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Anti-Displacement & Displacement Mitigation Work: Righting Past Wrongs and Moving Forward the City of Portland’s Anti-Displacement Action Plan

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Mayor Wheeler speaking in front of a microphone

The City of Portland’s racist governing history created disparities that still exist today. In the past, in North and Northeast Portland, African Americans were segregated, and the neighborhoods were redlined or denied access to housing loans. Large public investments such as the construction of the I-5 freeway and Legacy Emanuel Hospital, including demolition of housing and commercial buildings, caused displacement and physically split predominately African American communities. The City of Portland was eliminating the housing stock in neighborhoods that people of color could buy in, while at the same time limiting where people of color could live. This caused mass involuntary displacement and the ultimate decimation of historically black neighborhoods, particularly in North and Northeast Portland.

This displacement is also a result of gentrification. In the Portland Plan, it states, “Gentrification often means that the change has resulted in involuntary displacement of residents and businesses. It can occur as the result of rising property values, redevelopment or land clearance. Most often, lower income populations, renters and the businesses that serve them are displaced and/or separated from community and social support systems”(More information here). The harm of gentrification is tangible and measurable. It includes:

  • Loss of access to desirable locations;
  • Displacement of individuals and businesses to fewer desirable locations;
  • A loss of wealth when homeowners leave without realizing the increased property values
  • Loss of the ability for current residents to enjoy the benefits of revitalization
Bar graph showing the percentage of people below poverty by race, ethnicity, and age

In our city, more than half of people of color living in Portland are economically insecure. With housing prices rising over time, Portlanders are more likely to be priced out of their historical neighborhoods and away from their communities to find more affordable housing.

Bar graph showing housing burden by tenure, race, ethnicity, and gender.

The Mayor proposed funding for an Anti-Displacement Action Plan to be developed, building off the anti-displacement policies in the Comprehensive Plan. As the steward of the Comp Plan, he’s asked the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to lead the planning process. The Mayor is asking for more public accountability through inclusive co-creation of the Plan with communities most impacted by displacement and a set of equity measures to track over time.