Urban Fold

On the Racial Complications of Gentrification in Portland

Anna Griffin, reporting for the Oregonian, produced a pair of recent articles examining the process of gentrification in Portland—a city that recent saw gentrification controversy spark over the location of a Trader Joe’s.

Ann Griffin surveys the examples of gentrification and displacement in Portland—starting from the post-World War II example of inner Northeast Portland and to the urban renewal efforts of the 1970s.

Griffin goes onto cite the example of Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park as a neighborhood that revitalized without the negative impacts of displacement along racial lines. The secret to MacArthur Park’s success, according to Griffin: inclusionary coning and a Latino political influence. But Oregon prohibits inclusionary zoning and “African American activists, due in part to the small percentage of black voters in Portland, carry little day-to-day influence at City Hall.”

Earlier in the week, Griffin published the transcript from an interview with State Rep. Lew Frederick, who described his take on the African-American experience of gentrification in Portland. He noted, for example, the hidden qualities of gentrification in Portland: “Most of the folks in Portland, the white folks, really do not interact with African Americas at all. When you start talking about this as a problem they go, “Where?” because they don’t see it. They have no clue. That’s one of the issues that Portland has that’s going to be different than Boston or Philadelphia or Washington D.C.”

Full Story: Gentrification: In Portland, as in Spike Lee's Brooklyn, a complicated question of race and class

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