By Sabin CDC
Opening in Winter of 2022, Sabin CDC plans two new housing developments — on Northeast 14th and Killingsworth Street and one st NE 72 near Cully Park — which together are set to be major affordable housing developments bringing a total of 41 units that are badly needed in an already priced-out city.
But Sabin isn’t just building two buildings; they’re building out a heritage in the neighborhood, one that has been nurtured by a beloved man who has helped families and individuals for many, many years.
Honoring that man, Sabin is creating an umbrella concept for its developments called The Harvey Rice Heritage. The effort honors Sabin CDC’s current board chair who, through activism and civic engagement, is a community leader whose work has touched communities throughout greater Portland.
Known for his work at Tri-Met, Portland State, the AARP, his church, and the African American Chamber of Commerce, Harvey’s voice can be heard as an advocate for the strengthening of community ties, for an understanding of human frailty, and for reaching across the table to shake someone’s hand.
A resident of the Vernon Neighborhood for close to 40 years and Sabin CDC’s board chair since 2013, Harvey has guided Sabin from a struggling organization to a thriving one. Next steps: expanding its future opportunities to serve the traditionally African American population of Inner North and Northeast Portland.
Isaka Shamsud-Din lives in North Portland, and was raised in Vanport and Columbia Villa (now New Columbia). He was profoundly influenced by the racial injustice that he saw and experienced both in Portland and around the country. He weaves his African American heritage within his art as a means of strengthening community.
Through different media, he expresses a permanent history of what it means to be Black in America and, more locally, to honor a community that has been disbanded by the forces of gentrification. An exhibit of Shamsud Din’s work is currently on exhibit at the Portland Art Museum (you can see it online at portlandartmuseum.org/exhibitions/isaka-shamsud-din).
Charlotte Lewis (1934-1999) was a multimedia artist noted for her work as a painter and as a quilter of complex scenes. One of her “fabric paintings” as she called them, Isis, is part of the permanent collection of the North Portland Library on North Killingsworth Street. After a long career working on commissioned pieces, Lewis shifted her focus to community work.
Although she had no children of her own, she is best remembered for her devotion to North and Northeast Portland kids. Lewis taught art to children at the Black Educational Center (also formerly on North Killingsworth Street) and in the Portland Public Schools. Her Kwanzaa events at the Firehouse Cultural Center were renowned. One of the last art collections Lewis completed was a series of images for a Multnomah County Healthy Birth Initiative outreach pamphlet, recruiting young mothers and fathers for a parenting education program.
When Sabin CDC began in 1991, its role was as a revitalizer by investing in the renovation of abandoned buildings. Now, its role is that of a preservationist ensuring that low-income and at-risk residents can remain in the now-thriving neighborhoods.
Because stable housing is a first step to economic and social stability, Sabin CDC’s role as a provider of affordable housing is one way to dismantle barriers and improve community conditions overall by consistently pursuing an agenda that places people first.
Find out more online at www.sabincdc.us.