Mr. Raymond Burell III

Raymond Burell III is a native of Portland who grew up in the Northeast area of the city. During his career in the retail fashion industry, he worked for Meier & Frank Department Stores, Jeffery Michaels, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, the Gap, Nordstrom. In 2008, he became the first man and African American to hold the position of Fifth Avenue Club Director. He became a major fundraiser for the Cascade AIDS Project, and in 1995-96 he served as creative director and chairperson of the Annual Dress For Life Benefit. He is a member of the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church of Portland and served as the musical director of the Youth Choir. He also directed the Mass Choir, played the organ, and worked with the Baptist State Convention Music Department. He helped found the Reunion Gospel Choir, the Inspirational Choir, and the Children’s Junior Choir and co-directed the Male Chorus. He served as the Vancouver Baptist Church archivist and is the author of “Vancouver Avenue”: Yesterday, Today and Forever. His work has been shared through public programs and OPB documentaries. His work as a public historian includes researching historic black properties for nomination to the Register of Historic Places in Oregon and building education resources about local black history. Raymond passed away in July 2019.

Author's Entries

  • Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church

    The history of the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church of Portland is entwined with the history of Oregon’s African American population. In September 2016, the church building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement and for its social significance …

    Oregon Encyclopedia