Two people working in a local cannabis store stand behind a counter and take cannabis out of jars and place it on a scale to weigh it.
Budtenders Justin Jackson (left) and Quinton Dixon (right) prepare of store opening in a cannabis store located in the Burlingame neighborhood.

Providing a Safety Net for Cannabis Business & Workers

On Wednesday, Dec. 1, Portland City Council voted to approve Civic Life’s Cannabis Emergency Relief Fund (CERF). The vote is historic as Portland becomes the first government jurisdiction in the country to allocate cannabis tax revenue to help cannabis businesses and workers as they continue to endure the impacts of robberies, COVID-19, and wildfires.
Since March 2020, a total of 200 cannabis retail establishments have been burglarized—an average of 10 burglaries a month—with many establishments being hit multiple times. The council presentation also referenced Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Control (OLCC)’s data  that shows a 115% increase in Portland burglaries in 2020 compared to 2019. See news release

Created by Civic Life’s Cannabis Program, the $1.33 million dollar fund will provide grants to locally licensed cannabis businesses and employees that have been impacted by the multiple emergencies in 2020 and 2021, including an uptick in burglaries, COVID-19 impacts, and wildfire-related destruction to cannabis farms and ancillary businesses.

This grant is an important lifeline for an industry that is ineligible for federal relief dollars. Cannabis businesses operate as cash-only making them targets for burglaries. Furthermore, cannabis-related businesses do not qualify for state or federal COVID-related aid nor have the option to file for bankruptcy.

“Despite record tax revenue growth for the state, 2020 and 2021 have proven to be the toughest years for the operators in Oregon’s cannabis industry,” said City of Portland Cannabis Program Supervisor Dasheeda Dawson. “Following recommendations from our Cannabis Policy Oversight Team (CPOT) 2020 Annual Report 2020 Annual Report, our bureau has worked hard to pilot a much-needed 'safety net' to protect as many Portland-based cannabis companies as possible.”

CERF will administer funds through umbrella grant agreements with three uniquely positioned community partners already providing programs and services (including emergency relief) to the target recipients of the CERF funds—cannabis businesses and workers. On Dec. 3, NuLeaf Executive Director Jeanette Ward-Horton (a CERF community partner), spoke on OPB’s Think Out Loud. You can listen to the twelve minute interview here

CERF applications open on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. CERF applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until all funds are disbursed or until the end of FY2021-2022 (ending on June 30, 2022), whichever is first. 

Find out more and if you qualify to apply for the fund on our website.
Photo of Kenton Hotel in the Portland neighborhood Kenton.
Image showing Kenton Hotel in North Portland Neighborhood Kenton.

New Neighborhood Website

Civic Life’s Neighborhood Program has a new website! The new site allows users to easily look up their neighborhood boundaries and search information about Portland neighborhoods.

One great feature of the new website is the neighborhood directory. These pages offer information about neighborhood association contacts and meeting times, neighborhood parks, and important city-wide projects impacting specific neighborhoods. Please be sure to check out the new website and let us know what you think!
A image of a map showing Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Haitian Migration & Solidarity

Saturday, Dec. 18 is International Migrants Day. Each year, the United Nations uses this day to highlight the contributions made by migrants as well as bring awareness to the challenges they face. This year, you are invited to a discussion around immigrants and migrants from Haiti. Organized by local organizations, the free discussion, "Understanding Haitian Migration & Solidarity," brings awareness to the violence against and deportation of thousands of Haitian asylum-seekers at the US-Mexico border. This is an educational and community-building event focused on US imperialism in Haiti, the experiences of Haitian (im)migrants, and building collective power to take action. The event will feature speakers from Black Alliance for Just Immigration, the local Haitian community, and more.

Understanding Haitian Migration & Solidarity
Thursday, Dec. 16 from 6 to 7:30pm
You can register to join the
free virtual event here.

If you are interested in how Civic Life provides support for Portland's immigrant communities please visit our Immigration & Refugee Program website.
A person wearing a N95 mask opens a door and greets a neighbor also wearing a mask.

Free Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Available

The City of Portland is working with Multnomah County to distribute free PPE to small businesses as they clear their warehouse to make way for severe weather sheltering items.

If you are a small business and would like to request PPE items for your business to safely conduct business and keep employees safe, please visit Multnomah County's Community Organization Resources Request website.

If you need help submitting a request, or need to follow-up on a request you have already submitted, please call and talk to a representative directly at 503-988-8940, or email
A photo of a street covered in snow.
Image of 2017 snow storm in Portland which accumulated more than a foot of snow on the city and metro area.

Getting Winter Ready

Can you believe it is already December? Along with radio stations playing holiday music on loop, spending quality time  with friends and family, we should also anticipate winter weather impacting our daily routines. Luckily Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has done a lot of the winter weather planning for you! Heavy rain, landslides, snow, or ice, PBOT is the City's lead agency keeping our streets safe during inclement weather. Their website has news, information, and guides to keep you safe as well as information on road closures and chain advisories. You can find their website here, and be sure to check out: Stay safe out there!
A photo of a pink alarm clock in front of a blue background

SEED Grant Applications Due Dec. 1

You are invited to apply for the 2022 Social Equity & Educational Development (SEED) Grant Fund an equity-driven, restorative justice and community reinvestment grant funded by the City of Portland’s 3% local tax on adult-use cannabis retail sales.
Now in its the fifth year, $1,000,000 are available in grants across three funding options:
  • Four (4) one-time grants at $50,000 per grant 
  • Four (4) one-time grants at $75,000 total per grant
  • Two (2) two-year grants at $250,000 total per grant ($125,000 per year) 
Applicants may request funding for projects or programs in the following priority areas including but not limited to:   
  • Education
  • Entrepreneurship and Economic Development 
  • Expungement and Criminal Justice
If you have experience or expertise in one of the priority areas and/or provide multicultural and community-specific engagementthis might be the grant for you! 

All first-round applications should be submitted via email in a PDF format by Friday, Dec. 10, 2021 by 5PM PST to For more details, visit:
A photo of a hand reaching into frame while holding a red and white bullhorn. Behind the hand and bullhorn is a bright pink and yellow background.

Civic Life is Hiring!

Civic Life's programs invest in building strong civic engagement, community leadership, and support relationships between businesses and their neighbors. The Graffiti Program is currently hiring for a new position, come join our team!

Graffiti Abatement Coordinator works with owners, contractors, and multiple private/public entities to encourage community members to report graffiti to the City of Portland via the graffiti hotline and online reporting. The position will also be responsible for responding to concerns, complaints, and inquiries from interested community members, while establishing strategic priorities for graffiti removal, and more. 
To read the full job description and instructions on how to apply, please visit the City's job website.
Office of Community & Civic Life
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 110
Portland, Oregon 97204
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