SE Uplift Board Makes Decision on Tabor Commons Property
After discussing at two separate meetings, the SE Uplift Board voted on December 5th, 2016 to pursue a short-term solution for the Tabor Commons property, and seek a tenant for a 24-month lease. The decision for the SE Uplift-owned property located at SE Division and 57th Ave came as the Board recognized that other options put forward by the community would require more expertise, resources, and time than the organization currently has capacity to sustain. With a pending leadership change on the horizon in mid-2017, the Board decided to secure a tenant for the space for a 2 year timeframe, and revisit potential long-term uses for the property in 2018.
The SE Uplift Board extends its gratitude to all of the community members who provided input and spread the word about this project, and assures those involved that it will incorporate community input gathered in future decision-making processes.
What’s Next for the Property
Until a long-term decision is made, a temporary tenant will occupy the space. SE Uplift staff and Board volunteers are currently preparing the site for occupancy and are developing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit proposals from nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations interested in leasing the approximately 1,003 sq ft space for a 24-month lease. The RFP is anticipated to be released in early 2017. To see the most current status of this property, check our website, which will be updated as new information becomes available. Additionally, the SE Uplift newsletter will continue to provide updates on a monthly basis as new information is available.
What We Heard
At the time our survey closed on December 20th, 208 community members participated in an online survey and 28 attended an in-person meeting to weigh in on the future of the Tabor Commons property (previously Café au Play). Both comments collected at the community meeting on October 27th, as well as survey responses indicated a significant amount of interest in this property remaining a community space open to the public, and supporting arts and cultural opportunities.
As for the future look and capacity of this site, respondents are supportive of using the site as is, or redeveloping the site to support one or more of the desired uses.
Who We Heard From
Not surprisingly, the majority of respondents live close to the site in the Mt. Tabor, South Tabor, and Richmond neighborhoods. This may, in part, be due to the majority of the print promotion (flyering, banners, etc.) taking place in the general vicinity of the property. However, notification went out to all Neighborhood Associations in the coalition area, and survey response came in from nearly every neighborhood as well as some residents outside the SE Uplift coalition area. It is also worth noting that while we heard from approximately 230 residents and business owners, there are over 151,167¹ people living in the coalition area and, therefore, the survey reflects a small portion of those voices. SE Uplift will continue to seek public input throughout the process.
The Story of the Property
The community gained ownership of this former drug crime property after a three-year effort lead by the Mount Tabor and South Tabor Neighborhood Associations and the Atkinson Elementary School PTA. In 2006, these community organizations asked SE Uplift to take formal ownership of the property on behalf of the community partners. From 2006 to 2010, these community organizations partnered with Café au Play and hundreds of community volunteers to redevelop the property. From 2010 to 2015, Café au Play operated a family-friendly community coffee shop on the property. Café au Play hosted many community events, discussion groups, kid-focused entertainment, and a barista training program for high school students. In early 2016 Café au Play closed its doors.
¹ 2010 Census Data, https://www.portlandoregon.gov/oni/56897