Wikman Building advocates hone in on usage plans

Many ideas have been floated about this East Portland former library building owned by Multnomah County – see what volunteers current have in mind for its uses …

By holding community visioning and listening sessions, a coalition of nonprofit organizations hope to turn the Wikman Building, now Multnomah County surplus property, into a community center.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Since the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners announced it planned to dispose of the Wikman Building, located in the Foster-Powell Neighborhood at 4420 SE 64th Avenue off SE Holgate Boulevard, a coalition of organizations have been working buy the building for use by the community.

The coalition that includes ROSE Community Development Corporation, SE Uplift neighborhood coalition, the Foster-Powell and Mt. Scott-Arleta neighborhood associations, and the Foster Area Business Association, have met several times to develop ideas of how the 93-year-old, red-brick-faced building could be best utilized.

Behind Mike Masat of ROSE CDC are posted chart-pad sheets listing concepts for what’s called the “Wikman-Arleta Project”.

  • To see our last article on their progress, “Ideas abound at Arleta Library imagination session”: CLICK HERE.

Volunteers convened two additional “listening sessions” at the building on June 10 and 11.

[Standing] Volunteer facilitator Meg McHutchison, from the Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association board, listens to comments.

After the second meeting, one of facilitators, Meg McHutchison, a Foster-Powell Neighborhood Association board member, said that the group was making progress toward creating a mission statement for the facility.

“The biggest thing that I have learned about this process,” McHutchison said, “is that it’s possible for us to actually make something happen with this building! I’m very excited about the possibility of bringing this building’ back to life’ for the community.”

Liz Hutchinson of Rose CDC was keeping track of information gained from the two sessions.

“A lot of ideas have come out of these meetings,” Hutchinson told us. “The main theme is that it should become a ‘Community Center’. That means a flexible space that will allow people from the community to really come in and make it their own – allowing it to change with the needs of the community.”

[Seated, in plaid blouse] Liz Hutchinson of Rose CDC summarizes the concepts and ideas put forth so far, in discussions regarding the “Wikman-Arleta Project”.

Another recurring theme, Hutchinson said, is that the space should be available to members of the community either for low cost, or completely free.

ROSE CDC Executive Director Nick Sauvie reported that, to date, the coalition has raised $800. “That doesn’t include other partner donations, and matching grants that we’ve raised from these two sessions.”

The first goal is to raise $3,000, Sauvie continued – allowing the coalition to take full advantage of a four-to-one funding match for the offered by the Portland Development Commission.

The coalition can be contacted by e-mail at WikmanArleta@gmail.com.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland New

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