“The Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) is writing in response to the proposed development in partnership with Majestic Realty. Our opposition is rooted in the well-documented and ongoing attempt to profit from development in inner N/NE Portland at the expense of Black and low-income individuals. Rather than invest in proven methods to stop displacement and empower the African American community, the Portland Development Commission (PDC) and City of Portland have consistently supported projects that have displaced existing residents and attracted wealthier ones in their place.
In October, PAALF met with city officials including, Mayor Hales, Patrick Quinton and John Jackley to discuss the disparate impact gentrification has had on our community’s wellbeing and viability. Both Mayor Hales and Patrick Quinton expressed a commitment to solving the issues related to gentrification and to finding community based-solutions to stabilize Black residents. This decision indicates the opposite and reflects the City’s overall track record of implementing policies that serve to uproot, displace and disempower our most vulnerable community members.”
Read the rest of the letter and sign the petition here.
The Portland Development Commission and the city itself need to sign off on the recommendations, which include adding MLK all the way from Broadway Street to Lombard Avenue to the Interstate URA. Currently, MLK Boulevard from Rosa Parks Way to the Convention Center is included in the Oregon Convention Center Urban Renewal Area (OCCURA), which expires in 2013.
The Daily Journal of Commerce’s announcement of the proposed changes to the URAs, which includes the note that the advisory committee “supported making the Interstate urban renewal area project list the top priority for the adjusted area”.
Urban Renewal Areas are concatenations of complex policies about land use and planning, and can be difficult to understand. It’s important to note that the OCC Urban Renewal Area has helped rehabilitate old buildings and construct new ones on King Boulevard, though it’s anyone’s guess how much attention development on MLK will get if the street joins a URA centered on Interstate Avenue.