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Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

Albina Vision Trust, envisioning the future of Northeast Portland

Max Decker
The Groundbreaking Ceremony of Albina One, Albina Vision Trusts’ first development project that will provide 94 units of family housing, taken in August of 2023.

The biggest restorative redevelopment initiative in the U.S. is happening right here in Portland. That’s thanks to the work of Albina Vision Trust (AVT), an organization whose mission is to bring wealth, culture and life back into the lower Albina neighborhood. 

The Albina district in Northeast Portland was once home to 80% of Portland’s Black citizens. As a result of gentrification (the process of displacing current, lower income residents of an area by bringing in wealthier individuals and establishments), countless Black homes and businesses were destroyed in favor of real estate like Interstate 5, the Portland Public Schools (PPS) headquarters and Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

“Folks were pushed out for pennies on the dollar,” said JT Flowers, Strategic Communications Lead for AVT.

Some projects like Legacy Emanuel’s expansions have yielded little to no results, as evident by the plethora of empty lots in the area, devastating Black communities. AVT intends to heal this historical damage done to the community of lower Albina.

“Albina Vision Trust is an effort to build an innovative and forward-thinking future that’s also formed by the past,” said Flowers. “We’re not trying to recreate what used to exist in Albina, we’re trying to collectively imagine what could be possible for Black and Brown folks, displaced folks [and] working class families in the heart of our central city.”

One major task AVT has taken on is the purchase of the PPS headquarters, the Dr. Matthew Prophet Education Center, which is being relocated due to PPS’ current struggles in maintaining the building. 

AVT acquired the right of first offer and refusal for the building back in 2021, and intends to pay market-rate for the building while supporting PPS in finding a new campus. Flowers cites this as a “once in a generation” opportunity to develop over 1,000 units of working class housing, mixed use commercial space, an education hub and green space on PPS’ 10.5 acre campus. On February 20, the PPS board unanimously agreed to move forward with the deal.

That’s not where the work ends for Albina Vision Trust. Those reading that wish to support them in their work can visit their website at, follow their Instagram (@albinavisiontrust) or show up at community meetings.

“In Albina more broadly, what we’re looking to do is create the most innovative district in America, on an infrastructural level, on a technological level, on a design level and on an equity-based level,” said Flowers. “We want this community not only to be accessible to marginalized communities… [but] to be centered around their wellbeing, their success, and the opportunity to create generational wealth through placemaking.”

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Max Decker
Max Decker, Managing Digital Editor
Max is a senior this year. He is excited to see how our digital media expands, and enjoys meeting cool people. (He asked to have his profile mention that he is 6ft tall).
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