AARP AARP States Oregon Livable Communities

When a Challenge Becomes an Opportunity

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AARP Awards “Challenge Grants” to 159 Communities Across the Country

Three Oregon communities will get a chance to spark new solutions for livable communities thanks to grants from AARP. “AARP Community Challenge Grants fund projects that can inspire change in areas such as transportation, open spaces, housing, smart cities and more, said AARP State Director Ruby Haughton-Pitts. “It’s exciting to see the creative ways cities and nonprofits can use some seed money to enliven their communities.”

AARP awarded grants totaling nearly $1.6 million across 50 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. “We’re happy to announce the Oregon winners which include the cities of Salem and Talent and the nonprofit Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon,” Haughton-Pitts said.



Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon will pilot a new program to engage elders in Portland’s Jade District and teach them to use technology to increase mobility and connect to community resources. The Jade District is one of the most diverse census tracts in the city and a low-income neighborhood. APANO will host a series of outreach events in Summer 2019 including a transportation fair at "The Orchards of 82nd", a new mixed-use development that includes affordable housing and community space.

“Elders in our community face difficulties in technology and language access to our transit system. We do this program to help and support. They deserve to be empowered and have access to reliable safe transportation.” Wanna Lei, Community Organizer


City of Salem and Center 50+ will hold “Downtown Pop-Up Summer Programming.” With the goal of changing the perception of downtown Salem and foster positive interactions with people of all ages and abilities, this project will provide free inter-generational classes that are open to the public, all while activating a vacant storefront downtown.

“Salem’s Center 50+ has been an outstanding program to keep our city’s senior residents active and engaged as it provides a wide range of opportunities for our aging in place efforts here. This creative new “pop up classes” collaboration in our downtown shopping district is the latest in this exciting project.” Mayor Chuck Bennett, City of Salem


Talent Maker City will create innovative programs that include older adults in intergenerational learning opportunities. Building on City of Talent's status as an officially designated "Bee City," the program will have a fun pollinator theme and support proliferation of and interest in pollinator gardens in the city. Participants will learn introductory carpentry, ceramic and screen printing skills, while gathering in a vibrant downtown Talent makerspace facility with other curious minds of all ages.

"Talent Maker City has been offering intergenerational workshops in Southern Oregon since 2016, as part of our commitment to collaborative learning opportunities for curious minds of all ages. We are thrilled to have AARP's generous support of our inclusive effort to cultivate an age-friendly community in Talent, Oregon through hands-on creativity." Ryan Wilcoxson, Executive Director.

The Community Challenge is part of AARP’s nationwide work on livable communities, which supports the efforts of neighborhoods, towns, cities and counties across the country to become great places for all residents. AARP believes that communities should provide safe, walkable streets; affordable and accessible housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents to participate in community life.

To learn more about the work being funded by the AARP Community Challenge both here in Oregon as well as across the nation, visit And to learn more about how AARP is working to make communities across Oregon and across the U.S. more livable for all residents, visit

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