Mamook Tokatee affordable housing marks grand opening
The grand opening celebration for Mamook Tokatee affordable housing for the Native American community was marked with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, May 5.
Mamook Tokatee, which translates to "make beautiful" in the Chinook language, offers 56 new units of affordable housing in Portland's northeast Cully neighborhood at 4610 N.E. 42nd Ave.
The property was developed through a partnership between Community Development Partners, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and the Native American Youth and Family Center. The project focuses on the Native community as well as Native artists.
Officials who attended the ribbon-cutting event included Chairman of the Siletz Tribe Delores Pigsley, Oregon State Representative Tawna Sanchez, and Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Administrator of the Northwest Margaret Salazar.
"For us to put at least 20 Siletz tribal members in the facility along with other Natives and artists, it's just too good to be true," Pigsley said. "It does our heart good that we're able to at least address some of the homeless problems in Portland … I'm looking forward to doing other projects like this in other cities."
"In housing, we have to buy land that was taken from us … and it comes at a very high price," Pigsley said. "We're very proud to be here today and be part of this ceremony … we really appreciate all the work, it's just wonderful."
Salazar said this Cully neighborhood project is truly remarkable and exceptional from the ground up and that she has shared it at D.C. policy tables.
"It is a success story to put a vision into action, it is a national model," Salazar said.
"We know that those of you working in housing and community services over the last two years, that this has been a grueling time, it has been a ton of work and you have not let up your effort," Salazar said. "I know it can feel absolutely overwhelming … we see our friends and neighbors struggling … but know this, brick by brick and block by block you are making a difference, you are opening doors to people for the first time and you are changing lives. Thank you for the ongoing commitment."
Salazar said the great need for affordable housing supply in Portland and across the country includes necessary investments into Indian Country and Native communities.
"One good piece of news is that we have an unprecedented level of funding coming from the American Rescue Plan act into the Pacific Northwest and into tribes of the northwest," Salazar said.
She said during the last year, $37.7 million from the Indian Housing Block Grant has come to tribes in Oregon and Washington, and that the HUD administration has included $35 billion for an affordable housing supply fund in the proposed FY 2023 budget.
"That's an incredible number, a lot of good will come from those resources and we're thrilled to be able to partner with tribes in the northwest to do good things on housing and community facilities," Salazar said. "It represents that our administration is not backing down from the challenge. We know we need to put big ideas on the table, and I look forward to working with all of you to make that proposal and that vision a reality over the next weeks and months, and we can bring some of that money right back here to the Pacific Northwest and put it to great use."
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