works in partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, P:ear, Cascadia Wild, and The Columbia Basin Basketmakers Guild.

Portland Opera is partnering with Ballet Folklorico and Latino Network to provide public performances and artistic programming related to the opera “Frida,” including a street mural and live Mexican folk dance, at the OMSI Bridge Lot, just north of the Hampton Opera Center on Water Avenue. Portland Opera will also present additional live, free opera performances at this location throughout the remainder of summer 2021.

In February 2019, Portland City Council unanimously voted to approve an Enhanced Services District (ESD) in the Central Eastside, the first ESD in Portland in nearly 20 years. Known as Central Eastside Together, the ESD is managed by the Central Eastside Industrial Council (CEIC), the area’s business association. Its goal is to ensure that the district is safe for all, enhance the pedestrian experience, to reinforce economic viability and to promote Central Eastside’s unique identity through innovative and highly-responsive programs including the Community Grant Program. The Community Grant Program is funded through the Enhanced Services District as outlined in the ESD service plan.

For more information on Central Eastside Together Community Grant Program please visit:

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