On Saturday, February 7, 2015, the Allen Temple CME Church experienced a devastating fire that caused extensive damage. The cause of the fire was a small fire started near the restrooms in the fellowship hall, which was quickly put out by the Portland Fire & Rescue Department. A few hours later a transformer burst, and an electric line connected to the pole and church broke, electrifying the church roof and igniting a major fire from the roof that caused extensive damage to the church by fire, water, and smoke. The historic 9,500 square foot, 100-year-old church provides a bridge for the community in providing a multitude of services.
Unfortunately, the impact of the fire is much greater than the damage to the building—it has directly impacted programs, services, community, and the 350+ congregation members. Allen Temple serves as a critical hub in the community and plays a key role in providing programs and services to neighborhood and community members.
Allen Temple CME Church reaches beyond the four walls to serve the most diverse and vulnerable populations in the community—low income, elderly, homeless, veterans, youth, and adults. The Emergency Aide Center, which provides clothing and food from the Oregon Food Bank, has served over 587 families and over 1,400 family members. The Homeless Outreach Team serves over 200 individuals monthly providing food, hygiene packets, socks, hats, and gloves. They have a long history of being an impact church and providing cutting edge services in North and Northeast Portland that exceed services offered by much larger churches in the Northwest.
The Homeless Outreach Team was started three years ago, and church members provide the resources to the homeless community from their own pockets.
The congregation has been committed to continuing services to the community despite the displacement, and although there have been many challenges, they have persevered and kept their focus on serving the community. All who walk through the doors are welcome and served.
Since the fire, Allen Temple CME Church has had some tough times with their rebuilding project. They are now working with Oregon-Columbia Chapter member Andersen Construction and are in the home stretch of the rebuilding project. They have been working with groups like IBEW, Constructing Hope, Women in Trades, and the Homebuilder’s Foundation, but need volunteers for completion of the project.
They have an immediate need for:
- Doors and hardware installation
- Texturing and painting
- Site clean-up prep for finishing work
- Carpenters for pew refurbishment
More About Allen Temple CME Church
The following program services are still being provided:
- Allen Temple HIV/AIDS Education Program: Provides counseling services, support, resources, and education to individuals and families.
- One Church-One School Mentoring Program: Provides one-on-one mentorship and teaches reading enrichment to elementary school children.
- Allen Temple Homeless Outreach Program: Teams outreach to homeless individuals and families providing food, clothing, and hygiene products. The program works with Transition Projects and Portland Rescue Mission and goes out into the streets to provide resources.
- Allen Temple Food Bank: NE Site for Oregon Food Bank to provide food for individuals and families who are struggling and hungry. Served 1,400 individuals last year including children, families, seniors, veterans, and disabled individuals. The center is open 15 days per month and serve families between NE Broadway/Ainsworth to NE 42nd/N. Killingsworth. They are the only food bank and emergency clothing site offering this many hours of service to the community. The Food Bank operates from the emergency services building on the property because it is so vitally important to the families they serve. With 16.1% of all Oregonians experiencing food insecurity (being without access to sufficient, affordable, nutritious food), the loss of an accessible food bank in the community would directly impact neighbors and families. They also offer a clothing closet for individuals, families, and neighbors. Church members provide over 80 hours of service monthly.
- Resurrection Prevention & Intervention Drug/Alcohol Abuse Support Program: This twelve-step recovery program counsels and supports individuals, families, and youth in addiction, recovery, and co-dependency, and provides services for at-risk youth, including mental health support services.
- As a community center they offered the facility to local organizations and community members. Before the fire they averaged 12 groups per month.
- Social Justice Program: Involves extensive community engagement, training, and advocacy on major issues impacting the neighborhood and community such as social justice inequalities in education, housing, health care, economic disparities, and police enforcement and criminal justice reform.
- New proposed community day care center with renovation: The City of Portland building permit was approved in August 2017 Construction started September 2017.