Local businesses provide employment for area residents and products and services close to home. Mid-county Memo Business Memos celebrate news, advancements, promotions, retirements, expansions and other noteworthy events at these cornerstones of our community. To share news of your business with our readers, Business Memo submissions for the April issue are due by Tuesday, March 15.

For best results, e-mail Darlene Vinson at editor@midcountymemo.com. You may also mail submissions to 3510 N.E. 134th Ave., Portland, OR 97230. To leave a phone message, dial 503-287-8904. The Mid-county Memo fax number is 503-249-7672.

Leah Rodgers and Ryan Miller offer farm-to-table vegetables via their CSA Rockwood Urban Farm at Southeast Stark Street and 139th Avenue. COURTESY LEAH RODGERS

Leah Rodgers and Ryan Miller offer farm-to-table vegetables via their CSA Rockwood Urban Farm at Southeast Stark Street and 139th Avenue.

A farm in our backyard
Something exceptional is happening right here in our own backyard. Leah Rodgers and Ryan Miller, owners of Rockwood Urban Farm, are raising a bounty of vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruit at 13949 S.E. Stark St. A native Oregonian, Miller hails from Silverton, while Rodgers grew up on the East Coast in Maryland. She managed the edible landscapes of McMenamins Edgefield for seven years, where she and Miller met. They joined forces in 2013 to start Rockwood Urban Farm.

Why Rockwood for their farm’s name that’s in the Hazelwood neighborhood? “While we are technically not located in the Rockwood neighborhood, we based our name on the fact that we are part of the Rockwood Water PUD and for historical reasons as this part of town (10 miles from Portland Courthouse), is very wooded and rocky and thus the inspiration for the name,” Rodgers said in an email.

The pair uses ecological methods to provide healthy, locally grown seasonal produce and flowers to members of the farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program and to many area restaurants. CSAs connect farmers to families who benefit from a regular supply of fresh, farm-direct food and provide farmers with financial security.

Rockwood Urban Farm is ramping up for its fourth season of production. Harvests will include several varieties of greens, root vegetables, peas, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, a wide variety of summer and winter squashes, sweet and hot peppers, cabbages, garlic, onions, beets, parsnips, eggplant, and as well as herbs and flowers.

In addition to offering CSA shares, Rockwood Urban Farm offers bulk buying for canning, drying and pickling.

Go to rockwoodurbanfarm.com to become a CSA member. If you would like to learn more about Community Supported Agriculture, plan to attend the 2nd annual CSA Fair Share event Saturday, March 19, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at The Redd, 831 S.E. Salmon St. This is a free event that offers cooking demonstrations by local chefs, activities for children and a cookbook swap. Miller and Rodgers look forward to meeting you there. In the meantime, visit the farm web site at rockwoodurbanfarm.com, find them on Facebook, e-mail them at rockwoodurbanfarmers@gmail.com or call Miller at 503-752-6685, Rodgers at 503-421-1435.

Grant to boost career and technical education for David Douglas students
The David Douglas School District has received a $400,000 Career and Technical Education (CTE) grant from the State of Oregon to boost secondary programs in career education.

The funds will be used for Project LAB (Learning Aligned with Business), cultivating career-oriented learning starting in middle school, continuing through high school, moving into post-secondary education and beyond.

The program will impact students at David Douglas High School, Fir Ridge Campus, Alice Ott Middle School, Floyd Light Middle School and Ron Russell Middle School. Additionally, this program is being designed to support historically underserved students.

Plans include boosting programs in hospitality and tourism management by offering classes in restaurant management and advanced culinary and reopening The Kilt, a student-operated restaurant. The grant will also allow the district to open an engineering program of study, create a makerspace lab for applied learning in science, technology and engineering as it relates to business and provide the District’s 18 CTE teachers with externships with local business partners.

The makerspace lab is envisioned as a place where a health occupation student might design and manufacture a medical device, a business management student may design a new product and create promotional materials or manufacturing students might use 3-D printers to make a model of a broken part for repair.

Human Solutions staffers Fran Weick, from left, Amal Ahmed, Ayan Abdiyo, and Laura Lirette celebrate the opening of the new permanent Emergency Family Shelter at 16015 S.E. Stark St. COURTESY ANGELA TAYLOR

Human Solutions staffers Fran Weick, from left, Amal Ahmed, Ayan Abdiyo, and Laura Lirette celebrate the opening of the new permanent Emergency Family Shelter at 16015 S.E. Stark St.

‘From vice to nice’
After several years of operating a seasonal overnight shelter for area homeless families during the cold winter months, Human Solutions now has a permanent Emergency Family Shelter that will serve families year-round.

Last month the nonprofit opened its new Emergency Family Shelter at the site of the former Black Cauldron vegan strip club at 16015 S.E. Stark St. Before that licentious incarnation, it was the popular Woodshed Restaurant for decades. The Family Shelter has been operating at a temporary site nearby since October. With investments from Multnomah County and HDC Community Fund LLC, Human Solutions acquired the former strip club and remodeled and repurposed it to serve as a larger Emergency Family Shelter that will serve families 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. The low-barrier shelter is open to all families experiencing homelessness and homeless pregnant women in their third trimester, ensuring that no one is left to sleep outside, in a car or abandoned building or in any other dangerous situation.

The Emergency Family Shelter provides a safe place to sleep and other basic necessities to families experiencing homelessness. Families also have access to a wide range of services designed to help them permanently overcome homelessness, including housing assistance, employment counseling and service planning, coordination and support. The new shelter has capacity for 134 people (34 more than the current temporary overnight shelter), and Human Solutions arranges overflow space as needed so that no eligible family experiencing homelessness is ever turned away. The remodeled Black Cauldron site provides many family-friendly amenities, including a full kitchen, showers, laundry facilities and a computer lab. Human Solutions secured small grants and private donations to furnish and fully equip the new permanent shelter to serve guests. “Human Solutions is simply thrilled to open the new Emergency Family Shelter because it will enable us to ensure that children and families experiencing the trauma of homelessness have a decent place to sleep safely and to engage by day in the task of getting back on their feet and into stable housing with the right level of support,” said Andy Miller, executive director at Human Solutions. “We are so thankful to Multnomah County and our other funders for believing in the vision of repurposing a community eyesore into a warm, welcoming shelter for families—for investing in the conversion of vice to nice!”

Individuals who are in need of housing are encouraged to call 211 to access the full array of county services available. Families experiencing homelessness are welcome to come directly to the Human Solutions Family Shelter. It is preferable that they arrive between noon and 5 p.m., but intake is conducted 24 hours per day. Dinner is served at 7 p.m. Families have easy access to the shelter using the Max Blue Line stop at 162nd and Burnside with a short (1/3 mile) walk to the shelter, or bus #20, which stops directly outside the building. Parking is available in the back lot for guests with vehicles.

The Human Solutions Family Shelter relies on community donations to be able to provide blankets, pillows, new or gently used clothing and shoes and nutritious food for homeless children and parents. The shelter also needs diapers for babies and toddlers and educational toys, books and other playthings for a wide range of youth and young adults.

Contact Danielle Stirnaman, Human Solutions’ outreach coordinator, at 503-278-1637 or dstirnaman@humansolutions.org to volunteer or to donate goods. For shelter services, reach out to Charles Hodge, emergency services manager, at 503-544-3935 or chodge@humansolutions.org. Get more information at humansoulutions.org.