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About Rockwood

Rockwood is one of the most challenged — and exciting — neighborhoods you will find anywhere in the United States.

When you mention the neighborhood, you will be met with many strong opinions, yet few people know the true story of the community. Rockwood has been around for 150 years as a sleepy suburbThings got interesting in 1987 when the Oregon Supreme Court forced the annexation of Rockwood into Greshamagainst the sentiments of the people who lived in either community.

Rejected by Portland, and never embraced by Gresham, Rockwood has never truly been wanted. This neglect and under-investment has led Rockwood to be Oregon’s largest under-resourced and challenged community.

Some basic facts about Rockwood: 

  • It is home to approximately 40,000 people, and sits in Gresham, immediately outside the Portland border.
  • It is part of East Multnomah County which is known to have a huge income gap between the rich and poor.
  • Life expectancy is a full 10 years shorter in Rockwood than it is in other parts of Portland.
  • If Multnomah County were a state, the West side would be one of the richest states in the US, and the East side would be one of the poorest.

The reality is this: every system is broken in Rockwood. This includes: education, government,  healthcare, business, justice, financial, and community.

In light of the challenges, the people of Rockwood have proven to be tough, resilient, and hopeful.  Following their spirit, we are building an exciting future in partnership with our Rockwood neighbors.

The Rockwood community is home to incredible diversity. Our neighbors speak more than 88 languages at home and have the youngest population in the metro area. The community is hungry for change and people from the community are leading the way.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in new investments are pouring into Rockwood, entrepreneurs are building businesses, violence is down, community members are running for office and starting community-based nonprofits, and large systems are starting to engage in meaningful change.

Our work is focused on working alongside our Rockwood neighbors to bring about lasting systems-level change to the community. 

Learn more about our work by joining one of our upcoming online Lunch and Learn gatherings

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