FOX 12 investigators look into where reallocated PPB funding has gone

The Portland City Council voted in 2020 to cut roughly $15 million from the police budget.
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 6:23 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - When the Portland City Council voted to cut millions of dollars from the police bureau’s budget, some of that money was earmarked for community-based programs that would serve black Portlanders.

Two years later, a picture is beginning to emerge as to how some of those funds are being spent.

As part of the reallocation of funding, the city committed to spending $1 million annually on a Black Youth Leadership Development Program. That funding is administered by the Black United Fund of Oregon. It is contracting with RISE for Black Youth Initiative to provide an “evidence-based, culturally grounded engagement process” intended to “raise leadership and entrepreneurial skills of Portland’s black youth.

The RISE program, which stands for Really Inspiring Places of Empowerment, currently operates out of the Soul Restoration Center on Northeast Killingsworth Street.

“This space reeks of blackness,” Dr. S. Renee Mitchell, who created the RISE program, said. “They don’t get that in other places, and sometimes they don’t even get that at home. (There are) books for you to look at that reflect your culture. There’s art for you to look at that reflects you.”

The space is designed to be trauma informed, in order to best serve black youth. They represent the most traumatized demographic in the United States.

“We have traumatized youth who grow up to be traumatized adults who contribute to a traumatized community,” Mitchell said. “If we’re talking about, ‘How do we become a more grounded, healthier community?’ It starts with the young people.”

The space has historic roots in Portland’s black community, and former life as the Albina Arts Center in the 1960s, and links black youth with programming in arts, music and business opportunities.

“It’s a belief that we are capable of more, that we’re deserving of more, and that we will become more,” Mitchell said.