Brenna Bailey says farewell to Living Cully!

Dear Neighbors and Friends,

Many of you may have heard by now that I am leaving my job with Living Cully as Community Organizer for the Mobile Home Program, and as the After-School Coordinator at Rigler Elementary school. For the next few months I am heading to Arizona to volunteer near the border, and then to Chiapas, MX to attend a Spanish language school. I am excited about this upcoming journey, but saying goodbye to this work, these relationships, and everything else in Cully is difficult, and emotional. The last two years have been joyfully loaded with growing, organizing, repairing, building, canvassing, meeting, playing, and so much more.

I feel grateful and lucky to have organized alongside Cully community members during these last two years. The Living Cully Outreach Staff brightened my days and consistently took on extra work to support the mobile home program’s endeavors.

Mobile Home residents from the Arbor, Cedar Shade, Glenwood, Fir Grove, and Oak Leaf taught me what it looks like to show up for justice and create change. After a long day at work; before putting the kids to bed; in the midst of stressing about the leak in your ceiling and that confusing new rental contract that is only in English; with your neighbors; with your dog Pooky; every month; every other week; every single day.

When I hopped on my bike in late October 2016– a crisp, sunny Fall day fooling me about what my bike commute would look like that winter–to ride to Cully for the first time, I don’t think I could have imagined what was coming. Meals and hugs shared with residents that started to feel like family, in kitchens that started to feel like home. Marching (well, bussing) to all the crucial moments of the zoning campaign with dozens of residents and allies each time, until the final time that City Council unanimously voted yes to adopt a zoning ordinance that would preserve mobile home parks in Portland. Starting from scratch on a resident-led, volunteer-run mobile home repair program that will continue to thrive thanks to the hundreds of hands that play a role in it—residents, Cully neighborhood volunteers, Living Cully staff, the St. Charles church community. Learning, so much learning… I leave this job with a lot of experience and memories that will continue to remind me why we can’t rest on affordable, accessible housing in Portland.

I will be landing back in Portland in April, and although I am not sure what my next job will be, or where, I know you’ll see me back in Cully biking on these familiar roads, paved and potholes alike. Catch me next spring enjoying the mountain views at Cully Park, ordering panuchos from Los Mayas loncheria, or over at Rigler playing soccer with my favorite kids!

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