Larry Collins is a native of Portland. He is a father, husband and community activist. However, Larry was not always the engaged citizen who we see today.
Once upon a time, Mr. Collins was known more as “Larry the drug dealer.” Larry saw few opportunities around him, but did see many people addicted to drugs and others who profited from those addictions.
Larry grew and matured as a person, rededicated his life, and set out on the mission to right his wrongs and rebuild the community that he helped to tear apart. Mr. Collins, is founder and president of People Of Purpose and Associates (POPA), the volunteer chairperson of Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods’ Public Safety Action Committee, and volunteers with On the Block ministries, Right Way ministries and Cornerstone Community Services.
He has previously been recognized by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement. For the past three years, POPA has sponsored a neighborhood clean‐up, and free community lunch and concert. POPA’s motto is: stop pointing a finger and lend a hand! Recently, Mr. Collins was contacted by the Oprah Winfrey Show to consider doing a segment about POPA.
Citizens like Larry make Portland the wonderful place that it is, full of opportunities for redemption and a place for everyone who wishes to see things improve. It is Mr. Collins’ determination to progress as well as his willingness to roll up his sleeves and lend a hand that make him a very deserving recipient of the Mayor’s Spirit of Portland Award.
The Spirit of Portland Awards are presented annually to Portland neighbors and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the community. Winners are selected from nominations submitted by citizens. The Selection Committee is made up of representatives from Council Members' Offices, the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, District Coalitions, neighborhood business associations, and past recipients. The nominees are evaluated using five categories in which they exemplify commitment to the community. How they helped with outstanding projects, enriched our community, provided a special service, were responsive to neighborhood issues and how they helped raise cross-cultural awareness.
The award ceremony will be held in the Council Chamber at City Hall on Thursday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. with a reception immediately following. City Hall is located at 1221 SW 4th Avenue.