Many organizations say they plan to help improve the lot of hard-working, but low-income, families and individuals.
But, for the last fifteen years, ROSE (which stands for 'Revitalize Outer South East') Community Development Corporation has actually been doing it: By building affordable housing, providing supportive services, and creating economic opportunities in the area.
At this year's ROSE Donor Breakfast at OMSI, executive director Nick Sauvie told us, 'Since our first project, rehabilitating a house for a low-income family in 1992, our work has extended beyond housing. We are improving economic conditions in our neighborhoods, and giving people the tools and the support they need to improve their lives.'
The breakfast program, held at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry on November 8th, moved briskly along - thanks to Mistress of Ceremonies Amy Jacobs, who works for ROSE community partner Fred Meyer Stores. After a video program produced by Portland YouthBuilders that highlighted the organization's accomplishments in 2007, several individuals were called forward to accept awards for their participation.
Business Partner Award: Walsh Construction
Andrew Beyer accepted on behalf of his company. 'Because this is a breakfast meeting, I have toasts for you this morning; I hope you'll all participate,' he began.
'First is a toast to Teamwork. This project [newly opened housing project Leander Court], for which we're being honored this morning, demonstrates that remarkable things can happen when we bring a team of talented people together.
'Second is a toast to Commitment. What I've observed is that every team member came fully committed to making Leander Court a success. We can all agree that this project is extraordinary in terms of what it offers to the community, to ROSE, and to the City of Portland.
'Third is a toast to 'The Dawn of a New Day'. At Walsh, many of our projects are involved in bettering our community. What gets me up in the morning is knowing that we're working to improve our community. The children at Leander Court have a safe place they can play, live, and have a good life with their families. Here's to Hope!'
Community Partner Award: Portland Impact
Accepting for her organization was Susanne Washington.
'I offer a sincere thank-you to ROSE CDC. Portland Impact started working with Portland's low-income families in the 1960s. It is exciting to have ROSE in Outer Southeast Portland building truly-affordable family housing. Our organization is always looking for places where families can live, get stabilized and back on their feet.
'Our 'Bridges to Housing' project helps homeless families transition back into the community; we have families placed at Leander Court, and other ROSE facilities. We're really proud of the partnership between ROSE and Portland Impact.'
Community Leader Award
East Portland Crime Prevention Specialist Rosanne Lee was given her award, Sauvie announced, for 'Working tirelessly in our neighborhoods to increase the quality of life by reducing crime'.
Lee responded, 'For the past number of years, I've enjoyed working with ROSE in my role as a Crime Prevention Coordinator in both East and Southeast Portland. I have very good memories - including serving on the Brentwood/Darlington Weed and Seed board with Nick.
'I've watched their commitment to building Community by building safe and comfortable homes and housing. But also, to help many acquire the skills they need to grow economically.
'One of my favorite activities has been working with 'Shop with a Cop' and 'National Night Out against Crime' events. I look forward to continuing our community-building and crime-fighting efforts in southeast Portland.'
Outstanding ROSE Volunteer Award
As she accepted her award, Anna Zamudio said, 'Thanks to ROSE Community Development for the opportunity to volunteer. I've learned to work and save money for our projects. 'Shop with a Cop' is a great program that helps young students get a good start in school. I'm really thankful for everybody who helped me.'
The donor appeal
ROSE Board Member Roger Anthony took the podium and told the story of how a family's housing hopes were raised as they toured Leander Court together - but then sank, when he had to break the bad news: There were far more applications than there were available units.
'If we'd known how popular these apartments were going to be, we'd have built an extra floor or two. That's why, in a way, we're here today.
'At ROSE Community Development, we're very proud and enormously pleased with the work we've done, and how we've grown over the past 15 years.
'At the same time, the need for affordable housing has grown even more rapidly. Every day at ROSE, we see young families starting out; workers who have lost their jobs' people looking for a chance - or a second chance - to build a good life.
'At ROSE, we believe everyone deserves a safe, clean and comfortable home. We think that a stable home is the keystone to a successful life.
'Our theme has been the 'Dawn of a New Day'. East Portland is changing. When I-205 light rail opens up next year, the pace of change will accelerate dramatically. When that new day dawns, we'd like to make sure we have your help to make sure there is a warm, welcoming spot for everyone in Southeast Portland.'