Community Development

Charles has a track record of improving the overall community while working on individual projects. At Ethos, Charles made the strategic decision to purchase the boarded up and abandoned building on the corner of Killingsworth and Williams for use as Ethos’ main headquarters. By rolling up his shirt sleeves and inspiring countless number of volunteers and staff members, Charles and his team were able to turn two boarded up buildings into a thriving music-based community center that serves over 850 families a week. In addition to giving Ethos an affordable building for its philanthropic activities, Charles’ efforts had the additional benefit of helping to revitalize an underserved and dilapidated corner of inner North Portland.

Charles Lewis fixing up a boarded up building for use as his campaign headquarters.
Charles fixing boarded up campaign headquarters.

In a similar manner, when Charles decided to run for Portland City Council in 2007, he wanted to make a statement with his choice for a campaign office. As such, he approached the owners of the old Albina Arts Center in Northeast Portland with the offer of fixing up yet another boarded up building for use as his campaign headquarters. With volunteer support, Charles and his team pulled the boards off of the windows and spent weeks cleaning out and renovating the interior of this long since abandoned property. When the campaign was over, Charles and his team returned the property to the nonprofit that owned the building, confident they left Portland an even better place. With Charles’ efforts in place, the property has remained open and in use, helping to reinvigorate its community and helping to generate much needed revenue for the nonprofit that owns the building.