A Brief History

Establishing North Portland Neighborhood Services

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, neighborhood engagement and advocacy in North Portland was formed and centered on a single non-profit organization that worked for the seven peninsula neighborhoods of St Johns, Overlook, Portsmouth, Arbor Lodge, Cathedral Park, University Park and Kenton. During the late eighties, these neighborhoods along with the Hayden Island Neighborhood Network and the Linnton Neighborhood Association in Northwest Portland each established common boundaries and organized independent neighborhood associations that received official recognition from the City of Portland. Although independent, neighborhood associations continued to work in coalition under the umbrella of a non-profit organization, contracted by the City to provide neighborhood services.

A dispute between neighborhood associations in the early 1990s led to the dismantling of the non-profit umbrella coalition and the departure of the Linnton neighborhood. Now joined by the Bridgeton Neighborhood Association, the neighborhood associations petitioned the City to provide direct services to each neighborhood organization.

North Portland Neighborhood Services was established in 1994 at the direction of the neighborhood associations to provide services and support independently to each of the now 11 neighborhood associations (the Piedmont Neighborhood Association and the East Columbia Neighborhood Association chose to join NPNS in the late 1990s).

Funded by the City of Portland, NPNS bases its mission on the Assets Based Community Development (ABCD) model developed at Northwestern University. Very simply stated, this mission emphasizes community assets to engage, organize, and empower residents.

You can read more about the history of neighborhood associations at the Office of Neighborhood Involvement website.