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Community organization wants to bring life back to the Albina Arts Center

The center has been part of the Albina community since the 1960s

PORTLAND, Ore. — In the 1960s, a building at the corner of Northeast Killingsworth and Williams became the home of the Albina Arts Center; a place designed to develop the cultural resources of the Albina neighborhood.

"The Albina Arts Center became a vital force in the community. I think of it as the heart of a body"  said Portland artist Isaka Shamsud-Din.

The Albina Women's League acquired the building and sponsored charitable programs in the neighborhood. In 2015 the Oregon Department of Justice dissolved the charity after an alleged misappropriation of funds and a third-party receiver was appointed.  

Shamsud-Din says it's a community that doesn't have a pulse.

In 2019, Don't Shoot Portland reached out to the Oregon Department of Justice and the trustee, The Oregon Community Foundation about buying the property.

"We thought we had a pretty good case to let us be the stewards of this property.  We were told there was no process for how it would be given to us" said Tai Carpenter of Don't Shoot Portland.

The organization has started a campaign with a demand to reclaim what they call a historically significant space for Black Portlanders.

Carpenter said, "We want the opportunity to take care of this building the way it deserves to be taken care of."

The Oregon Community Foundation said today, "The objective has always been to return the building to the community.  The process should start and be completed in 2022."