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Taking Ownership PDX aims to revamp Portland homes, slow gentrification

Taking Ownership PDX, a soon-to-be nonprofit, renovates homes and takes away the pressure on owners to sell.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Bettye Loving had family in mind when she bought her Northeast Portland home in 1992.

“I was ready to have a granddaughter and I wanted some place where she could play off the street," said Loving.

The big backyard also meant she had plenty of space to garden. But recently, Loving got sick and hasn't been able to do much around the house. Her roof started to leak, she had electrical issues and then potential buyers started showing up to her house. 

"At least once a week, somebody would come and knock on the door and or send me something in the mail, ‘We want to buy your property, you don’t have to do anything,'" explained Loving, who isn't interested in selling her home. "My granddaughter grew up here and I did this on my own. I’ve just got to figure out how to keep doing it.”

That's when she found out about Taking Ownership PDX, a soon-to-be nonprofit aimed at protecting Portland’s Black neighborhoods. The group renovates homes as a way to increase property values and deflect gentrification. They fixed Loving’s roof, took care of electrical problems and even built her a pergola, an outdoor shade structure.

Credit: Matt Coats
Homeowner Bettye Loving and Randal Wyatt, executive director at Taking Ownership PDX

Randal Wyatt, the executive director at Taking Ownership PDX said Loving's home is just one of many homes they've been able to revamp and renovate since June. 

"We are up to about 18 now. Work ranging from big jobs like roof replacements," said Wyatt. 

Seventy-three families in need are on the wait list. That's a big number for this small but mighty team. 

"Typically it’s just me and my project manager," explained Wyatt. "We'll go out there and will take a look at the area and see what services we need, and then will just use the funding to purchase the services.” 

Services that are free to homeowners. Generous donations make it possible for Taking Ownership PDX to help people like Loving.

“2020 was so hard in so many ways and then he came along. So, just gave hope, you know, it really did," said Loving.

Taking Ownership PDX is in the process of becoming a nonprofit organization. In the meantime you can make donations through a fiscal sponsor, nonprofit Friends Of Noise.

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