Development Plans for Hill Block lot

Legacy CEO and president, George J. Brown, M.D
Legacy CEO and president, George J. Brown, M.D

Legacy Health has joined the city of Portland and Prosper Portland in a collaborative effort to develop a vacant 1.7-acre block on North Russell.

The development process is aimed at engaging the people in the community impacted by displacement and will include medical care services, affordable housing and community amenities.

At a recent news conference, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was joined by Legacy CEO and president, George J. Brown, M.D. as well as the Legacy Health board chair, Charles Wilhoite and Alisha Moreland-Capuia from Prosper Portland, Kimberly Branam, the executive director of Prosper Portland and State Sen. Lew Frederick.

In a communication to employees, Dr. Brown explained the history behind this collaboration as well as the goals going forward:

“Later today, Legacy Health will participate in an announcement that I believe will have a significant impact on our community. Legacy Health has agreed to join in a partnership with the City of Portland and Prosper Portland, formerly known as the Portland Development Commission, to develop a new, multi-use complex. The complex will be developed on the Hill Block property, which is located adjacent to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.

This development will benefit the community by helping to expand Legacy Emanuel’s mission of healing in this community. It will also provide a new location for the spiritual center for what was once the center of Portland’s African American community. It will provide an opportunity for retail space, for healthcare space and for community space. It will contribute to the pool of affordable housing that is sorely needed in our community. It is my hope that it will also provide a permanent space to honor the heritage of the African American community.

This complex will also provide one other important opportunity. It will be the home of a new family house. Through the generous support of donors, the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center Foundation has agreed to fund $2 million toward the family house project. The family house will provide a convenient and safe place for patients’ families who travel from outside our area while they support their loved one. With its Level 1 Trauma Center and the only burn center in the region, Legacy Emanuel serves patients from across Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.

The genesis of today’s announcement started with the urban renewal efforts in the 1970s. We have worked hard to correct many of the misconceptions about Emanuel Hospital’s role at that time. Emanuel Hospital was given the opportunity to buy the Hill block, but only after the homes and businesses were condemned and destroyed. The property was originally purchased with a plan in mind, but after the federal program ended, those plans were put aside. Unfortunately, the urban renewal effort did destroy the heart of Portland’s African American community. It is a long standing wound that has continued until today.

Legacy Health is honored to be a part of this effort to provide a solution to this injury. It is a great solution to address some long-standing issues. In looking ahead at Legacy’s needs and the community’s needs, as well looking at what opportunities Prosper Portland can offer, I am exceptionally pleased that we can be a part of what I believe will be a historic partnership. We will provide more details about the partnership and how the complex will be developed in the coming weeks.”

For more information, contact Vicki Guinn, Legacy Emanuel public relations, 503-413-2939, vguinn@lhs.org.

By Vicki Guinn

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One thought on “Development Plans for Hill Block lot

  1. would this “hill block” be the block bordering Williams and Vancouver, or the area west of Vancouver. Article only says Russell. Confusing as to which area is being considered.
    Thanks.

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