Central Northeast Neighbors
Building Livable Communities Since 1985 in Portland, Oregon
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    Communications & Outreach, Workshops, Special Events and Forums

    Community Advocacy

    Liaison to Public Agencies & Community Groups

    Assistance with Neighborhood Clean-ups

    Fiscal Sponsor

    Good Neighbor Agreements

Community Engagement


From Heart to Action: How Neighbors are Changing Community

More than 20 community members joined us in May to hear a panel of diverse leaders on how they turned an idea into a community building success.
The presenters provided tips on how to engage community in a meaningful way, tools to connect to community resources and inspiration to get started!

Presentations by:

My Story:Connects diverse youth through photography and education

Zomi Community Garden: Engages immigrant families to grow their own food

Senegalese Association: Builds community through cultural celebration


"One of the priority needs for living in a new environment, access and education to sustainable food systems is one of the most important factors influencing the new life and activities of people" Mung, G Thang Khan Zomi Community Garden

Arriving to Portland: Story Sharing & Listening
Stories bring us closer together. We all have an experience about how we got here. On December 9th, 2009 workshop participants shared their personal journey and listened to diverse stories of new and long time neighbors at CNN. We converted our community room into a living room and allowed the conversation to be guided by passion, compassion, openness, respect, and thoughtfulness. As a result a new found connection between people was created which inspired more dialogue to continue.

cross cultural imageBuilding Community through Cross-Cultural Organizing
The community-building workshop on June 8th, 2009 was about how culturally diverse communities organize to improve livability. Close to 50 CNN area community members, youth and organizers discussed opportunities to work together in CNN neighborhoods. Following brief presentations of community projects, participants exchanged ideas and community resources around 3 action areas of the Cully-Concordia Plan: #1 Engage Youth and Parents in the Community; #2 Link to Underutilized Sites for Community Activities; and #3 Explore Transportation Alternatives for Underrepresented Communities. Local cultural groups performed to promote intercultural awareness.
Click here to see the full report. Click herefor the DRAFT Cully-Concordia Community Action Plan.

Panel Presentation: Intercultural Understanding and Community Engagement The panel workshop on November 13th, 2008 was about how to engage cultural diverse communities from the perspective of Latino, Native American, Slavic, Somali, and Vietnamese community leaders. Five diverse community leaders each led a panel presentation on meaningful ways to reach and connect with their communities. Following the presentations participants were invited to ask questions of the panel and explore ways to engage the unique voices of underrepresented neighbors. Click Here to see the full report.

Photos of workshop participants

Somali & Latino Cultural Awareness Workshop
Part I and II The Somali community is the fastest growing refugee population in Portland while Latinos are the largest immigrant population. In November 2007 and May 2008 over 60 community members learned about Portland's Somali & Latino Community at Central NE Neighbors. The cultural awareness workshops were led by Lul Abdulle of the Somali Women's Association (SWA) and Marco Mejia of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). These community leaders provided presentations on aspects of Somali & Latino culture followed by a discussion.

Photos SWA and AFSC projects

Somali Cultural Awareness Power Point Presentations

Part I

Part II

Latino Cultural Awareness Power Point Presentation

Part I
(large file)

Somali Outreach Project
Lul Abdulle of the Somali Women's Association has been working on Somali family outreach for Central NE Neighbors as part of our Community Engagement activities. Somali neighbors expressed the desire to connect to their community and to have a voice. Through conversations with neighbors in 2007-08, we learned that the connection to schools, neighborhood safety, youth involvement, and culturally specific
communications are key community issues. Portland's Inter-Bureau Task Force committed funds to continue Somali outreach and leadership in our neighborhoods.

Lul worked until November 2009 to engage Somali families in youth development activities and leadership. Also, this new position helped strengthen intercultural ties by involving Somali neighbors in community events including National Night Out. Building Somali leadership is key to foster self-reliance. For more information please contact Sandra Lefrancois, Project Manager sandral@cnncoalition.org 503-823-2780.

Lul expressed: "
The majority of the community emphasized to get a free space to meet in order to educate themselves about the City of Portland and the way the system in this country works. For them it was great news the offer CNN made about using its building during the weekend for community support group and leadership education. Plus CNN offered to bring speakers from the City of Portland especially ONI to talk about their programs and other community projects taking place within the City."

Community Engagement with NAYA community engagement photo
The "Together We Solve Community Awareness" Cross-Training project is a collaboration of the Native American Youth & Family Center (NAYA) and Central NE Neighbors (CNN). The project consisted of cross-cultural focus groups led by local Native American youth. The youth were guided by NAYA's Youth and Elders Council and partners. The goal is to build ties between community groups using engagement tools such as the listening circle and cultural dance. The idea is to share methods of community organizing and problem solving that build community capacity.

Madison High School Leadership Workshop
Central Northeast Neighbors (CNN) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) collaborated to conduct a two-day leadership workshop at Madison High School in 2006. The workshops were initiated to connect youth to their community. About 150 students participated from the leadership classes at Madison High School. The curriculum included various activities based on Popular Education to explore diverse views about community and participation.

We engaged in a dialogue about the place and role of youth in the community with an emphasis on social responsibility. One student expressed: "The reason why I get involved is to put myself in the shoes of others less fortunate" . Different perspectives were heard that ranged from the need for more community involvement to overcome issues such as gang violence to starting with being engaged in their school.