Communities of Color
The disparities continue. There are many reasons for them, and I have focused much of my career on two of the biggest ones: housing and schools. A home is the foundation for a successful life. Many of life’s other challenges can be addressed after one is in a safe warm and dry home that provides dignity. Education is my other focus, that also includes career training (CTE) and youth mentoring. A good education is the route out of poverty to a fulfilling life.
Delta House was an urban, senior affordable housing project for the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority in North Portland. The concept was modeled after a sorority house, a place that fosters a tightly knit community, except this was for seniors. Each resident had their own independent living unit. On the ground floor was a living room, dining room, common kitchen, porch, garden, social service rooms, and youth classrooms that gave residents places to socialize, mingle with neighbors, and mentor the youth in the community. Click here for more information on the project.
The Whitaker School Site was a proposal to build a 21st century K-8 school with a community of affordable housing around it. Next to the school would be a neighborhood that encouraged diversity, supported neighborhood businesses, and fit well with the existing community. The Whitaker School site project was a collaboration with the Housing Organizations of Color Coalition (HOCC) and the Enterprise Foundation. This project sought to build the visions and seek physical solutions for several ongoing Portland initiatives: 1. Safe, Sound and Green Streets: pedestrian safety cross walks, bike safety - bike lanes, traffic calming. 2. Metro 2040: efficient use of land, diverse housing options, safe and stable neighborhoods. 3. Vision PDX: safe streets, variety of housing that was affordable, high quality of education. 4. Schools, Families, Housing Initiative: help families keep homes near neighborhood schools, safe routes to school. Click here for more information on the project.
Interstate Crossing. Twelve single parents have just been reunited with their children after going through a substance abuse program and can now move into Interstate Crossing. Most have never been in a stable home. They enter their new home. A huge space is filled with light and color. This is their first big step into a new life that has hope. Click here for more information on the project.
Albina Head Start was on the ground floor of Interstate Crossing. Every working parent's dream - to have a safe and nurturing place for your children in the same building. Bright colors, playful windows and lots of natural light are part of the design. A small play yard with play structure and bike track is adjacent to the classrooms. Click here for more information on the project.
80% in 4 years was a plan to raise high school graduation rates across Portland to 80% at a time when 80% seemed unachievable by many. The concept was for Portland City Council to take a leadership role in school outcomes by coordinating community groups city-wide, and then helping to make students ready for school with stable affordable housing, and with activities after school and on weekends. The plan directly benefited students of color.
80% in 4 years was made for the Mayor's office in 2013. City Council did not act on it, but it still could be implemented, this time with higher goals. Click here for more information on the plan.
The Sounds of Jefferson. Stuart helped get funding for the band in 2016. This was a program that gave students at Jefferson High School a fun and productive activity after school.
The Portland Public Schools bonds was a plan to rebuild schools with a focus on high schools first. Stuart was on leadership committees and a strong advocate for providing our kids with schools that are safe and modernized.
Stuart Emmons in 1973
in his school woodshop
CTE (career technical education). I have been and will continue to be a big supporter of CTE. Woodworking was my anchor when I was at high school, and I personally understand how some students can benefit greatly from access to shops, labs and their teachers. I learned about life through my time in my school shop, as well as coming out with a trade that could get me a well-paying, fulfilling job after school if I wanted one. My woodworking became the foundation for my architectural career. Similar experiences to mine can happen for hundreds of Portland students, some who are at-risk of not graduating. I support partnering with businesses and the trades to make our CTE programs current and as good as they can be.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Gateway. A boulevard named in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. should embody the soul, ideas and vision of this great American. Our goal was to translate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s vision into built form in order to help stimulate a neighborhood. Portland's Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard sidewalks needed people, and the community needed good gathering places, so we designed a two story community restaurant on the corner. Upstairs, large common tables with open seating would help bring people in the community together. It was designed to be a fun space, with good food, good drink and a good vibe. Behind the community restaurant building were affordable townhouses. This was the start of a new attitude towards the boulevard named after this great man. Click here for more information on the project.
MLK, Jr. Gateway Student Shadow. There are not enough minority owned businesses in Portland. As part of this project, we proposed to PDC that we open up our project to nearby Jefferson and Benson high school students, and have them shadow the Emmons design team and our engineers as the project unfolded. The students could come to client meetings and see how projects came to be. Then, they would be with the design team through the permitting process to understand zoning and life safety codes. And then the student group would be with the project team through construction, from foundations to finish, meet the contractors and see all the trades in action. The students would also have been part of group discussions with small business people on the project team about steps to starting a business and how to be successful. If this plan had been accepted by the City, good chance some, or many, of those students would have been inspired to go into design or construction or the building trades. And maybe even start their own business.
Rockwood has a broken up community brought on by many new residents who rent and don’t socialize outside their immediate groups. It was essential to repair the community foundation. Through community meetings with neighbors, it was determined that Rockwood’s problems were brought on by low household incomes, no community watch and gang activity. Soccer, after school youth programs, a larger library were recommended to help reduce gangs preying on the neighborhood’s youth. Increasing household income strategies included: Adult education, job counseling, more family wage jobs. building a stronger community: for sale housing, soccer (parents socialize on the sidelines while youth play on the field), streets designed to maximize socializing, and locally owned retail. Click here for more information on the project.
I was on the Board of Don't Shoot Portland and have marched for justice with Don't Shoot Portland, Portland Resistance and also for DACA.
he NAYA School Master Plan (also known as Neerchokikoo), is a sustainable campus master plan for NAYA on the former 10 acre Whitaker Lakeside School campus on Columbia Boulevard in Portland. The campus plan reuses the existing high school and adds a Sustainable Vocational School, Longhouse for community gatherings, and a new super sustainable Services Building. The campus is reconfigured to focus the buildings on the Whitaker Ponds wildlife refuge to the north. Click here for more information on the project.
Kah San Chako Haws (‘East House’ in Chinook) is the Pacific Northwest’s first completed modular multi-family affordable housing project, and one of the first in the United States. NAYA Family Center, a Native American social service non-profit organization, is the owner of the project.
The goal of Kah San Chako Haws was to set the stage for a new generation of affordable housing in Oregon and other states that reduces unit costs, reduces delivery time, increases quality, improves unit design, is greener, and most importantly, has a positive impact on the number of affordable units built in the United States.
Click here for more information on the project.