Portland's Smart Growth Faces Cries of Gentrification

<p>Portland, famed for its progressive policies and smart growth, is facing criticism that the same growth they are applauded for is squeezing other groups out- particularly African-Americans.</p>
May 31, 2008, 7am PDT | sflaningam
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"Not every neighborhood in this city is one of those Northwest destinations where passion for espresso, the environment and plenty of exercise define the cultural common ground. A few places are still described as frontiers, where pioneers move because prices are relatively reasonable, the location is convenient and, they say, they "want the diversity."

Yet one person's frontier, it turns out, is often another's front porch. It has been true across the country: gentrification, which increases housing prices and tension, sometimes has racial overtones and can seem like a dirty word. Now Portland is encouraging black and white residents to talk about it, but even here in Sincere City, the conversation has been difficult.

"I've been really upset by what I perceive to be Portland's blind spot in its progressivism," said Khaela Maricich, a local artist and musician. "They think they live in the best city in the country, but it's all about saving the environment and things like that. It's not really about social issues. It's upper-middle-class progressivism, really."

Thanks to Sightline Daily

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Published on Thursday, May 29, 2008 in The New York Times
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