Open Meadow’s History
1971 Open Meadow Learning Center founded as an educational program of Portland Youth Advocates serving homeless Portland street youth in a downtown storefront.
Mid-1970s Open Meadow moves to rented space in North Portland (where we concentrate our services to this day). The program is collectively managed by five teaching staff and serves 35 middle and high school students from North and Northeast Portland.
1979 Open Meadow incorporates as an independent non-profit.
Early 1980s Open Meadow changes to an Executive Director model. Our annual budget is less than $100,000.
1991 We purchase our first building and grow to serve 80+ students.
1993 Youth Empowerment and Employment Program (YEEP) added.
1995 Corps Restoring the Urban Environment (CRUE), a project-based high school program is added.
1998 At the request of Portland Public Schools, Open Meadow opens a middle school for 56 students.
2000 We change our name to Open Meadow Alternative Schools.
2003 Open Meadow develops STEP UP, an innovative partnership with Roosevelt High School offering intensive summer and after-school academic and social support services. We add Youth Opportunity (YO), offering youth employment services.
2004 STEP UP expands to serve Roosevelt’s feeder middle schools (George, Portsmouth, and Open Meadow Middle School). We open a newly renovated building to serve CRUE and other Transition Programs, allowing us to expand the number of high school students served. Corporate Connections begins, providing employment readiness training, internships, and career track jobs with local corporations.
2005 Open Meadow adds Project ESTEEM (Empowering Students Through Educational Employment Mentorships), a partnership with local and national businesses offering career-based mentoring for high school students, and City Corps, a project that teaches students about city government and increases youth voice in the civic process.
In 2006-07, Open Meadow serves nearly 600 youth ages 10-24 in seven programs at six sites, including public middle and high schools in the Roosevelt Cluster. The 2006-07 budget is $3.0 million.
2007 Open Meadow’s STEP UP expands to serve Portland’s Madison and Marshall high schools.
2009 Open Meadow’s STEP UP expands to serve Gresham-Barlow School District at Gresham High School.
Open Meadow, from its opening day over thirty years ago, has been centered on the powerful concept of youth advocacy. As a founder, I am deeply moved, and gratified, to see that the culture of such advocacy continues its promise, and remains as a demonstrably successful core value in Open Meadow’s work with youth today.