Frequently Asked Questions

What is PHAME’s mission?

PHAME empowers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead full, creative lives through arts education and performance. 

What kind of programming does PHAME offer?

PHAME offers three ten-week terms of arts-based classes each year, as well as many performance opportunities. Our classes include musical theatre, choir, drawing, digital photography, dance, and many more. Our performance program has put students in front of audiences in Portland and beyond.

What are PHAME’s core values?

Self-Determination, Opportunity, Dignity of Risk, Excellence, and Inclusion.

Who does PHAME serve?

PHAME serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Where is PHAME located?

PHAME classes are held at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church, located in Northeast Portland. The church address is 1535 NE 17th ave. The PHAME office is in a house located next door to the church. Our mailing address is 1631 NE Broadway #134, Portland, OR 97232.

Why is PHAME at a church?

We rent our program space from Grace Memorial Church, and we share the space with other groups as well as the church staff. PHAME has no religious affiliation.

How do I become a student?

Great question! The first step to becoming a student is to come in for an interview. Check out our Become a Student page for more information.

How can I support PHAME?

Another great question! There are many ways to support PHAME. You can support PHAME as a volunteer, you can donate money or much needed items, and you can spread the word about PHAME. Invite your friends to PHAME events, and tell them why you love PHAME!

How do I find out when the next term starts?

Check out our School Calendar—that’s where we list school dates for the whole school year.

How can I find out about upcoming events?

Check out our Events page—that’s where we list upcoming events, and you can also see some of our past events.

What classes do you offer?

Each term, we post a list of classes to that term’s page. When you click the “school” menu, look for a page called Fall Term, Winter Term, or Spring Term. You can take a look there, or email us at to request a course catalog. The course catalog lists class information for the upcoming term, as well as information about what PHAME does and how to become a student. We'd love to send one your way!

More Frequently Asked Questions for Current Students

Where are PHAME classes held?

PHAME classes are held at Grace Memorial Episcopal Church, located in Northeast Portland. The church address is 1535 NE 17th ave, Portland, 97232.          

Which door should I use to enter the church?

You should use the red door at the corner of NE 17th and Weidler whenever you enter or leave the building. This entrance is ADA accessible, and is always unlocked during PHAME hours.

Is there parking at PHAME?

We share a parking lot with Grace Church, and you and your support people are welcome to use it. The parking lot is located behind the church at the corner of NE 16th Ave. and Weidler. There is also limited free and pay parking on the surrounding streets.

Can I take public transportation to PHAME?

The neighborhood is served by multiple bus lines including the 17, 77, and 8, and the MAX is close by on the other side of Lloyd Center Mall. Visit for more information.

What do I need to know if I take TriMet LIFT?

Many students use TriMet LIFT to get to and from their PHAME classes. PHAME recommends scheduling LIFT rides to arrive 0-30 minutes before class begins and to depart 0-30 minutes after class ends. When scheduling your ride, be sure to use the program space address: 1535 NE 17th ave, Portland, 97232. Note that PHAME does not arrange LIFT rides for students.

If you have scheduled a TriMet LIFT ride, please be ready to leave at the beginning of your pick-up window. TriMet LIFT drivers are not required to come to the Student Lounge, so it is important to wait for your ride near the red door at the corner of NE 17th and Weidler, where drivers often wait. If you would like a Campus Coordinator to help you remember your LIFT pick-up window, communicate it to them when you arrive on campus and they will record it.

Is the PHAME program space wheelchair accessible?

PHAME uses multiple classroom spaces within Grace Church, all of which are accessible for people who use wheelchairs. There is one wheelchair accessible restroom on the first floor of the church. The main door to the church is is located at the corner of NE 17th and Weidler and is accessible via a ramp. PHAME occasionally moves a class to the downstairs part of the church, but only does this when all of the students in the class are comfortable using stairs.

If I’m not in class, is there somewhere on campus where I can hang out?

You are welcome to hang out in our student lounge, also called the Ella Brown room. It’s located next to the Parish Hall and the kitchen. If there is a class in session in the Parish Hall, students in the student lounge room are asked to remain quiet. The student lounge is open during most PHAME hours.

Is it ok to eat food or drink a beverage in the student lounge?

You are welcome to eat food or drink a beverage in the student lounge. Please be sure to clean up after yourself.

Can I eat food or drink a beverage in other parts of the church?

Food should only be eaten in the Student Lounge. Beverages are ok in most rooms on campus, however there are special rules for the Sanctuary: in the Sanctuary, the only beverage allowed is water, and it must be in a container with a lid. No food is allowed in the Sanctuary.

Is there a kitchen I can use while on campus?

There is a kitchen located next to the student lounge, and students are welcome to use the microwave and refrigerator. Because we share this space with church staff and other groups, please clean up any messes and throw away your trash.

Is there a PHAME staff person on campus that can answer my questions?

At least one Campus Coordinator (also known as a “CC”) is on site during school hours, and stays on site until all PHAME students have left. Campus Coordinators are PHAME staff members who assist students and teachers and ensure that the school day runs smoothly. They can help you find your class, tell you what time class starts, help you remember your TriMet LIFT time, and more. Our Campus Coordinators are friendly and helpful, and would love to get to know you.

What is a Campus Assistant?

Campus Assistants (also known as “CAs”) are PHAME staff members who are also PHAME students. Campus Assistants assist Campus Coordinators in overseeing the student lounge, greeting LIFT drivers, and maintaining the program space. 

What is the PHAME Core Staff?

The PHAME core staff is the administrative team that handles program development, registration, fundraising, and much more! The core staff works out of the PHAME office, located next door to the church. To reach the PHAME core staff—or to make an appointment to come by the office—please call (503) 764-9718.

Where is the PHAME office?

The PHAME office is located next door to the church at 1511 NE 17th ave between NE Weidler and NE Halsey. Please note that the office does not receive mail—all mail should be sent to our mailing address. While you’re welcome to come by the office, we may be busy or in a meeting, so we may ask you to come back later. Feel free to give us a call to schedule a good time to come by.

Where is the bathroom?

The program space has multiple bathrooms. On the main floor there is an ADA accessible restroom that is gender neutral, meaning anyone can use it. There are additional restrooms located downstairs.

What time should I arrive at PHAME?

You should plan to arrive at PHAME no more than thirty minutes before your first class. PHAME unlocks the door to the church 30 minutes before the first class of the day. Prior to this time, there are no PHAME staff on site, and students may not enter, even if the door is unlocked.

What time should I plan to leave PHAME?

You should plan to leave PHAME no more than thirty minutes after your last class of the day.

What if I’m going to be late to class?

We ask that you do your best to come to class on time. If you are late, please enter class as quietly as you can, and talk to your teacher after class to find out what you missed. There’s no need to call the PHAME office when you’re running late.

What if I’m absent from class?

In order to get the most out of a PHAME class, we recommend that you attend class every week. However, we understand that sometimes you’ll have a conflict or need to stay home sick. If you know that you will be absent on a future class day, please inform your teacher in person so that they can plan accordingly. However, if you have an unplanned absence and are unable to come to class, you do not need to notify the school. In the event that you miss multiple classes during a term, PHAME staff may reach out to you to make sure you are doing ok. Note that tuition is not refunded for missed classes.

Can I leave campus on my own?

PHAME is an open campus, and we don’t require you to sign in or out when you arrive or leave. However, we think it’s important for you to decide with your family or support people whether you are safe leaving campus alone. We expect you to understand your own ability regarding leaving campus, and to stay on campus if that’s what you and your support people have decided is best. Students who cannot understand whether or not they should stay on campus and who are at risk of leaving campus accidentally may need to be accompanied by a family member or personal support worker while at PHAME.

Does PHAME close for holidays?

PHAME is closed for major holidays, and occasionally has planned closures based on events happening at Grace Church. Upcoming closures are listed on the School Calendar.

Does PHAME close when the weather is bad?

In the event of severe weather such as snow, ice, or flooding, PHAME follows Portland Public Schools’ (PPS) closures. This means that if PPS is closed, PHAME is closed. PPS closures are published on and

If PHAME is closed due to weather, staff will send an email communication to all current PHAME students scheduled to attend PHAME that day, and will make every attempt to communicate via telephone with students who we are aware do not have regular internet access. PHAME will also alert TriMet LIFT of the closure.

If PHAME remains open but weather conditions in your area are unsafe, please use your best judgment regarding whether to come to PHAME.

How do I register for classes?

Registration opens approximately four weeks prior to the first day of the term, and once it opens you can register using a link on our Registration Page. You can also request register using a paper form (all current students receive a paper form and a course catalog in the mail). See the School Calendar for the date that registration opens. Classes are announced online approximately six weeks prior to the start of the term.

When you click the link on our Registration Page, you’ll be taken to the PHAME store. You’ll see a list of classes, and you can click on the classes you want and add them to your shopping cart. Once you’ve selected all of the classes you want, you’ll select “checkout” and either pay your tuition in full or select a deferred payment, which means you’ll pay later.

How do I pay for classes?

Tuition can be paid by check, credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express), or cash. Please send checks to our mailing address or give them to a Classroom Coordinator. Credit cards can be used when initially registering online, or can be processed over the phone by calling (503) 764-9718. Note that PHAME does not keep credit card numbers on file.

Payment plans of up to three payments are available. The first payment must be received by the first week of classes, and the final payment must be received before the end of the term. Students who do not pay their tuition in full may not be eligible to register for the following term until full payment has been received.

When registering online or on paper, you will have the option to either pay in full or to select ‘deferred payment,’ which means that you will pay later. Select ‘deferred payment’ if you will be requesting tuition assistance, if you will be paying in multiple payments, or if you will be paying by check. 

Does PHAME have registration and withdrawal policies?

Tuition for each class includes a $10 non-refundable registration fee. The last day to drop a class without paying an additional fee is the Friday before the first day of the term. For classes dropped during the first or second week of classes, students will be responsible for paying 25% of tuition owed in addition to the $10 registration fee. For classes dropped after the second week of classes, there are no refunds and students will be responsible for 100% of tuition owed.

Does PHAME have late registration fees?

Beginning Fall Term 2018, there will be a $10 per class late registration fee charged to registrations received the week before classes begin, or later. In Fall Term, classes begin on September 24, so registrations received September 17 or later will be charged the extra $10 per class. This late registration fee is non-refundable. To avoid this fee, please plan to register early.

How do I request tuition assistance?

PHAME can provide Tuition Assistance to students who cannot pay the full cost of tuition, and Tuition Assistance awards range from 5% to 80%. Students requesting Tuition Assistance must apply using a Tuition Assistance Request Form, which can be downloaded from our Student Forms page. You may also request the form by emailing

Tuition Assistance awards are valid for the whole school year, meaning that students who receive an award during Fall Term are automatically approved for the same rate of assistance (for the same number of classes) for Winter and Spring Terms.

Requests for Tuition Assistance must be received in the PHAME office no later than one week before classes begin in order to be considered for an award.

Does PHAME require students to fill out any forms?

All students must have a Student Release form and a current Student Information form on file in order to participate in PHAME programs. You can download these forms from our Student Forms page. To find out if you are up to date—or to request a copy of these forms via email—email

What if I need accommodations or modifications?

Please indicate any accommodations or modifications you need on your Student Information form. If you’ve already fill out the form, you can send additional information to and we’ll update your records. Please communicate any new accommodations or modifications no less than one week before the start of a new term.

Note that PHAME staff are not responsible for assisting students with activities of daily living such as taking medication, eating, using the restroom, and physical transfer. Students needing assistance with these activities must bring a care provider to PHAME. Care providers are welcome to accompany students to class.

What is Get PHAMEous?

Get PHAMEous is our biannual open house which occurs at the end of Winter and Spring Terms. Select classes present portions of what they’ve learned over the term, and students are encouraged to invite their friends and families. The event is free and open to the public, and is a lot of fun!


Have additional questions? Email us at or give us a call at (503) 764-9718.