The JUNE KEY DELTA COMMUNITY CENTER is a "green" living building project developed, owned, and operated by the Portland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. that provides and sustains the needs of the multi-cultural neighborhood it serves, encouraging sound and healthy social, educational, artistic, economic, and environmental development and awareness.
The property on which the completed community center, June Key Delta Community Center, stands is owned by Portland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. The site is a renovation of a standard 1960's style concrete and metal building gas station with asphalt pavement and serves as a demonstration project highlighting how a small, nonprofit organization uses sustainable building practices to create a "living building."
The June Key Delta Community Center is dedicated to the spirited work of the late June Roe Runnells Key, a member of the Portland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Professionally, she was a respected educator in the Portland Public Schools system. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta, she embodied the sorority's focus on economic development as a part of the "Five Point Programmatic Thrust." It was June Key's vision and leadership that initiated the chapters search and purchase of the property at 5940 N. Albina Street in 1992.
June Key was one of the ten members of Delta Sigma Theta to charter the Beta Psi Chapter in Portland, Oregon on March 25, 1945. Chapter meetings were held in members' homes for many years. As the chapter grew, it became necessary to locate larger rooms for the meeting sites; problems occurred frequently when sites were not available or charges were imposed. June Key's mission was to gather the members together to search for a permanent meeting site large enough to accommodate 40 to 60 people. The search resulted in the discovery of a long abandoned Arco gas station and convenience store on the corner of North Albina and Ainsworth, across from the popular Portland Peninsula Park, known for its beautiful rose garden. The property itself was unsightly, trashed, boarded up, and piled high with rubbish. Arco wanted to dispose of this surplus property and sold it to the Portland Alumnae Chapter for a very modest price. It took a great deal of sweeping, mopping, painting and trips to the dump by members, friends and "honey do's" to get the place acceptable enough to be a meeting place for the chapter and to create a safe space for the surrounding community. The members of Portland Alumnae Chapter graciously voted to name the building to honor June Key’s part in identifying what is now our beautifully renowned property! Her contribution to the sorority chapter and her service to the community will continue to inspire future generations of leaders in Portland.
June Key Delta Community Center's Educational Garden is used as a tool to teach healthy eating habits, urban agriculture and sustainable living practices.