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Meyer Trust to Build in Albina

New headquarters to build on equity mission

4/3/2018, 11:04 a.m.
The largest private foundation in Oregon, The Meyer Memorial Trust, has purchased property in the historically African American Albina neighborhood ...
The Meyer Memorial Trust, one of the largest private foundations in Oregon, has purchased property at North Tillamook Street and Vancouver Avenue to build a new headquarters, pledging support for the historic African American neighborhood as its future home and ongoing initiatives to help the community remain affordable, thriving and diverse.

The largest private foundation in Oregon, The Meyer Memorial Trust, has purchased property in the historically African American Albina neighborhood of inner north Portland to build a new headquarters as part of its growing commitment to equity.

The Meyer Trust will be moving from leased office space in the Pearl District, downtown, to the corner of North Tillamook Street and North Vancouver Avenue after construction is completed in early 2020, officials with the charity announced recently.

The location was chosen for its central location and rich history, allowing for closer interaction with grantees, partners and the community, officials said. The Albina community also boasts a wide array of transportation options, including proximity to TriMet bus and light-rail, ease of walkability and bike-ability.

Started by the late Fred G. Meyer, founder of Fred Meyer stores, the foundation refocused its mission on equity a few years ago. The trust’s board of trustees, staff and leadership are now predominately people of color.

Meyer board member Mitch Hornecker said the decision to build a new Meyer headquarters is a good financial and community investment.

Doug Stamm, Meyer’s chief executive officer, said Meyer’s mission and values will be manifested in the design, including the design process and contracting.

“Albina is a community whose rich history we intend to honor through our ongoing commitment to equity,” Stamm said. “Many of our partners work and are based in the neighborhood where our founder, then known by his birth name Frederick Grubmeyer, set down his own Oregon roots. A significant number of our staff also live in north and northeast Portland. It means so much for Meyer Memorial Trust to invest directly into this pivotal place.”

Early design plans are for a three-story structure with roughly 20,000 square feet of workspace. But the final plans for the building will be developed and finalized following conversations with community leaders, faith and nonprofit leaders and foundation staff.

Meyer is determined to be a good neighbor in a neighborhood that has experienced destabilizing waves of urban renewal and gentrification.

“As new neighbors, we look forward to supporting efforts by many people and organizations, including the Albina Vision Trust, to ensure that as Albina evolves toward an exciting future, it remains an affordable, thriving and diverse central city community,” Stamm said.