Our Projects

North Star focuses on concrete projects – with a clear beginning, middle and end – that can articulate solutions at the scale of the problems we face. We rely on collaborative partnerships to hone our expertise in and authentic connection with communities facing challenges such as a low wages, diminishing access to affordable housing, or barriers to basic civic participation. In a civic environment in which even simple community concerns have become polarized and politicized, we rely on non-partisan research and cross-partisan collaborations to identify a path forward that carves through  ideologies and special interest intervention.

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A New Deal on Housing: BUILDING tenant WEALTH

April 2016-Present We are exploring new financing models to increase asset building for a generation facing massive barriers to building wealth through homeownership. We look at this crisis through the lens of wealth inequality and are actively exploring entrepreneurial ideas to build wealth for people who cannot currently access home ownership.

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Civic engagement roundtable

March 2016 In partnership with Northwest Health Foundation and Sightline Institute, we convened groups that represent and serve communities of color, low-wealth communities, and other traditionally disenfranchised communities in late March 2016 to discuss and learn about the kinds of open democracy reforms that would do the most to increase civic participation and open doors to civic and electoral leadership in Portland. 

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Building the 21st Century Middle class: Minimum Wage

Jan 2015-March 2016 Our 2015 focus was the growing share of low wage workers who could not earn enough to support themselves without a strong public safety net. In partnership with Northwest Health Foundation, we provided the data, policy analysis, and community conversation needed to develop innovative policy that responds to the realities of Oregon's economy – including costs of living, median income, and regional labor markets.