Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)

Slavic Leadership Development Program board members.

The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) is a non-profit organization established in 1976 to serve immigrants and refugees in Portland, Oregon. Since its founding, IRCO has served more than 200,000 people. Designed to help immigrants and refugees navigate in their new life, IRCO provides programs related to employment preparation and literacy, employment training and placement services, family and youth services, health education and advocacy, community development programs to Slavic families, as well as interpretation and translation services. IRCO also has a Slavic specific program called Slavic Leadership Development Project (SLA LDP)/ “Участие и поддержка” (“участие-и-поддержка”)/) that helps develop leadership capacity in the Slavic community in order to advocate for community issues.
In the early 1980s, the International Refugee Center of Oregon (later renamed Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization) (IRCO) was created due to the increase of Slavic Refugees in Oregon. The center’s sole purpose was to help refugees find employment through job training and language translation services. In 1995, thecenter created services that were targeted at meeting the needs of the growing Russian and Ukrainian communities in Portland and Vancouver. In 2002, IRCO expanded their Parent Child Development services to accommodate the increased number of Slavic refugees and immigrants in the area. IRCO focuses on removing barriers to self sufficiency. Issues within the family can affect stability and self-sufficiency, so IRCO provides culturally specific services to parents, children, students and seniors in addition to its core services to support employment.

Russian Oregon Social Services (ROSS) 

ROSS Volunteer and Clients

Russian Oregon Social Services (ROSS) was founded in 1994 by the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and it is the only agency in Oregon and Washington that works exclusively with the Russian-speaking population. Since 1994, ROSS has served tens of thousands of Russian-speaking immigrants and refugees with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Through the hard work of their bilingual and bicultural staff, ROSS has gained the trust of the Russian-speaking community and its leaders as well as national recognition. In 2001, ROSS created the Breast and Cervical Health and Education and Support (BCHES) Program to help women gain access to early detection services. The BCHES program informs and empowers women with knowledge regarding women’s health. This program has been generously funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure since its founding. Since 1998, the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (DV/SA) Program has been increasing awareness of these issues and helps victims and their children to escape abusive relationships and start new lives free of violence. In 2012, ROSS began offering Self Sufficiency classes to Russian-speaking survivors. Interview with a new ROSS director (in Russian)

Russian Old Believers Enhancement Services (ROBES) 

Photo Credit: Kristine Thomas, The Oregonian

Russian Old Believers Enhancement Service (ROBES) is a nonprofit organization. Their mission is to enhance and sustain the Old Believers culture bringing forth strong, vibrant community members, while keeping their doors open to those in need. The primary objectives of this organization are to create an environment within the Old Believers community in order to foster pride in who they are through workshops, newspaper publications, raising awareness on drug and alcohol abuse, teaching parenting classes with trained facilitators, encouraging a volunteer group. ROBES seeks to unify the community members and allow them to understand the beauty of the ways of their forefathers.

East European Coalition (EEC)

Russian-Speaking Youth Leadership Conference

East European Coalition (EEC) is a non-profit community organization formed in 2009 that unites the East European communities in Oregon and promotes East European culture. They solicit active participation and support from the East European communities, enhance cultural, social and economic ties among East Europeans and Americans, actively support charitable, educational and humanitarian causes, and advocate on behalf of underrepresented and marginalized East European communities. The founders of EEC have organized the annual Russian Speaking Youth Leadership Conference for the past 17 years, which is designed to promote youth leadership within the Russian-Speaking community in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Conference themes include leadership and career development, cultural heritage, staying in school and after school activities. EEC has also conducted and published in the summer of 2013 the first ever Slavic Needs Assessment for Oregon and SW Washington.   

Portland Khabarovsk Sister City Association

Russian Delegation to PKSCA

The Portland-Khabarovsk Sister City Association (PKSCA) was formed June 10, 1988 as a non-profit organization to foster international friendship through cultural & educational exchange and to facilitate social & economic ties between the citizens of the cities of Portland and Khabarovsk.  The association has organized a number of projects, including initiatives for cleaner drinking water and better waste disposal technology for Khabarovsk and the Jazz Bridge Project, which is a collaboration between artists in both cities. In addition to intermittent projects such as these, PKSCA holds annual events for members.

Slavic Advisory Council

Portland Police and Slavic Youth

The Slavic Advisory Council is a partnership between the Portland Police Bureau and the Slavic Community of Portland and is based in Southeast Portland.  It aims to establish lines of communication between law enforcement and the community to address issues of mutual concern.  The Slavic Advisory Council holds monthly meetings that are open to the public.