"Your name came up on a list of assassination targets. You have to leave."
A close up portrait of advocate Dr. Butti
Dr. Baher Butti was honored with the 2019 Portland Immigrant Award on December 4. Dr. Butti is an activist, doctor, advocate, and past co-chair of Civic Life's New Portland Policy Commission. Image shows Dr. Butti posing for the camera in downtown Portland. Photo courtesy of Jan Landis / The Immigrant Story. 
Dr. Baher Butti grew up in Baghdad and experienced the consequences of expressing opposition to the Iraqi government--both his father and grandfather were imprisoned for their political ideologies. So, when Dr. Butti received a phone call telling him that his political activism landed him on an assassination list, he knew he had to leave his home country. In 2007 after arriving in the United States on a visitor visa, he was granted asylum and started the first Arabic-speaking mental health program at OHSU. A year and a half later, Dr. Butti’s family joined him in Portland.

Dr. Butti has continued to advocate for freedom, democracy, and mental health rights in the United States. He founded the Iraqi Society of Oregon and the Center for Intercultural Wellness as “an approach to wellness of refugees and immigrants through healing, adjustment and community organizing.” He is also the past co-chair of Civic Life’s New Portland Policy Commission, which advises the City on policies and practices to help integrate immigrant and refugee communities’ voices and needs.
Image of two people standing next to each other, one is proudly holding an award he just won while the other celebrates with a smile
Pictured: Linda Castillo, Civic Life's immigrant integration practice advisor, and Dr Baher Butti celebrating in City Hall after Dr. Butti won the 2019 Portland Immigrant Award
On December 4, Dr. Butti was invited to City Council to receive the 2019 Portland Immigrant Award. Co-sponsored by the Portland Immigrant Statute and The Immigrant Story, the award honors the work of an outstanding member of Portland’s immigrant community. We are very proud of Dr. Butti’s dedication to Portland’s growing and vibrant immigrant and refugee community. 

On November 26, Dr. Butti helped swear in five new members of the New Portlanders Policy Commission: Mohammad Bader, Blanca Gaytan Farfan, Ahmed Alzubidi, Salome Nanyenga, Bernal Cruz Muñoz. Find out more the commission's work and impact here>>

Cannabis Social Equity Grant

Image of a meeting at Portland cannabis business, Green Hop. One person stands while giving a presentation to 5 people sitting in semi-circle.
Image of one of the Year 2 Cannabis Social Equity Grant recipients, Green Hop, conducting a meeting. Image shows a person in the foreground holding a computer while talking to a group of people sitting in chairs.
Civic Life invites you to apply for the 2020 Cannabis Social Equity Grant!
Application period begins December 12, 2019

This is a $550,179 restorative justice and community reinvestment grant opportunity funded by the City of Portland’s 3% local tax on retail cannabis sales.
Civic Life will award one-year grants to projects/programs that aid, strengthen, and serve restorative justice, community reinvestment, and wealth creation in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition laws.
Applicants may request funding for projects and programs ranging from $25,000 to $150,000 per fiscal year in the following priority areas:
Criminal justice reform projects and services
Legal services and case management support
Workforce development
Re-entry housing support and services
Information sessions are scheduled for Dec. 18th, Dec. 20th and Jan. 7th.
Find out more about the information session and download the application here>>

Code Change Update

Image of Portlanders engaged in a Code Change presentation during a community event hosted at Mercy Corps in April 2019.
Image shows a room filled with community members during a Code Change meeting held in April at Mercy Corps. In the foreground, there are three tables with people sitting and facing a presenter not seen in the photo. In the background, there are people standing at tall tables and leaning against the wall while engaged in the presentation.
On November 14, City Council hosted a special council meeting at Self Enhancement, Inc. focused on Civic Life’s year-long process to update City Code Chapter 3.96. Community interest and engagement was extraordinary but Council was only able to hear from roughly half of those who signed up to deliver public testimony due to time restraints.

On January 9, at 2:00pm, City Council will hear from the 35 people who signed up to testify but did not have an opportunity to do so at the November 14 meeting. At this hearing, no new information will be presented and only those already on the sign-up sheet will be allowed to testify. The record remains open, so Portlanders are also welcome to continue submitting written testimony.

Staff Updates

Portrait of Winta Yohannes posing in City Hall
Winta Yohannes, Commissioner Eudaly’s Policy Advisor and Civic Life Liaison, has accepted a position as the Managing Director of Albina Vision Trust and is leaving Commissioner Eudaly’s office later this month. Winta’s work with the New Portlanders Policy Commission, the Cannabis Program, Committee 3.96, and innumerable Civic Life efforts has been invaluable—she will be deeply missed, but we are excited to continue working with her in her new role. Thank you, Winta!

Bureau Advisory Committee

The Bureau Advisory Committee (BAC) supports the Office of Community & Civic Life by providing guidance to the director on the effective use of Civic Life resources as it relates to the overall strategic aim and racial equity plan. The next two BAC public meetings are as follows:

Monday, December 16, 5:30pm

Monday, January 6, 5:30pm

You can find the complete BAC meeting calendar here>>

Join an Advisory Body

A group of people sitting at a table engaged in a meeting
Image shows three people sitting at a table looking to their right and focusing their attention on a meeting facilitator who is not in picture frame. In the foreground, we see the back and hands of someone sitting at the table, typing notes into their computer.
Would you like to help influence how the City spends money and delivers services? Civic Life's Advisory Bodies Program is currently recruiting new members for the following seven committees:
  • Pedestrian Advisory Committee
  • Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee
  • Noise Review Board
  • Portland Parks & Recreation Budget Advisory Committee (posting later this week)
  • Central Eastside Transportation and Parking Committee
  • Portland Children’s Levy Allocation Committee
  • Development Services Adjustment Committee
Learn more and apply here>>

Online Events Calendar

Visit our online calendar to find out information regarding community and neighborhood events.

If you have an event you would like to be considered for the calendar or if you have an image you would like to share from a recent event, please contact us at
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