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PCC Purchases NE Portland Property for Welfare and Youth Programs

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PORTLAND — Portland Community College’s welfare-to-work and alternative high school programs will soon have a new home. And with that comes the expansion of education and training services for the metro-area community.

The college board of directors at its Feb. 19 meeting approved the purchase and renovation of two buildings in northeast Portland, estimated at $2.6 million to house Steps to Success-North and Youth Empowered to Succeed programs.

Bill MacDonald, dean of Continuing and Adult Education, calls the new site another workforce training center that will complement the offerings provided by the college’s Cascade Campus, located on North Killingsworth. "It is an outstanding investment opportunity for the college," said MacDonald. "In the past we were just renting and now that money is going for the purchase of two excellent facilities in a strategic Northeast location."

Steps-North is a partnership between PCC, Mt. Hood Community College, Adult and Family Services and the Oregon Employment Department, to give participants – mostly women with young children – the life skills they need to move from public assistance to independence. It serves approximately 5,500 students a year and is the largest educational welfare-to-work project in the state. The alternative high school enrolls approximately 1,200 students each year and is also the largest of its kind in the state. Services for dislocated workers living in the North and Northeast will also be available through the Dislocated Worker Project, as well as Community Education classes.

The two companion properties are located at 5600 NE 42nd, purchased from Metro Electrical Training Trust for $1.45 million, and 4317 N.E. 43nd, purchased from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local #48 for $499,200. Renovation is expected to cost $500,000.

The project will be financed through the issuance of 30-year Certificate of Participation bonds (COP’s). A similar method of financing was used by the college to build its new bookstore in 1992. Current annual lease expenses of approximately $228,000 for the Steps and Youth programs, which comes to PCC from a variety of state, federal and local funding sources, will be used to amortize the COP’s. Renovation is planned for May through July, with an Aug. 1 move-in date. Bids are currently out for architectural services.

Terri Greenfield, director of the Steps to Success-North program, said, "We’re delighted the college saw fit to make an investment in our program. It will be a much better facility and will allow us to offer expanded services to the community – do evening hours, for example – plus, we’ll have a better computer network."

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