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News Releases
2024 Enhancement Grant Recipients Announced - 06/20/24

Oregon City, ORE. - A dozen local service organizations were awarded grants Monday night during the Enhancement Grant Program Committee meeting.

Metro provides these funds to communities that house a transfer station, like the one on Washington St. A $1 per ton surcharge at the station generates the revenue used in the grants, which are dedicated to non-profits for programming that meets one of several criteria:

  • Provide programs, training or services that benefit youth, seniors, low income persons, people of color, veterans or other marginalized and underserved populations
  • Increase reuse, recycling and waste prevention opportunities; reduce toxicity of waste
  • Improve the environmental quality of the area
  • Preserve or enhance wildlife and natural areas within the target area
  • Improve or increase recreation opportunities for residents in the target area
  • Rehabilitate and upgrade property owned or operated by non-profits
  • Improve the safety, appearance or cleanliness of neighborhoods.

A total of just over $344,000 was awarded to local entities, with grant sizes ranging from nearly $5,300 to $50,000. 

  • The Canemah Historic Cemetery Association was awarded $5,295 for maintenance to the Canemah Historic Cemetery. 
  • Clackamas Women’s Services was awarded $50,000 for supporting youth safety through violence intervention and prevention education.
  • Clackamas Workforce Partnership will use a $50,000 grant for the Clean Slate Program.
  • The Greater Oregon City Watershed Council will use $26,940 for the Abernathy and Singer Creek Parks Watershed Education and Enhancement Project.
  • The Hannah Grace Family was awarded $27,680 for the Ascend Music program.
  • OC Together/OC School District will use $13,500 for an awareness campaign focused on fentanyl and other drugs.
  • The Oregon City Farmers Market’s Snap Match program was awarded $18,500.
  • The free Movies in the Park organized by the Oregon City Parks and Recreation Department will be supported by a $10,699 grant.
  • Oregon City Porch Fest will continue to operate using a grant for $27,550.
  • The Park Place Neighborhood Association was awarded $37,000 for the Park Place Environmental Heritage and Trails Project.

Additionally, the Oregon City Arts Commission was awarded $28,000, with $20,000 of that earmarked to support the renovation and expansion of the mural on the Elks Lodge building downtown. That money is contingent on the commission being able to financially support that project and regulate approval of the artwork.



Oregon City Seeks Community Participation In Renewed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Efforts - 06/13/24

Oregon City officials are involved in the second round of their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, and are looking for community involvement.

The City Commission reconfirmed DEI as one of their priorities during the last goal setting retreat, with the ultimate objective of creating a community, and a workplace, that’s safe and welcoming to all. The result was the City reengaging with a DEI consulting firm tasked with multiple objectives.

“This work isn’t about including someone simply because of their identity,” said Lamont Browne with Triangle Advising Group. “This work is about making sure no one is excluded simply because of their identity.”

In addition to a staff workgroup that has already been formed and met at the end of May, the City is looking to reactivate the Community DEI Task Force that was created during the first round of work in 2022. 

The group will pick up where they left off prior, continuing to provide the residents’ perspective on the community experience. They will also work hand-in-hand with the staff workgroup to facilitate enacting the City’s DEI action plan in a timely fashion.

Members who were on the DEI Task Force before are encouraged to continue their work, while additional residents are being recruited to apply to join as well. The commitment will include bi-monthly in-person meetings, with additional meetings possible as the work progresses. 

Anyone interested in taking part in the efforts, or who would like to learn more, are encouraged to send an email with the subject line “Community DEI Task Force” to or Residents can also learn more at

Mayor Denyse McGriff (left) presents Fifth Grader Brittney Gil-Rosales her award for placing second in the Oregon Mayors Association
Mayor Denyse McGriff (left) presents Fifth Grader Brittney Gil-Rosales her award for placing second in the Oregon Mayors Association "If I Were Mayor..." contest, with Candy Cane Lane Elementary School Principal Jacinta Ortiz.
Oregon City School District Student Places Second In State-wide Competition (Photo) - 06/07/24

An Oregon City School District student took place in a statewide "If I Were Mayor..." contest. 

in April of 2024, the City of Oregon City recognized students at a City Commission meeting for placing in the local Oregon City “If I Were Mayor…” Student Contest. This contest is run at the state level through the Oregon Mayors Association (OMA) and encourages fourth through twelfth grade students to share their creative ideas on what they would do as mayor of their city.

Placing first in the poster category for fourth and fifth graders of the local contest was fifth grade student Brittney E. Gil Rosales. Brittney highlighted four main categories on her poster that she would tackle as Mayor of Oregon City: addressing homelessness, generating more committees, creating a community garden and spreading kindness in the community. 

Brittney wrote, “I believe a town needs a kind and welcoming community… if I were Mayor, I would make sure everyone was kind to each other… because everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with respect”.

As the first-place winner in the local contest, Brittney’s poster was entered into the statewide OMA “If I Were Mayor…” Student Contest, where she was named as the second place winner. Brittney was awarded a certificate from OMA and a $300 check for her accomplishment on Friday, June 7.

On June 7, Mayor Denyse McGriff was delighted to present Brittney’s award at Candy Lane Elementary School’s Award Ceremony. At the awards ceremony, Brittney’s poster was proudly displayed, and the Candy Lane Elementary School principal, Jacinta Ortiz, was thrilled to announce Brittney's achievement in front of her peers and teachers. Brittney received immense praise and Mayor McGriff emphasized her enthusiasm in receiving more entries from Candy Lane Elementary School students in next years “If I Were Mayor…” Student Contest.

Oregon City Juneteenth Celebration Set For June 15 - 06/06/24

{Oregon City, Ore.} {June 6, 2024}—  The City of Oregon City will commemorate Juneteenth with an event created to celebrate local ties with the Black and Indigenous communities and to come together as a community united against racism that is working towards inclusion and belonging for all. 

The celebratory event will be held in Library Park at 606 John Adams St., Oregon City on Saturday, June 15, from 2 to 5 p.m. and will include speakers, music, poetry, vendors, community information and free refreshments. 

Vendor tables will include a combination of arts and crafts and community information/resources and may be subject to change. For entertainment and vendor information, visit

The Celebration will begin promptly at 2 p.m. with opening remarks by Oregon City Mayor, Denyse McGriff, a reading of an excerpt from the Emancipation Proclamation by Gavin Blackwell, and the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by Avon Rae.

The Juneteenth Celebration will also feature the culminating event of the Oregon City Public Library's “One Community One Book” program, "From Black Exclusion Laws to Inclusive Communities", a panel discussion where participants will share their perspectives on history, racism, and belonging. 

The conversation will take place at the Pioneer Community Center, 615 5th St., Oregon City from 3 to 4 p.m. and is scheduled to feature State Representative, House District 40, Annessa Hartman, Mayor McGriff, Oregon Black Pioneers Board of Directors' President Kimberly Moreland, The Place We Make author Sarah L. Sanderson and Founder/Director of the Oregon Remembrance Project Taylor Stewart. 

Both the Library and Spraypark will be open during the event.

Top row from left: Maria Ekstrand, Shay Bachelder, Corinne Lowenthal, Heidi Blackwell, Michelle Boerker and Jessica Juarrera. Front row: Biz Pod coordinator Spencer Crandall, Economic Development Director James Graham and keynote speaker Seth Henderson, with Level Development NW.
Top row from left: Maria Ekstrand, Shay Bachelder, Corinne Lowenthal, Heidi Blackwell, Michelle Boerker and Jessica Juarrera. Front row: Biz Pod coordinator Spencer Crandall, Economic Development Director James Graham and keynote speaker Seth Henderson, with Level Development NW.
Second Biz Pod Class Graduates (Photo) - 06/03/24

Oregon City’s Economic Development Department held the graduation ceremony for the second BIZ POD class over the weekend. 

BIZ POD is an exclusive education program designed to support the growth and development of start-ups and emerging companies in Oregon City. While the program gets approximately thirty applications with each cohort, only six candidates are chosen. Hence,  ensuring a balance of individual attention and group collaboration. With a focus on peer-to-peer support as well as coaching from experienced experts, it offers a unique and highly effective approach to business education. 

The seven-week program is designed to offer a customized review of each business enrolled to determine their strengths and vulnerabilities, as well as training on topics such as technology data applications, logistical business operations and process flow, the use of financial data to make informed business decisions, and guerilla marketing techniques, just to name a few. Curriculum topics are presented by paid, experienced professionals who also provide one-on-one support and mentorship on their subject area of expertise. 

Finally, each person who successfully completed the course received a $3000 grant to help with their business’ development. 

“In today’s business environment, it is vital to have ongoing financial and market data and to know how to use it in growing one’s business. No longer is it possible or recommended that business owners run their businesses on hunches and guesses. BIZ POD helps these local/emerging business owners by arming them with tools and knowledge to overcome hurdles,” said James Graham, Economic Development Manager.

This year’s graduates were: Corinne Lowenthal from The Emerald Homestead, Heidi Blackwell from Be Well Events and Services, Maria Ekstrand from Ekstrand Creative, Jessica Guarrera from Free Flow Dance – Movement & Pole Fitness Studio, Shay Bachelder from Casler Financial, and Michelle Boerker from Trail Skipper Studio. 

“This year’s cohort represented a wide array of businesses. From art and creative to finance and marketing, this group will help to broaden and  strengthen our local business community,” said Graham.

Work on the third BIZ POD is already under way. Stay tuned to new announcements on the next BIZ POD Cohort.