A illustration that reads: "National Expungement Week, Re-entry, Repair, Healing"

A Week of Action & Awareness

This year marks the very first time that the City of Portland will participate in National Expungement Work’s National Expungement Week

National Expungement Works created National Expungement Week to bring awareness, but more importantly create action
— like provide community legal aid to expunge, clear or seal eligible records.

People that have records can feel the impact for years, and even generations. A record can affect access to employment, business, occupational licensing, housing, voting, education, and other rights, benefits, and opportunities. 

When Oregon legalized cannabis use, it allowed the City to begin a path toward building restorative and reparative cannabis policies and programs
— including the Cannabis Program’s SEED Grant which provides funding to those disproportionally harmed by the past war on drugs. While the City recognizes that there is still much more work to be done to resolve generational inequities, a starting point is the SEED Grant program.

Today, Sept. 22 at 10:30 a.m., Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty co-sponsored a National Expungement Week Proclamation. You can watch the recording here.

Civic Life’s SEED Grant Program
Our Cannabis Program is committed to resolving generational inequities through the $1.8M SEED Initiatives. The SEED Grant Fund recipients are tasked with providing programs or services that support economic and educational development of Black and brown communities, which were most impacted by cannabis prohibition. 

Learn more about the work underway of this year’s SEED grant recipients. Here are the five grantees already undergoing expungement-related work in the community this fiscal year:

A photo of the front of the Rosewood Initiative building. There is rain on the ground and large planter boxes in the foreground.

Legal Clinic Day 

The Rosewood Initiative is a nonprofit organization that has been supporting neighbor-led strategies since they opened their doors in 2009. Their building doubles as their administrative office and a place for community to gather. Over 14,000 live in Rosewood which spans two cities, three school districts and five neighborhood associations—and is one of the most diverse areas in the State of Oregon.

“Our community is not only diverse, but it is strong, resilient, and talented, said Rosewood Initiative Communications Director Jossie de la Garza. “But some have previously experienced racial injustices and are weighed down with former arrest and convictions on their records—some dating back when they were teenagers. These records are still affecting them as adults and parents, and can prevent them from employment, housing and more. In addition, some are burdened with very large fines and fees with Multnomah County Circuit Court.”

In 2017 the Rosewood Initiative began partnering with Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office, Metropolitan Public Defender, Multnomah County Circuit Court staff to promote Legal Services Day.

This free service is an opportunity for community members that have outstanding court fees and/or previous records to get support from public defenders and judges. During Legal Services Day, people can find out if they are eligible for expungement as well as exchange completed community service for fines and fees relief (due to COVID, the program has put a temporary hold on requiring community service hours).

Legal Service Day has tremendous interest from the community, with hundreds of people showing up to each event. To improve the process and make it more accessible, Multnomah County decided to make it a monthly event. Every month, 60 qualifying individuals are randomly selected to have their Multnomah County fines and fees waived. To get into the pool, individuals must fill out a form on Rosewood’s website and fall 200% below the federal poverty level or receive government benefits. “Rosewood Initiative works to impact the social determinants of our community’s health- including community wellness, economic opportunity, and transportation,” said de la Garza. “Offering free legal services to our community is a way to positively impact and uplift our community.”

Due to COVID, Legal Service Day is operating online. Find out more about Legal Services Day or call the Legal Service Day Hotline at 503-273-8224.
Image of a Gee's Bend quilt. The quilt has many colorful, long, and various sized rectangular pieces sewn together
Pieced Quilt, c. 1979 by Lucy Mingo, Gee's Bend, Alabama

Together, Stitching Hope Piece by Piece 

I am M.O.R.E. is hosting a culturally relevant and spiritually-infused quilting project to inspire Black youth to invent new patterns for their lives and create something beautiful. Community members can participate in this project the following ways: 

  • Quilt Creation: Youth participants will be offered sewing classes so that they can create a quilt. They will receive a $150 stipend upon completion and will be entered into a drawing to win a sewing machine.
  • Fabric Donation: This project is looking for ethnic fabric donations for youth to use in their quilts.
  • Sewing Instructors: Adults are welcome to volunteer as sewing instructors.

Sign up to participate or volunteer here.

This project is funded through the "Community Safety and Healing through Art" grant. The grant provides funds for art-inspired projects that allow communities to address grief and healing so that Portlanders can feel connected and safe.

Woman joins a video training from the comfort of her home. The "Shizu Akagi and Mary Foumal Memorial Webinar Series" are free and open to the public. They will address how we can change mindsets and raise expectations of and for disabled people.

Changing Mindsets & Raising Expectations

As part of Civic Life’s Disability Leadership grant program, please join grant recipient, Linda K. Akagi and co-presenter Dr. Aisha Y. Musa for a powerful training “The Shizu Akagi and Mary Foumal Memorial Webinar Series.” The webinars will aim to change mindsets and to raise expectations of and for disabled people.

“While there have been significant legal victories for disabled people over the course of the half-century, it is important to underscore that disabled people still experience low expectations from non-disabled parents, teachers, and the public at large. This often leads disabled people to have low expectations for themselves. We aim to break this cycle, by raising expectations, challenging perceptions, and supporting a new pattern of thinking,” said Dr. Musa.

Akagi and Musa presenters are dedicating this webinar to their mother’s, Shizu Akagi and Mary Foumal, because “they fought relentlessly to ensure that we had every possible opportunity to succeed,” said Musa. “They never accepted less for us or expected less of us than to make the most of those opportunities. It is only because of them that we are where we are today.” The date for the training is also intentional as Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, marks the 100th anniversary of Mary Foumal’s birth, making it an important and auspicious date for our first webinar in the series.

The training is intended for a wide audience, including disabled youth and adults, and the people who live and work with, and/or provide services to disabled people. The webinar presentation will include verbal descriptions of images and closed captioning. For further information, email Dr. Aisha Musa at

Learn more about Civic Life’s disability program by visiting:

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Join us in celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. This month-long celebration honors the rich history and contributions of over 62 million people living in the United States, and their ancestors, from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, and Europe. It should be noted that, for many, the term "Hispanic" is an inaccurate and even harmful identifier. In fact, the City of Portland Latinx affinity group intentionally choose to call this month-long celebration, Latinx Heritage Month. Learn more about this important and complex topic here.

AARP Oregon will host local activists, Jose and Kathy Romero and Reyna Lopez Osuna, executive director of PCUN, the Oregon Farmworker's Union, to discuss some of the challenges faced by the Hispanic/Latino community in Oregon. Hear their stories and what Portlanders can do to support them. Join the Facebook livestream beginning Thursday, Sept. 23 beginning at 10 a.m.

Today, Sept. 22, the City of Portland’s Latinx PDX Employee Affinity Group, with the support of the Mayor’s and Commissioners’ offices, presented the 2021 Latinx Heritage Month Proclamation. You can watch the presentation and accompanying performances here.

No-Cost Anti-Racist Trainings

Civic Life’s Constructing Civic Dialogues program provides no-cost training on communication and conflict resolution to the public.

This year, we’ve partnered with several community organizations and businesses to provide free curriculum that is applicable to everyone.

This month, the radical educator, Vo Vo, is offering a set of unique trainings that explore racial justice, intercultural communication, trauma-informed care, de-escalation, and transformative justice. Vo Vo has trained staff and board members from more than 300 organizations in Oregon and Washington.

Friday, Sept. 24, 12 - 1:00 p.m. "Knowing Limits and Boundary Setting"
Monday, Sept. 27, 12 - 1:00 p.m. "Building Culturally Resilience"

Find out more and RSVP on our website.

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