“I wish that the community knew how many people of color have been brought to the table on this project and are fighting for them, leveraging their professional experience and relationships to speak truth to power to bring sustainable change.”
Ericka Warren, Strategic Advisor and Facilitator
As a young Black girl growing up in North Portland during the early 1970s, Ericka Warren remembers riding her bike around her neighborhood, cruising past Black-owned businesses and restaurants that flourished in the neighborhood she calls home: Historic Albina.
Although Albina remains home to some of the Black Portlanders whose grandparents settled in the area following the Great Migration and the Vanport flood, Warren has witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of displacement on so many Black families as public projects and gentrification forced them to move away.
Known for her community-building and operational leadership skills, Warren was asked to facilitate the Historic Albina Advisory Board (HAAB) on the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project. She is uniquely positioned to speak truth to power, bring communities together, and provide strategic guidance that elevates Black voices to work toward equitable outcomes.
“I feel honored to lead and work with the HAAB to identify community needs and incorporate what we hear into design and governance,” said Warren. “I don’t take my role lightly: I know it’s a responsibility to carry the weight of my parents and grandparents, friends and neighbors who once called Albina home. There is a lot of passion behind members’ involvement for this project because of the historic and future significance.”
No one on this project knows the Albina community and its history better than Warren and her business partner Dr. Steven Holt, principal of Try Excellence, LLC. The duo serves as strategic advisors for the Rose Quarter project, and Dr. Holt facilitates the Project’s Executive Steering Committee. As the facilitator of the HAAB, Warren envisions using her voice and the voices of the HAAB to push ODOT into a new reality.
“I wish that the community knew how many people of color have been brought to the table on this project and are fighting for them, leveraging their professional and personal relationships to speak truth to power. We have a unique opportunity to help steer the resources of the project to seed substantial community investment for generations to come,” said Warren.