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In the Spirit of Giving Back

Nonprofit giving wide

By Tonantzin Brito

Green Light Law Group recently announced our reinvestment to downtown Portland by moving the location of our flagship office to the Wells Fargo Center downtown. In my personal capacity, I have been contributing to this reinvestment as well as a founding member of Our Streets. Our Streets is a local nonprofit directing programs to feed the houseless, pick-up trash, and empower the community of the Portland Metro area. Our Streets' mission blossomed out of the Black Lives Matter movement, and aims to produce a holistic impact socially, environmentally, and economically.

The Summer of Heat

I call the summer of 2020 the “Summer of Heat.” Climate temperatures spiked causing wildfires that smoked the skies, and the bubbling anger of Black and Brown Americans came to a brink after the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. This particular summer though, I would argue, we were all loud about it.

The founders of Our Streets bonded over the struggle of being a person of color in America. We protested weekly and joined the movement. However, we wanted to do more for the people of Portland. During the Summer of Heat, my friend and partners Buchi Asemota and Mikah Takashige, founded Our Streets, a nonprofit that directly aids Portland’s infrastructure.

How It Started and How It’s Going

Throughout the protests, we saw and acknowledged the damage done. We started picking up trash after protests. This led to Our Streets’ first program, Trash Pickup. By November of 2021, Our Streets picks up 300 pounds of trash monthly.

Our Streets also started collaborating with a couple small, local kitchens to feed protestors. Now, Our Streets and our kitchen partners are providing houseless villages of Portland with 300 meals, hygiene products, and 250 bottles of water each week. Our Streets contracts with kitchens and other programs to provide 500 meals everyday to 9 homeless shelters in the Portland area. Our grocery program has provided over 4,000+ grocery boxes to families in need, along with presents for low-income youth during the holiday season.

Our Streets is also environmentally focused. Nearly half of all ocean pollution comes from activities that take place on land, harming natural wildlife environments and degrading Earth's vitality. Trash pickups serve to clean up our city, and as an overall environmental impact. Our Trash Pickup program includes weekly community pick-ups in areas of Portland with high amounts of concentrated pollution.

In the Spirit of Giving Back

Our Streets is a nonprofit with a complete mission addressing a multitude of issues. But, as the work continues, so does the need for funds. Contribute to programs that are responding to local economic and climate crises, and learn more about Our Streets today. Visit www.ourstreetspdx.org.