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What a City Is For: Remaking the Politics of Displacement

What a City Is For: Remaking the Politics of Displacement

by Matt Hern (Author)

Portland, Oregon, is one of the most beautiful, livable cities in the United States. It has walkable neighborhoods, bike lanes, low-density housing, public transportation, and significant green space -- not to mention craft-beer bars and locavore food trucks. But liberal Portland is also the whitest city in the country. This is not circumstance; the city has a long history of officially sanctioned racialized displacement that continues today. Over the last two and half decades, Albina -- the one major Black neighborhood in Portland -- has been systematically uprooted by market-driven gentrification and city-renewal policies.

African Americans in Portland were first pushed into Albina and then contained there through exclusionary zoning, predatory lending, and racist real estate practices. Since the 1990s, they've been aggressively displaced -- by rising housing costs, developers eager to get rid of low-income residents, and overt city policies of gentrification.

 

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