Mission & History

Creating Community Since 1976

At IRCO, our mission is to welcome, serve, and empower refugees, immigrants, and people across cultures and generations to reach their full potential. We imagine a future where refugees and immigrants belong, our staff are nurtured, and all communities thrive.

Founded in 1976 by refugees for refugees, IRCO has been serving Oregon's immigrant and refugee communities for nearly 50 years. Following the 1970s political upheavals in Southeast Asia, Oregon and Washington were two of the first states to offer new opportunities and homes to refugees. A group of Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian refugees in Portland formed the Indochinese Cultural and Service Center (ICSC) to help newly arrived families adjust to American society and find jobs.

By the mid-'80s, ICSC joined forces with another community-based organization, Southeast Asian Refugee Federation (SEARF). The newly formed International Refugee Center of Oregon (IRCO) became the sole service provider of employment services and job training for all newly arrived refugees. In 2001, we became the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization and have continued to expand our services.

Today, we serve tens of thousands of clients annually, with over 50 IRCO access sites across the state.

Our Values

A Culture Of Belonging

  • Together we build spaces and places that are welcoming, accessible, where we can all belong.
  • We are culturally and linguistically competent.
  • We build bridges and connect community.

Serving With Integrity

  • We own our responsibility to support our community and our teams.
  • We are accountable and transparent to those we serve.
  • We actively build trust in our community.

Adapting & Innovating

  • We are collaborative and innovative.
  • We focus on continuous improvement.
  • We tackle emerging challenges and adapt with a learning and growth mindset.

Offering Care & Empowerment

  • We support and nurture our staff and community.
  • We empower and inform through development and growth opportunities.
  • We are compassionate and trauma-informed with community and staff.

Holding A Global Perspective

  • We adopt a global perspective in all we do.
  • We acknowledge differences and offer mutual respect.
  • We are global citizens and stewards.

Centering Community

  • We are responsive to community needs.
  • We are steady and persistent in our approach.
  • We advocate for our communities’ access to systems and services.

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Who We Are

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