College leaders thank community for support and work on 2017 bond measure

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It took a village to inform the community about the Portland Community College bond measure.

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, the PCC bond (26-196) passed by a wide margin.

A big “thank you” goes out to everyone who dedicated their time to educate the public on the bond. The effort was huge. To inform the community that PCC had a bond measure, college staff put up 15 informational billboards, created radio and television ads, as well as a special information section in Pamplin Media newspapers, sent an information mailer to 521,000 homes in the college’s district, had PCC leaders speak at 12 neighborhood organizations, hosted more than 10 internal and external community forums, performed hours of phone banking and registered more than 2,300 students for the November election.

The media was on board with PCC’s bond. The Oregonian endorsed the measure on Oct. 18, along with Willamette Week and the NW Labor Council. College leadership joined the effort, writing op-eds that appeared in local publications such as the Lake Oswego Review (Board Director Denise Frisbee), The Portland Observer (Board Chair Kali Thorne Ladd) and the Portland Business Journal (PCC President Mark Mitsui and former Board Director Ken Madden).

In addition, there were articles about PCC’s campaign with one that highlighted how board member Deanna Palm got out into the community to talk about the measure; The Skanner showcasing the expansiveness of the work that would be done; The Tigard-Tualatin Times connecting the bond to student success; and how bond work could open more doors for students in the community.

“Our community has worked hard to achieve stabilization and lasting inclusion,” said Michael DiMarco, the district manager for the Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative with Prosper Portland. “Employment and education are fundamental to those goals. The opportunity to grow the resources available and to expand PCC’s programming through this bond would be invaluable to our community.”

The bond information campaign gave PCC leadership an opportunity to discuss the future and college priorities. Throughout October, PCC President Mark Mitsui and Executive Vice President Sylvia Kelley visited each campus and many of the college’s centers to highlight initiatives and listen to feedback about PCC’s most important issues. They talked about how the college can foster greater accessibility and equitable student success, through long-term visioning for PCC’s facilities and the 2017 bond measure.

By tying it to his goals, Mitsui described how the bond would improve workforce training programs, like modernizing the college’s workforce training center in Northeast Portland and providing updated equipment and technology for programs; expanding Health Professions & STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) by renovating the existing Health Technology building and developing new interactive training spaces for healthcare professions programs; meeting needs for safety, security, building longevity and disability access; and extending the lifespan of PCC facilities through upgrades and repairs.

“The 2017 bond is about workforce development, current space utilization and investing in needed upgrades,” said Linda Degman, PCC’s Bond Program director. “The college both supports and belongs to the community. We have a responsibility to maintain PCC’s health and longevity so that we’re able to deliver equitable student success, educate our future workforce, and contribute to Oregon’s economic vigor and long term prosperity.”

In addition to the bond measure discussion, Mitsui noted Achieving the Dream, a comprehensive, national movement focused on equitable student success that is being tailored for PCC, called YESS — Yes to Equitable Student Success. The ATD network of higher ed institutions, coaches and advisors, state policy teams, investors and partners, are helping more than four million community college students across the country — like those at PCC — have access to better economic opportunity through education and to experience equitable success as part of that journey.

PCC’s new YESS effort [pdf] is being led by Katy Ho (vice president for academic affairs) and Rob Steinmetz (vice president of student affairs).

“I just believe that the atmosphere and the environment where you work in and learn in is just as important as the tools that you’re receiving,” said Tyree Montgomery, an employee and former student at the Portland Metro Workforce Training Center. “So I see that the bond could totally bring a new face to the building, the community, and the customers.”

During the lead up to the election, PCC highlighted how the bond would affect the community and students. Following are highlights of stories we’ve published to show how the 2017 bond would impact students, staff and the community.

Sharing Hope

After spending several years working in customer service and office administration, Tyree Montgomery realized that if she wanted steady work that was more fulfilling and offered long-range potential, she would have to seek other opportunities. That’s how she came to the college’s Portland Metropolitan Workforce Training Center, which opened in 1998 in urban Northeast Portland with the mission of helping unemployed and underemployed people find family-wage jobs. Read more about her incredible journey.

Opening College’s Door

Jeff Martinez is well on his way to an associate degree at Portland Community College and eventually a bachelor’s in Business from Portland State University. This impressive journey, that includes a leadership position with Sylvania’s student government and the District Student Council, began in 2015 when he enrolled at PCC after having his daughter accepted into the campus’ daycare. PCC has listened to parents like Martinez and wants to have childcare available to students at every comprehensive campus. Learn more about how the door to college was opened for him.

Looking to Collaborative Healthcare

PCC is the largest provider of trained professionals to the local healthcare industry. By way of PCC’s 2017 bond measure, roughly $3 million is earmarked for the development of space dedicated to health inter professional training. This project would create or redesign space to be used for collaborative training, offering students working with PCC’s Allied Health programs and major healthcare partners a better place to learn. Read more about how PCC would implement this project.

Public Safety First

At the Cascade Campus, the Public Safety Department works out of the college’s oldest facility, a modest one-level structure on Killingsworth Street at Commercial Avenue, at the outermost edge of campus. It was originally built as a residence in 1952 and later served for several years as a dentist’s office. Now, public safety needs to have space that allows them to continue developing their award-winning community policing partnerships. Read more about how that might happen.

Ensuring Student Success

Speaking of student success, Portland Community College’s Facilities Management Services makes sure that buildings and HVAC systems are comfortable for faculty, staff and students so they can work efficiently. At Rock Creek, though, two 41-year-old boilers – 15 years past their expected lifespan – heat 300,000 square feet of building space, which is more than half the campus. FMS staff have done heroic work to keep them humming, but signs of aging are everywhere. Learn how the bond will help ensure student success.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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x by Susanna Edwards 1 week ago

We are so excited for the bond’s approval. The Rock Creek Child Care Center is going to be of great benefit to many PCC students.

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