Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mayor Tom Potter's Visit

Mayor of the City of Portland Tom Potter visited Slavic Coalition members

General Slavic Coalition Meeting

IRCO (Main Office) Tuesday, June 10, 2008 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Slavic Coalition was visited by City of Portland Mayor Tom Potter ,

Meeting Agenda: To share our issues with the Mayor to build understanding about our community and to learn more about how we can engage with local government. ________________________________________

Meeting Minutes:

At 5:30 pm the meeting was brought to order by Slavic Coalition Chairperson Anya who warmly greeted Mayor Tom Potter and all in attendance.

Introduction to the meetings agenda was presented by Chairperson Anya who estimated the Slavic population of Portland to be 100,000 (approx one hundred thousand). Catherine R. Van Son commented that calculation of Slavic numbers in the city is difficult since census only counts minorities as people of color and as Caucasians our group gets left out, though we also need services because we have lots of special needs.

Questions presented by the Mayor to the committee:

1) Mayor Potter asked everybody to share specific issues and problems faced by the local Slavic community.

Almost all in attendance introduced themselves and touched on some difficulties that they faced when first coming to the United States of America and issues what they and/or their clients have at the moment. The list of concerns included:

· The lack of resources

o i..e.: where and how to get a job in the US

· The language barrier

· No direct transfer of education

o Highly educated and skillful Slavic individuals cannot utilize their skills unless their credentials are from America

§ The mayor acknowledged this is also the case with doctors from the former Soviet Union .

2) Mayor Potter presented a question about the role of local Slavic churches in the development of resources to address the concerns of this committee (resources other than spiritual or religious).

The response from the committee was this list:

· ESL classes

o For adults and children

o Some churches have opened private Russian/English schools.

3) Mayor Potter expressed his concerns regarding the gaps in communication and understanding between the Slavic children and their parents, since the younger generation is more adaptive to the language, to the American habits, and society

· The committee agreed that this fact can create significant misunderstandings between Slavic children and their parents.

Lolita suggested parenting services that would address the Mayor’s concern:

· She suggested that it would be beneficial for all of us to develop more parent educational projects that would address such issues.

4) Mayor Potter was also asked by Coalition the question, “What impression do you have of our community and what would you like to understand better?”

The Mayor responded that he knows little but is learning more from our meeting; he especially was interested to know what churches do besides religious services.

In addition the Mayor suggested:

· Become visible: Currently he sees the Slavic population as somewhat invisible because we are not community with color.

· Hold festivals where different communities can share cultural heritage (for example, food traditions)

o Get connected with other diversity groups and also become aware of their challenges.

§ “If you want to get to know more about people from other cultures, you need to eat with them.”

· Police can provide a support in terms of safety.

· Be more vocal. Go and visit every city commissioner and county commissioner. Squeaky wheels always get the oil.

· The Civic Involvement Program of the City of Portland offers training for people who work with community concerns. This training provides leadership skills, community organizing expertise, and the knowledge of how to get access to the City Hall planning meetings

5) Ela asked about the future of the Community Gathering Center :

· When this Center can be built and if it is realistic enough.

Tom Potter reported:

· There is no budget yet. We still need more voices and more active and interested people.

In conclusion the Mayor reminded the committee:

· Be united with other communities and go a lot further together. Together you can become a giant with the tremendous strength.

· Train more people in community organizing and leadership. Go and get this training and then share knowledge with the community.

· Never accept “no”, status quote from any governor.

· Give 10% of your time to the community.

· Get yourself organized.

· Create a community newspaper.

· You have already successfully overcome the language barrier, so now you can overcome other obstacles and excel above average with the hard work.

The next meeting of the Coalition will be held at the main office of IRCO Tuesday, September 9, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Community Gathering Center - meetings - "World Cafe"

2008Mayor Tom Potter and the Vision into Action Coalition invite you to participate in a world café event

Share your ideas on the creation of a multicultural Community Gathering Center. Please attend:

1st world café
Wednesday May 28, 2008
6:00 – 9:00pm
Buchan Building
1011 SW 12th Avenue
Portland, OR 97205
Entrance on Salmon St. Near streetcar, MAX & bus mall


2nd world café
Saturday May 31, 2008
10:00am – 1:30pm
Mt. Scott Community Center
5530 SE 72nd Ave
Portland, OR 97206
Bus #10, 14

Please reserve your seat before Friday, May 23rd by contacting Cassie Cohen at 503-823-9585,,
or by mail at:
Vision into Action
c/o Bureau of Planning
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100
Portland, OR 97201

What is the Community
Gathering Center idea?
The need for the Center came out of visionPDX and the City’s Immigrant
and Refugee Task Force. Providing a space for cross cultural collaboration,
community organizing and leadership development were commonly
expressed interests. The Center would be a place for Portland's diverse
communities to gather, interact and communicate.

What are the World Cafés?

The WORLD CAFÉS will provide a chance for Portlanders from different
cultural backgrounds to explore how a new Community Gathering Center
could benefit the entire community. They allow for small group discussions,
creative thinking and artistic expression through drawing.

• Refreshments will be provided.

• Children are welcome; please tell us ahead of time how many children will attend and their

• Do you speak English? If you have difficulty, please bring a friend or family member to help
you communicate.

• People of all ages, abilities, cultures, races, ethnicities, orientations, etc. are encouraged to participate in CITY OF PORTLAND bureau of PLANNING
Sponsored by the Vision into Action, Bureau of Planning and City of Portland



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Tuesday, April 8, 2008


the most recent update would go here...... .......................... ............. ...................... .................... ................ ............ .................................... ............... ................................................. ............. ........... ............. ............... .... .................... ......... ............................ ..................... .........

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archive - links to articles?

links to articles

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resources for Slavic communities in Portland

Community Organizations:
IRCO - Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization

Russian Oregon Social Services (ROSS)

Human Solutions Inc.

Lutheran Community Services

list of resources

social services and immigration

cultural sercvices and organizations

religious and faith-based

medical and mental health

employment search



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contact us

Please email us with any questions at the email address shown below

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Highlights and Archive

Highlights (history, activities)

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History of Slavic Coalition in Oregon

history of Slavic Coalition in Oregon

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About Slavic Coalition. Mission Statement

Mission statement. ........

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