Local Tours

A group of local women who call themselves the Wednesday Women Walkers, visited New Columbia for a tour. With an interest in architecture, the group of 20 women laced up their sneakers and went for a walk to learn about everything from public art to the economic diversity of the community. Here is what they said:

“I like the way the community is mixed with young, old, renters and homeowners.”

“Glad to have spent the morning with you and learning about New Columbia. I should have mentioned at the time that we hiker women were all around when the Women’s Studies and Black Studies programs were beginning at the universities in the late 60’s. A long road, believe me, led to those programs. It was fine to meet someone who had used that history and education to work for people.”Â

“I loved learning about NC because, as a west-sider who rarely ventures to your part of town, I was entirely unaware of the wonderful work that has been done to rejuvenate an area, create a lovely neighborhood and provide fine housing and an improved environment for the residents.  The play equipment is so much fun, even for “old” people… If only we expended our national treasure to rebuild our communities and care for our people.  What an improvement that would be for all of us.”


International Tours

A group of 60 professionals traveled from England to New Columbia to learn about this unique community – stating that New Columbia is not just an interesting place to live, work or visit – but a model for combining housing and community.  These professionals work in fields relating to sustainability, intergenerational programming & research, environmental conservation, urban planning and public policy.  Here is what they shared:

“My tour around New Columbia was a brilliant learning experience. I came to Portland on a study from Coventry, England and was extremely impressed with the physical re-development the community building that had taken place. The tour enabled me to see first-hand how New Columbia came to be what it is today, seeing the emphasis that is placed on green open spaces, and on the education and community facilities open to residents. I also found it extremely interesting to look around the exhibition documenting the individual stories of local residents, and feel that this focus on the past as well as the future must have added an important richness and context to the development of the new community.”

“This group was organized by the Urban Institute and the Institute of Community Cohesion to explore comparative approaches to housing based revitalization in the UK and US.  Delegates were most impressed by New Columbia on three counts. First – the story of how the area was reborn through the dedicated work by the Housing Authority of Portland, local community organizations, and the residents. Second - the visionary leadership at a local level that has led to different types of housing and coming together of a community, in the true sense of the word. Third – the neighborhood vibrancy of community residents, teachers, and young people – all of whom loved being part of this community. It seemed to the UK delegates that New Columbia went back to the basics of community building pioneered by Cadbury and Rowntree in Birmingham and York. The work here is something that needs to be celebrated and widely disseminated. “