OPHI completed a four-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC) program. This initiative, Healthy Active Communities for Portland’s Affordable Housing Families, aimed to increase healthy eating and active living for children and families living in affordable housing communities in Portland. Many Portland communities lack basic goods and services, including working wage jobs, affordable child care, access to healthy food, adequate transit service, and safe and secure parks and recreational areas. Many multi-family rental housing developments lack on-site amenities such as short and long term bicycle and stroller storage, indoor and outdoor recreation space, garden areas, and sidewalks and pedestrian paths.

A program overview can be foundhere.

Members of the HKHC Steering Committee included Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Portland Housing Bureau, Community Cycling Center, ROSE Community Development Corporation, Janus Youth Village Gardens, Hacienda Community Development Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, and Northwest Health Foundation.

HKHC housing playground

2013 Workplan Goals

  • Enhance multi-family rental housing sites to accomodate HEAL amenities such as bicycle parking and storage
    • Publish a Healthy Housing Handbook for property owners and developers
    • Advocate for healthy housing policies in Portland’s Comprehensive Plan and city housing contracts
    • Support and empower residents and HEAL partners to advocate for HEAL changes on their properties

Assessment of Housing Policies and Environment

Policy Scan and GIS Mapping
HKHC Steering Committee members developed a long-range workplan. One of the primary assessment activities was conducting a scan of public policies in Portland that affect access to healthy eating and active living (HEAL). The scan identified HEAL policies that addressed access for neighborhoods with lower median incomes or higher densities of affordable housing. The policy scan also identified policy supports and tools in place that could be leveraged to improve impact and equitably distribute Portland’s healthy, active communities.

Read the full scan here.

OPHI produced the following series of GIS maps to document existing conditions and the presence of HEAL amenities in neighborhoods throughout Portland.

  • The Active Living Citywide map identified schools, bicycle networks, trails, sidewalks, parks, and community centers.
  • The Healthy Eating Citywide map, identified full service grocery stores, specialty and ethnic stores, farmers markets, community gardens, emergency food sites, convenience stores and fast food restaurants. Per capita income by census tract was added to the map to show the relationship of HEAL amenities to neighborhoods with lower income residents. This map can be seen here.
  • Site specific 1-mile radius maps with the same variables were created for two multi-family housing sites in Portland, Leander Court (Active Living and Healthy Eating) and New Columbia (Active Living and Healthy Eating). These maps also include planned and funded bikeways.

Other project activities included a code scan of the City of Portland’s zoning and building codes to identify how city codes affect the development of HEAL amenities on multi-family housing sites.  This scan was performed by the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

OPHI and HKHC partners finalized a workplan for the subsequent two years of project activities, based on findings from the assessment and collaboration with project partners.

Findings from the scan of zoning regulations


In winter and spring 2011, residents living in Hacienda CDC and ROSE CDC multi-family housing sites took cameras into their neighborhoods and created PhotoVoice galleries about the challenges and opportunities they experience day-to-day. Resident leaders and HKHC partners shared these photos and stories with community activists and decision makers throughout the city. Our HKHC project leveraged these resident voices and pictures to pursue long-term changes to Portland neighborhoods.

TheROSE CDC PhotoVoice presentation can be seen here.

TheHacienda CDC PhotoVoice presentation can be seen here.

PhotoVoice guide developed by OPHI.


The November 2009 Journal of Preventative Medicine summarized OPHI’s Healthy Eating Active Living Initiative from 2003-2009.

2012 HEAL Report: Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Amenities on Affordable Multi-Family Housing Developments

2012 HEAL Executive Summary

More detail on our 2013 workplan activities can be foundhere.

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