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Affordable housing development honors one of Oregon's Black pioneers

The Louisa Flowers is Portland's largest affordable housing development built in the last 50 years. The building is located in the Lloyd District, a commercially-vibrant neighborhood in Northeast Portland. Developed by Home Forward, the project provides housing for residents, most earning at or below 60 percent of the median family income.

Working in partnership with Oregon Black Pioneers, the building name was selected to honor Louisa Flowers, a respected African American pioneer and civic leader who settled in Portland in the late 1800s. This project speaks to her legacy by empowering diversity, equity and inclusion in the same neighborhood in which she and her families resided. Her family was one of the first Black families to own property on Portland’s east side – operating a farm and building homes near the new building which was named for her. 

In the 1920s, a segregated housing pattern began in Portland, and racist redlining practices restricted African Americans primarily to sites near industrial areas. New struggles for this next generation of Black Portlanders emerged that were exacerbated by the Great Depression and World War II. Much can be learned from the resilience and commitment of early Black pioneers like Louisa Flowers and her family, who became beloved members of Portland’s small African American community. They defied the odds and became successful landowners, entrepreneurs, and community leaders.

To educate residents and visitors about Louisa Flowers and the building's cultural and geographical significance, a historic display was designed and installed in the Jim Smith Garden, a public courtyard on the building's ground level that is open to the community.

Click here to learn more about the project.