Oregon’s largest college has received its biggest donation ever.
The Portland Community College Foundation announced Thursday that it has received its largest-ever gift — a property owned by the late Oregon poet Carolyn Moore, worth more than $5.5 million.
The Carolyn Moore Writers House in Tigard will be used by PCC to host writers in residence. The foundation said it has received the property itself, a 2,500-square-foot log cabin on nine acres, and a fund to support its operations for at least 20 years.
Moore, who died in 2019, wanted her property to be used for a writers’ residency program, Ann Prater, PCC Foundation executive director, told OPB.
“There was a proposal process, and we submitted a proposal, and we were selected,” Prater said. “We were thrilled because many times these kind of writing retreats are reserved for more elite universities. It’s more of an ivory tower experience, and our students — who are brilliant aspiring writers — don’t always have the same sort of opportunities.”
Prater said to the foundation’s knowledge, this type of writers residency program will be the first in the nation to be hosted at a community college.
“My aunt Carolyn had a love of learning,” Moore’s niece Erica Klassen said in a statement, “so PCC is a great fit for her vision.”
The program itself is still being developed, so creating the criteria for selecting a writer in residence has not yet begun, though Prater said it will most likely focus on emerging writers from anywhere in the world.
“We’re hoping eventually that the house will be able to house, at different times, emerging writers, some of our students at times, maybe even faculty, because our faculty are also excellent writers as well,” Prater said. “We’re envisioning a very diverse population of energetic writers.”
The program will begin some time within the next year and will be led by PCC’s Humanities and Arts Council.
PCC faculty teach more than 70 classes in different types of writing and poetry to 1,200 students each year, the college said. Prater said the hope is that the writer in residence will not only be interacting with those students but the wider community as well.
“The writer in residence will write there, but then visit our students on campus and really do one-on-one writing exploration and sharing of experiences, and hopefully will also interact with others in the writing community in Portland,” Prater said. “So, we think that it’s going to be a great benefit for cultural enrichment for the entire community as well as our PCC students.”
Prater said the gift of the Carolyn Moore Writers House wraps up the PCC Foundation’s first-ever comprehensive campaign, which will have raised more than $45 million in contributions when it concludes later next week. Those funds will go toward scholarships, workforce development and other needs for PCC students.