A coalition of three non-profits will host a community celebration on Neighbors Night Out, Tuesday August 6, to mark the purchase of a blighted triangle located between Northeast Cully Boulevard, Portland Highway and Killingsworth Street.
The celebration at the site will follow completion of the July sale of the 2.18-acre property and 26,000-square-foot building valued at more than $3 million for $2.365 million and follows property securing, landscaping and clean-up in mid-July. Funds raised for the sale are a combination of loans, grants and donations, according to Living Cully executive director, Tony DeFalco. Partners in the investment funding include Craft3, Portland Development Commission, Oregon Community Foundation and Meyer Memorial Trust.
De Falco told the Hollywood Star News that, during the next six months, Living Cully would be assessing community needs and how the non-profit can develop the property to meet them. Living Cully is a coalition of Hacienda, Habitat for Humanity and Verde that came together over the past ten months, as de Falco put it, “to respond to a 20-year community call for renovation of this part of the neighborhood. Having an adult business operate in plain sight of so many families who lived right across the street was not good for the community.”
When asked about negative aspects of gentrification, de Falco responded, “Gentrification is not bad when improvements meet community needs and do not displace residents or businesses…that’s what we’re looking for here: to get community-serving retail businesses in place and to begin siting some affordable housing nearby.” He said there used to be a gasoline station on the eastern tip of the property and that the land has been tested and is clean, an ideal spot to build a new fuel facility.
De Falco pointed across Killingsworth Street to the south where the Housing Authority of Portland will provide more affordable housing in addition to office space for Hacienda and 2,000 square feet of retail space. To the east, Thomas Cully Park is under construction, and the area in between is ripe for more affordable housing.