Transition Projects

For 50 years, this Portland area nonprofit has delivered life-saving and life-changing assistance to some of the City’s most vulnerable residents. Did you know…

  1. The Transition Projects story began on November 1, 1969, when a young priest, Reverend Gilbert N. Lulay, leased a hotel on the corner of NW 2nd and Couch in Portland’s Old Town to house homeless men. Since then, Transition Projects has continued to be a place where people experiencing homelessness can find support. With five decades of experience providing shelter, housing and supportive services for very low-income people, this agency is now recognized across the region for work with veterans, women, people with disabilities, and other highly vulnerable groups.
  2. Recognizing the value of the lived experience of homelessness, the agency runs a state-certified Mentor Program, supporting both the professional development of formerly homeless individuals (Mentors) and providing essential peer services to persons experiencing homelessness, mental health issues, and addiction (Mentees). Since 2011, the program has graduated more than 200 Mentors.
  3. In 2012, after decades of serving veterans in shelters, Transition Projects became the leading agency in Oregon helping veterans and their families return to permanent housing through the federally-funded Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. In 2013, they joined in the Obama administration’s national challenge to end veteran homelessness and expanded their efforts to the four-county Metro-Area. By 2016, with Transition Projects playing a lead role, Portland was recognized by the federal government for having effectively ended veteran homelessness. Portland was the only city to reach this designation on the West Coast.
  4. With Portland area rents rising by 13% in 2016, over three times the national average, the City of Portland declared a state of emergency around housing and homelessness. By February 2017, 4,177 adults experienced homelessness in Multnomah County alone. Nearly 40% of those people were unsheltered. With the support of Transition Projects, in 2018 more than 1,100 formerly homeless people found safe, affordable housing throughout the Metro-Area.
  5. Today, Transition Projects operates across 10 unique sites. Started by a handful of volunteers, the agency has grown to its current team of over 300 employees who serve 10,000 people each year. Their team of over 800 volunteers accounts for 31,000+ service hours annually. The agency is the largest provider of publicly funded shelter services in Oregon. On any given night, they shelter more than 800 people, including women, men and couples. Finally, through their Resource Center, they serve 500-600 unique individuals daily, 365 days-a-year, with services ranging from hygiene and medical support to shelter and housing assistance.

Cascade is proud to feature this member, remaining driven by their mission to help people experiencing homelessness transition to housing.



Orgasmic Orange Overload

Cooler weather and shorter days can only mean one thing: Fall has arrived! Employees are getting used to layering up and carrying umbrellas to prepare for whatever weather may come. But what does that mean in the office? Sometimes those shorter days mean less engaged employees, and possibly more fatigue.

So, what are some fun ways you can keep your employees engaged and feeling appreciated? Here is a rundown of my favorite Fall activities for the office.

  1. Seasonal Potluck – Each year our office has what we call a “Harvest Fest.” Everyone brings in some sort of fall inspired dish to share with the rest of our team, and we all come together and celebrate the season with good food and good company.
  2. Crafts – Find some sort of fall themed craft for your employees to take part in. One fun activity is a pumpkin carving or decorating station. Gather supplies so that employees can create their own festive artwork, and put them on display in the office for decoration when they are done!
  3. Treats for the Team – Another popular way to excite employees is to bring in seasonal treats; for example, apple cider donuts with hot apple cider. Not only do employees love the tasty treats, but the office smells delicious!
  4. An Offsite Office Activity – One way to show your team how much you appreciate them is to take them offsite for some sort of activity. Bowling, apple picking, maybe a corn maze; there are so many different activities to choose from. Don’t force your employees to participate, but entice them to attend by taking them out during your regular work hours. Not only will they be able to step away from the work stresses for a short while, but they might learn a little more about each other during the activity.
  5. A Cook-off – Tis’ the season for some sort of cook-off! For this time of year, a pumpkin pie contest would be a great way to tie the season into the event. You can create teams who work together, or have individuals volunteer to bake, while others volunteer to be a judge. Either way, everyone wins (except those who don’t like Pumpkin Pie).
  6. Volunteering Together – Another way to build camaraderie is to go out and serve the community together. Take a vote on what sort of service activity employees would most like to engage in, and go serve together.
  7. Decorate the Office – Ask employees to help jazz up the office space with some fun fall decorations. Not only will it spark team work, it will also change the look of the office so everyone isn’t looking at the same stale office décor that is usually hanging around. Better yet, have a contest to see who can decorate their space the most creatively!

These are just a few ways you can keep your employees engaged and invigorated as the leaves change color and the air gets chillier.



Wisconsin Marching Band

At Cascade, we believe deliberate recognition is a sign of a great employer. And when a great employer gets recognized for being outstanding, we’d like to take a moment to congratulate them!

For the past 27 years, Oregon Business magazine has conducted the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon survey. Participation in the 2020 survey is now open to for-profit employers.

Eleven years ago Oregon Business added a survey of the nonprofit sector, in which Cascade now participates and was recently honored at #15 in the small nonprofit category for 2019. Participation in this survey is typically conducted late spring/early summer.

Both the for-profit survey and the nonprofit survey lists organizations that are at the top of their game in creating rewarding workplaces for employees. A recurring theme for this year’s best was emphasis on flexibility – more than anything, the most satisfied employees appreciated the ability to set their own schedules and balance their work with their personal lives. Flat hierarchy was another workplace characteristic favored by employees, along with employees feeling most valued in work environments that welcome feedback and act on their suggestions and recommendations.

We couldn’t help but notice the Cascade Members that made the recent nonprofit list as well. It takes a lot of work and dedication to make a great workplace, and we congratulate the following organizations for their success.

For large organizations (50 or more Oregon employees), those rankings were:

  • Bridgeway Recovery Services, #15
  • Capital Manor, #11
  • CareOregon, #23
  • Cascade Health, #27
  • College Housing Northwest, #32
  • Energy Trust of Oregon, #19
  • Partnerships in Community Living, #31
  • Rainbow Adult Living, #7

For medium organizations (20 to 49 Oregon employees):

  • Cat Adoption Team, #24
  • Full Access, #10

For small organizations (fewer than 20 Oregon employees):

  • Amani Center, #24
  • Green Electronics Council, #28
  • Western Energy Institute, Tied #7

Congratulations to you all!



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We have a TREAT for you. Register one person for any of the HRCI & SHRM certified courses listed below and send a second person, to the same class, at a 50% discount.

Just enter promo code TREAT to apply discount at check out!

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We aim to offer you the highest quality education at a competitive price.

Please share with your networks if you know someone else who would benefit from the courses above.

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