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Black Arts Center Proposed

Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center would get new purpose

10/19/2021, 3:44 p.m.
A new vison for the community space
Eric Island and La’Tevin Alexander performing Hercules Didn’t Wade in the Water, by Michael A Jones, directed by Damaris Webb, in a 2017 production at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. Photo by Shawte Sims/Courtesy Vanport Mosaic
Portland Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio joined members of a community advisory panel for the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center in north Portland Monday to advance a new vision for the space.

The IFCC Community Advisory Committee proposes the building be redeveloped as a site where the history of Portland's Black community - and its rich arts and culture contributions - can be presented, displayed, discussed, and honored.
The plans reflect the vision of a more inclusive parks and recreation system, Rubio said.


The Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center is an historic community arts center located at 5340 N. Interstate Ave. It has a theater which seats nearly 100 people, a rehearsal studio, and art gallery.


The center’s advisory panel has been meeting for three years to help determine an enduring framework for the site which fulfills its original goals and is programmatically and financially sustainable, officials said.

With that in mind, the committee proposes that the existing site and building be redeveloped and expanded as a center for the arts and culture of Portland’s Black community, and as a showcase for its historical and cultural contributions.


The City has issued a Request For Proposals for a feasibility study which will produce market, financial, and operational analyses to determine a sustainable operating plan for the community resource.