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Some Silver Lining to Urban Renewal

Barry Johnson of The Oregonian looks back at Portland's urban renewal program, what was lost in the demolition of neighborhoods and what was gained.

Johnson talks about the 1950s concept of civic improvement: "That idea led the city to scrape clean two "decaying" neighborhoods, South Portland and the neighborhood along North Williams Ave., and replace them with the city's first two major urban renewal projects, Memorial Coliseum and the South Auditorium District. We would now consider those moves mistakes -- even though they produced two remarkable civic projects, the Coliseum and the Halprin plazas -- because they displaced thousands of people and because they failed to create the lively urban areas that cities depend on for their lifeblood."

The urban renewal movement of the 50s led to the citizen revolts of the 70s that transformed the regional government.

Full Story: The histories of a city: Portland and the Halprin plazas


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