The East Portland Collective, formerly known as Lents Collective, is a partnership of artists, organizers, and teachers who are committed to offering free classes, events, shows, art, resources, and fun to underserved and underrepresented low-income adults and children in our community. Our focus is on equity and inclusion, and our work centers the needs of the LGBTQ+ community, youth, women/femmes, minorities, parents, and individuals living in the margins of our society.
Over the last two months, the East Portland Collective, formerly known as Lents Collective, has operated out of a formerly vacant retail storefront in the heart of Lents Town Center (9209 SE Foster). In that short period of time, we transformed the space (which was generously provided to us at no cost) into a vibrant and welcoming center for underserved populations in our community, hosting dozens of events and serving hundreds of neighbors during that short time (see our Facebook page for event details).
Unfortunately, the property owner has decided to redevelop the East Portland Collective space into a bar, and we must vacate the buildling by September 15, 2019. Without help from the City, the East Portland Collective will cease to exist.
Prosper Portland has been a key leader in building the framework for a more inclusive and equitable kind of community development in Lents. Yet, many of the new, shiny storefronts in our Town Center lie vacant. There is no heartbeat; no physical space that brings us together as neighbors in Lents. With help from Prosper Portland, we believe the East Portland Collective can be that space.
We, the undersigned community members, ask Prosper Portland to support the East Portland Collective by providing:
- A temporary home near our current space, so the East Portland Collective can continue to offer services to our community;
- A long-term, free or subsidized storefront space for the East Portland Collective in Lents Town Center;
- Grant monies and logistical support to help the East Portland Collective grow and model best practices for other neighborhoods struggling to build and maintain a sense of community in the face of gentrification and displacement.