The Cully neighborhood in outer NE Portland is one of the most culturally diverse communities in Portland. And for many decades it has been the most overlooked and underserved community as well, with more than its share of poverty, and less than its share of environmental assets. Verde, a community-based organization, was born in the Cully neighborhood to build environmental wealth through social enterprise, outreach and advocacy. Verde focuses on the connection between protecting the environment and building community. Its mission is to advocate for and organize with low-income people and people of color to drive environmental resources into their neighborhoods in response to existing needs.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Verde's executive director Candace Avalos about the community needs that Verde was created to fill and how its advocacy is driving new environmental investments into low-income neighborhoods and ensuring that they create broad, neighborhood-based economic opportunities.
Candace Avalos is a first generation American “Blacktina”, daughter of Black Americans from the south and Guatemalan immigrants. She lives in NE Portland and is an active member of her community, such as a co-founder of the Black Millennial Movement, serving on the Citizen Review Committee and Charter Review Commission for the City of Portland, as well as on the boards of Portland: Neighbors Welcome, Street Roots, and the Oregon Kickball Club.