Great piece in what was once The Oregonian about gentrification in Portland.
“We have both some bad history and limited history,” said State Rep. Lew Frederick, a Democrat who represents some of the Northeast Portland neighborhoods most changed or in the process of changing. “Most of the folks in Portland, the white folks, really do not interact with African Americans at all. When you start talking about this as a problem they go, ‘Where?’ because they don’t see it. They have no clue.”
Anna Griffin’s article is in response to recent statements Spike Lee made about gentrification in Brooklyn. One of the more irritating un-truisms New York publications like to repeat is that Portland is “Brooklyn without black people.” Of course, the Brooklyn that makes the pages of these New York publications is the “Brooklyn without black people.” It’s as “awash in hipsters” as Mississippi Avenue.
Gentrification’s effect on a city’s African-American population is often unspoken, but it’s interesting to note how they are an “In-Between Generation.” White Portland Boomers might have grown up in Northeast, but their Gen-X children were raised in the outer suburbs, and now those kids are returning to Alberta Street, after a fashion.
Prior to the attention Lee’s statements received, there was an interesting documentary on the subject called Gut Renovation.
By the way, I’m currently living in a gentrifying neighborhood in Seattle. As part of a biracial family, I never know if I’m part of what’s coming in or what’s going out.