Harvey Rice Heritage: Namesake Artists
Charlotte Lewis and Isaka Shamsud-Din
Sabin CDC is underway with the Harvey Rice Heritage affordable community housing project featuring two new apartment buildings coming online in Winter 2022.
These buildings are being named in recognition of two local African American artists, Charlotte Lewis and Isaka Shamsud-Din, who worked in NE Portland and each wove their African-American heritage with their art as a means of strengthening the voice of their community.
The legacy of these artists reverberate throughout the community in their art, teachings, and activism. While each worked in unique media, they often collaborated to produce, through their drawings, murals, paintings, and textiles, a permanent history of a community that has been disbanded by the forces of gentrification.
These new apartment complexes honor Isaka Shamsud-Din and Charlotte Lewis and embody the commitment of Sabin CDC to honor and preserve NE Portland’s African American and marginalized communities by expanding housing opportunities for low-income individuals and families who are drawn to Sabin’s history of housing long-time and returning neighborhood residents who would otherwise be displaced by the gentrification of Portland’s traditional African American community. By reintroducing NE Portland to these important artists and their work, Sabin seeks not only to create affordable housing opportunities, but also to strengthen the voice of communities at risk of displacement.
As stewards of affordable housing, Sabin CDC strives to preserve economic and racial diversity in neighborhoods where housing costs have increased exponentially since 1990, while incomes have become more polarized. Our resident demographics mimic the overall neighborhood composition in 1990: incomes average 20-50% of median, resident age is above median, 27% of our residents identify as disabled, and 76% of our residents identify as African American or Multi- Racial. Because of our relatively small scale, Sabin is an approachable institution where word-of-mouth has provided a pathway for marginalized populations and people of color to affordable housing in Inner N/NE Portland. The neighborhoods that Sabin serves historically had composed the heart of Portland’s African- American community, one that was redlined and suffered from subsequent disinvestment. When Sabin CDC began in 1991, its role was as a revitalizer by investing in the renovation of abandoned buildings; now, its role is that of a preservationist to ensure that low-income and at-risk residents can remain in the neighborhoods. Because stable housing is a first step to economic and social stability, Sabin CDC’s role as a provider of affordable housing is one way to dismantle barriers and improve community conditions overall by consistently pursuing an agenda that places people first.
HARVEY RICE HERITAGE
Grand Opening in Winter of 2022