The Gordly-Burch Family House reDEVELOPMENT PROJECT

  Image Courtesy of PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JAIME VALDEZ. 

Image Courtesy of PORTLAND TRIBUNE: JAIME VALDEZ. 

 

Project Description

In 2016, The Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) launched an exciting project to buy and preserve the historic Gordly-Burch family home located at 4511 N. Williams Ave in Portland, Oregon.


PAALF’s hope is to develop the home into a cultural center which honors the contributions of the Gordly-Burch Family and the hundreds of other black families and organizations that have made an indelible and lasting impact on Portland—and create a space to gather in the historic heart of Oregon’s largest African American/Black community.

 

Gordly-Burch Family History

  Avel Gordly and Faye Marie Burch in Gordly-Burch family home, 4511 N. Williams Ave in Portland, Oregon, age 10 and age 8, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Avel Gordly and Faye Marie Burch in Gordly-Burch family home, 4511 N. Williams Ave in Portland, Oregon, age 10 and age 8, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

The property has remained in the Gordly-Burch family since its purchase in 1949. At that time uncensored racial prejudice and antisemitism were pervasive, including racist property laws that prevented African Americans from purchasing homes and redlining that prevented lending to purchase homes. The Gordly family, however, was able to purchase the home from the Jewish residents willing to help root the family in the neighborhood. The home remains an important piece of the family’s history and an important artifact of the racial justice movement from the 1950s to present day. The family members included Mrs. Beatrice and Mr. Fay Gordly, their children-- Avel Gordly, Faye (Gordly) Burch and Tyrone Gordly.

 

The Gordly-Burch family continues to be a symbol of self-determination in the Black community. The family has a long history of helping to advance community empowerment. Mr. Fay was a railroad worker with the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids labor group a Mason and active with the A Phillip Randolph Movement, and Mrs. Beatrice was a long-time member of Mt. Olivet Baptist church and a Grand Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star.

  Faye Marie Burch, Image Courtesy of  Colors of Influence Updates Blog .

Faye Marie Burch, Image Courtesy of Colors of Influence Updates Blog.

Faye Marie Burch, previously Governor Barbara Roberts’  Senior Policy Advisor and later serving as the Advocate for Minority and Women- Businesses, She was a co-owner of five gift shops and a small food service restaurant at the Portland International Airport for twelve years while building her business as a Project Development  consultant, business leader, public policy advisor, community activist. In that role Ms. Burch has coordinated over a billion dollars of opportunities for Minority and Women Businesses and job training programs. Ms. Burch served on the Board of Directors for the Urban League of Portland, MESO Microenterprise Program, the Portland Rose Festival Association that promotes large international tourism activities and brings millions of dollars of revenue to city businesses, and as Vice Chair of Self Enhancement, Inc., a non-profit youth program for at- risk youth, serving as a national model for the Center for Disease Control. Ms Burch received a Congressional appointment and served on a National Small Business Commission holding hearings in Alaska, Washington, California and Virginia.  Her business has received several U.S. Small Business Administration awards and recognitions in the field of construction as a Woman of Vision and a Newsmaker.

  Avel Gordly, Image Courtesy of PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY. 

Avel Gordly, Image Courtesy of PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY. 

The Honorable Avel Gordly was the first African American woman elected to the Oregon State Senate, representing a geographic area that included the predominantly Black area of North and Northeast Portland from 1991 until her retirement in 2009. Her legislative record included initiatives that focus on cultural competency in education,  physical and mental health, and the administration of justice and the development of legislation that continues to benefit low-income communities of color, young children, the elderly, and other vulnerable Oregonians. She served on state committees including Joint Ways and Means, Education Policy, Trade and Economic Development, and Environmental Quality. She advocated for and then co-chaired former Governor John Kitzhaber’s Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Health and established the nationally recognized Governor’s Environmental Justice Task Force.

 
  Swearing-in Ceremony just ended in Oregon State Senate.  Mr. Fay Gordly looks on proudly while Avel Gordly applauds all those who came to witnessing. Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Swearing-in Ceremony just ended in Oregon State Senate.  Mr. Fay Gordly looks on proudly while Avel Gordly applauds all those who came to witnessing. Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

  Avel Gordly and sister Faye Marie Burch (in stroller), Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Avel Gordly and sister Faye Marie Burch (in stroller), Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

  Grand opening of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) opened its first culturally specific mental health and psychiatric services, the Avel Gordly Center for Healing, 2008. Photo includes: Peggy Koss, Governor director of Affirmative Action, John Albert Kitzhaber, president of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), City of Portland Mayor Thomas Jay "Tom" Potter, and Honorable Judge Adrienne Nelson, Oregon Supreme Court, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Grand opening of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) opened its first culturally specific mental health and psychiatric services, the Avel Gordly Center for Healing, 2008. Photo includes: Peggy Koss, Governor director of Affirmative Action, John Albert Kitzhaber, president of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), City of Portland Mayor Thomas Jay "Tom" Potter, and Honorable Judge Adrienne Nelson, Oregon Supreme Court, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

  Mrs. Beatrice Gordly and Mr. Fay Gordly early 1940’s. “They loved to dance and worked hard to raise a family and build community.”, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Mrs. Beatrice Gordly and Mr. Fay Gordly early 1940’s. “They loved to dance and worked hard to raise a family and build community.”, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

 The only photo Avel Gordly and faye Marie Burch’s has with both grandmothers. Left to right: Grandmother Lessie Gordleys Uncle James Dowall;  Mrs. Beatrice Gordly’s brother (eldest); Grandmother Alberta Louise Randolph (3rd marriage); and James’ wife Evelyn, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

The only photo Avel Gordly and faye Marie Burch’s has with both grandmothers. Left to right: Grandmother Lessie Gordleys Uncle James Dowall;  Mrs. Beatrice Gordly’s brother (eldest); Grandmother Alberta Louise Randolph (3rd marriage); and James’ wife Evelyn, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

  Mr. Fay Gordly and brother Tyrone Lee Gordly. Tyrone Lee Gordly served in Airforce and retired from Post Office, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Mr. Fay Gordly and brother Tyrone Lee Gordly. Tyrone Lee Gordly served in Airforce and retired from Post Office, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

  Young Avel Gordly, perhaps dressed for Easter,  at Grandparents home was across from what is now Harriet Tubman School (Flint Ave and N Page Street), Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Young Avel Gordly, perhaps dressed for Easter,  at Grandparents home was across from what is now Harriet Tubman School (Flint Ave and N Page Street), Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

  Lessie Gordly, paternal grandmother to Avel Gordly and   Faye Marie Burch, 1930s, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Lessie Gordly, paternal grandmother to Avel Gordly and Faye Marie Burch, 1930s, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

  Mrs. Beatrice Gordly at the neighborhood Bill’s Grocery Store, where she worked for many years.  Bill’s Grocery Store was one of the first Black-owned grocery stores in the 1940’s at N. Tillamook and Williams Avenues, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Mrs. Beatrice Gordly at the neighborhood Bill’s Grocery Store, where she worked for many years.  Bill’s Grocery Store was one of the first Black-owned grocery stores in the 1940’s at N. Tillamook and Williams Avenues, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

  Avel Gordly and Faye Marie Burch’s Brother Tyrone Lee Gordly, proudly wearing his navy uniform.  He served on the USS Keager in the Persian Gulf Era, 1984-1990, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Avel Gordly and Faye Marie Burch’s Brother Tyrone Lee Gordly, proudly wearing his navy uniform.  He served on the USS Keager in the Persian Gulf Era, 1984-1990, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

  Mrs. Beatrice Gordly and Maternal Grandmother, Alberta Louise Randolph, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Mrs. Beatrice Gordly and Maternal Grandmother, Alberta Louise Randolph, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

  Avel Gordly and Faye Marie Burch at Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center event, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.

Avel Gordly and Faye Marie Burch at Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center event, Gordly-Burch Family Archive.