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Portland Harbor Community Grants

Guide
Several people from the Lower Estuary Partnership and Green Workforce Academy paddling away in kayak from a boat ramp on the Willamette River.
Portland Harbor Community Grants are available to support community-led projects and programs about the Portland Harbor Superfund. The 2024-2025 grant cycle has been closed.
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates Portland Harbor cleanup will begin in the next few years. Community voices and participation are needed to contribute to a successful cleanup of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. Those interested in amplifying the voices of communities disproportionately affected by the contamination and cleanup, or who have an idea for a project or program to support these communities are encouraged to apply. Learn more about the Portland Harbor Superfund Site or previous grantees' work.

View the Portland Harbor Community Grant Eligibility page for more information on projects, programs, and activities eligible for grant funding.

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the Portland Harbor Community Grants is to support meaningful public involvement, particularly for communities disproportionately affected by the contamination and cleanup. These communities include people with current, traditional, or cultural connections, including:

  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals 
  • People who eat shellfish and non-migratory fish like carp, catfish, and bass caught in Portland Harbor
  • Housed and unhoused residents who live in neighborhoods near the Portland Harbor Superfund site

Based on feedback heard from grantees, community members, and government partners, funds will support activities that advance and achieve the following objectives:

  1. Expand and deepen leadership and participation in the cleanup process by communities disproportionately affected by the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup and contamination
  2. Provide resources to support under-represented community members’ participation in the cleanup design process  
  3. Build community-based organizations’ capacity to shape and support EPA’s plan to minimize impacts of cleanup construction on housed and unhoused neighbors (i.e., transportation routes, emissions, sound, light, and access restrictions)
  4. Engage and educate communities about the Portland Harbor Superfund, including the Lower Willamette River Fish Advisory, and scientific, technical, policy, and process topics related to the cleanup.
  5. Support career development in environmental remediation 
  6. Strengthen partnerships among community groups and governments

2024-2025 Grant Recipients

This year, the grant review committee selected 11 organizations to receive a total of $500,000. The Portland Harbor Community Involvement Program is proud to support an exciting set of projects that will serve a wide range of Portlanders. Learn more about how this year’s grant recipients plan to strengthen community involvement in the Portland Harbor Superfund Cleanup:

  • 7 Waters Canoe Family ($23,000) will engage the Portland-area Native American community about the Superfund cleanup and provide culturally specific information sessions and opportunities for connection with the river and other community members. They also plan to fund four staff members to participate in the Portland Harbor Collaborative Group.
  • Accent Network ($39,115) will empower and integrate newly arrived Slavic and Eastern European immigrants and refugees through culturally specific education on safe fishing practices in the Lower Willamette. They plan to foster a sense of stewardship over the Portland Harbor through training, environmental education, and opportunities to engage in the Superfund cleanup.
  • Black Men’s Wellness ($33,155) plans to raise awareness around the health risks facing Black families as they relate to the Superfund contamination and cleanup and create pathways for BIPOC engagement in the Superfund cleanup process. They will facilitate safe and culturally responsive access to the outdoors for BIPOC individuals by hosting trips to the Willamette River in partnership with Columbia Slough Watershed Council and Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership.
  • The Blueprint Foundation ($57,143) will engage Black and Indigenous youth in workforce training opportunities with the goal of diversifying the green sector and developing the next generation of leaders. They also plan to raise awareness among BIPOC community members about the Superfund site while creating a cultural shift toward nature-based activities for Black and Indigenous communities.
  • Ecotrust ($27,078) will fund their Green Workforce Academy, a 5-week paid training program offered twice a year and designed to increase BIPOC participation in green industry jobs in Portland. The Green Workforce Academy will contribute to the development and prosperity of frontline communities through environmental literacy and workforce development curriculum developed by and for Native American and Black communities in Portland.
  • ELSO ($60,300) will facilitate unique learning opportunities to educate youth on the cultural significance and ecology of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site through culturally relevant curriculum. They will engage K-8th grade youth in their Wayfinders day camp, support interns in deepening their understanding of complex environmental justice issues through the Tappin’ Roots environmental internship program, and engage high school-aged youth in the Willamette Cove project area through their Studio Justice design program.
  • Ground Score Association ($74,912) will conduct peer-led outreach to the homeless community living in and around the Superfund site. They will develop and distribute educational material focused on the Superfund cleanup, waste prevention, fire safety, and other relevant topics and distribute these materials to homeless community members.
  • Living Islands ($57,440) plans to create an advisory council that serves as a platform for Pacific Islanders in Oregon to discuss environmental and public health issues. They will empower Pacific Islander communities in Oregon and enhance their capacity to engage with environmental and health-related matters that directly affect their lives through PSAs, educational field trips, and culturally relevant education.
  • Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership ($20,000) will create opportunities for access to the Willamette River and Portland Harbor through river-based paddle programs in their 29-foot Big Canoes. They also plan to develop an educational field guide map of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site.
  • Nesika Wilamut ($37,857) will provide opportunities for a network of environmental partners to connect, build capacity, and decolonize their approach to river stewardship. They will convene an Indigenous Advisory Council to build on community-guided priorities for Network Learning. They will also host three consecutive Network Learning events to engage partners and the Indigenous Advisory Council.
  • Portland Harbor Community Coalition ($70,000) will work to engage and educate communities disproportionately impacted by the Portland Harbor Superfund contamination and cleanup and support ongoing community involvement in decision-making processes related to the Superfund cleanup. They plan to develop community leadership skills, host a youth fishing event, support career development workshops for environmental science and restoration jobs, and host the annual Water Ceremony at Cathedral Park.