Artist Bobby Mercier stands in front of his newly installed wood carving in the Portland Building, located downtown at SW 5th Avenue and SW Main Street.

"Even though we were removed, we are not gone."

November is Native American Heritage Month. A month dedicated to recognize the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the U.S.
Earlier this month, the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) commemorated the installation of a wood art carving by artist
 Bobby Mercier. Mercier’s piece is the first installation in a special collection of art planned for the Portland Building, located downtown at SW 5th Avenue and SW Main Street. The new collection features work created by Indigenous artists with multigenerational ties to Portland.
Mercier detailed the meaning of the piece, including providing the historical and cultural symbolism and craftsmanship that went into the piece. You can
 watch the video of his presentation.

Mercier is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. He was raised near the reservation and is known by the name given to him by his Grandfather, Beartracks. He is a well-known traditional carver and is dedicated to preserving the history of his ancestors. In creating his new work for this collection, Mercier thought especially about the location of the Portland Building and the people who will view his piece. “I hope that the people who come here will know the people who used to be here," he said. "We’re still here. Even though we were removed, we are not gone.” 
Thank you to RACC for capturing this beautiful presentation by Bobby Mercier on video as he describes his process and artistic practice when he recently installed this new artwork.
Image shows 2020 and 2021 SEED Grant Fund recipient, Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center + Rosemary Anderson High School (POIC + RAHS) Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Program. The program prepares young adults of color and those from low-income communities for full-time construction apprenticeships and living-wage professional careers in the construction industry.

Grants Plant a SEED, Watch Them Grow

The City of Portland’s Social Equity & Educational Development (SEED) Initiatives are now accepting applications for the 2022 SEED Grant. The SEED Grant Fund works to aid, strengthen, and advance restorative justice, community reinvestment, and wealth creation for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) who have been disproportionately impacted by more than 80 years of cannabis prohibition laws.

Last year's SEED Grant awarded 17 community non-profits and businesses a total of $1.8 million. The grant program continues to gain momentum, and last year more than 123 applications were submitted compared to 31 applications in the prior cycle. Here is an overview of past cycles of the SEED Grant:
“Portland is becoming the national model on using local cannabis tax revenue to benefit communities most harmed by racially-biased enforcement of cannabis criminalization," said Cannabis Program Supervisor Dasheeda Dawson. “In May, City Council tripled the program's investment in equity, restorative justice and community funding which means even more Portlanders will receive financial, educational and support resources, particularly those who suffered generational harm due to the impact of the War on Drugs.”

For more information, and to apply for the SEED Grant, visit the City’s Cannabis Program website.

INFORMATIONAL MEETINGS: Round 1 informational sessions will held and recorded on: 

  • Monday, Nov. 29 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. PST
  • Friday, Dec. 3 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. PST

To RSVP, please email for more details.

Image of Gabriel Park located in Southwest Portland.

Southwest Neighborhood Support Underway

We are pleased to announce that we have hired two coordinators, Leah Fisher and Sharon Keast, to support Southwest neighborhood associations and the Southwest community. Please find their bios at the end of this newsletter.

In the next six months, they will build a support network for the Southwest neighborhood and focus on these five priorities: 
  • Connect with Southwest neighborhoods by attending neighborhood association meetings and hosting learning sessions.
  • Build an assessment of neighborhood association needs.
  • Launch a public request for proposals for a liability insurance provider to provide insurance to Southwest neighborhood associations.
  • Build a communications framework to ensure SW neighbors and neighborhood associations are connected to City resources, events, and grant opportunities.
  • Initiate a small grants program and reimbursement process.
If you are interested in learning more about Portland's neighborhood associations or want to look up your neighborhood boundary, please visit our new website.

Questions about the Southwest transition can be sent to

Public Input Improves Civic Life's Work

Did you know that Civic Life has an advisory board that is tasked with providing guidance to the bureau? The Bureau Advisory Committee (or BAC) was established to provide independent guidance to Civic Life. The committee is made up of seven local community members who have diverse backgrounds, experiences, viewpoints, and skills. During their two-year terms, committee members attend and participate in meetings, study local issues, and give input to the director of Civic Life. Their tasks include:  
  • Providing guidance to the Civic Life director and leadership team on the effective use of resources as it relates to the bureau's overall strategic aim, racial equity plan, and COVID-19 era responsiveness; 
  • Reviewing bureau goals, program priorities, and spending; 
  • Informing participation in Civic Life's annual budget process; and 
  • Acting as an ambassador for the bureau and for the city. 
BAC meetings are always open to the public and have a designated time during each meeting for public comment. To learn more about the BAC, please visit their website.

Grant Opportunities!

Neighbors West-Northwest Community Small Grants offers seed-money, training, and technical support to community-focused groups in or serving the Neighbors West-Northwest service area. The goals of the Community Small Grants program are to increase involvement and engagement in the broader community; strengthen community capacity by building community leadership, identity, skills, relationships, and partnerships; increase community impact on public decisions and community life; support community resiliency efforts; and care for the environment. If you have a project that will reach one or more of these goals apply for a Small Grant today! Staff are available to answer any questions or assist in the application process. In addition, Neighbors West-Northwest is looking for new grant review committee members. This is an approximately 10-15 hour commitment, twice a year. Contact Anastasia if you’re interested!

Grant applications are due by Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.
Apply for Neighbors West Northwest Grant
North Portland Neighborhood Services Small Grants Reimbursement Program supports community building and community activities in North Portland. A total of $27,000 in funding is available for this grant cycle to be awarded to North Portland organizations and groups. Requested amounts may range from $500- $4,900. Funds will be eligible for reimbursement for programming expenses starting Feb. 1, 2022 to Feb. 28, 2023.

There will be two informational sessions: Monday Nov. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. 
and Saturday Dec. 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. 

Learn more about the small grants reimbursement program, and read more details here.

Applications are due on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021. Contact Mary Jaron Kelley for more details
Apply for North Portland Neighborhood Grant

Meet Our New Civic Life Employees

Please join us and welcoming our two new employees!

Sharon Keast has joined Civic Life as one of two Southwest neighborhood coordinators. Before joining Civic Life, Sharon served as the communications and technology support liaison at Southwest Neighborhoods. Her role was to support the newsletter, design, website, database management, email, and technology trainings to ensure neighborhood associations were able to engage with more community members. Sharon was the technology director at the Tryon Creek Watershed Council and a financial informational technology manager before moving to Oregon. Sharon also served in many voluntary officer capacities for a Southwest neighborhood association.

Leah Fisher will be joining Civic Life as one of two Southwest neighborhood coordinators on Monday, Nov. 29. Before joining Civic Life, Leah served as the interim executive director at SE Uplift Neighborhood Coalition. She was also their neighborhood planning program manager and neighborhood liaison. Prior to her tenure at SE Uplift, Leah worked with communities in Southwest Portland, including Metro’s Southwest Corridor Plan where she collaborated with nine municipalities to conduct civic engagement with Southwest neighborhood associations and community groups.

Office of Community & Civic Life
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 110
Portland, Oregon 97204
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