Things Ain’t What They Used To Be: Losing Albina

Take a look at Losing Albina: How the center of jazz and African-American culture in Portland changed forever, on Flux Stories.

From the article:

Despite decades marked by bulldozers and accelerating rent, the spirit of old Albina lives on for Paul Knauls and Ron Steen. For the past twenty-four years, Knauls has owned Geneva’s Shear Perfection Barber-Beauty Salon on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Albina. Now 84 and a recent widower, Knauls still wears a gold chain and his signature white captain’s cap; he still answers phone calls and greets customers with a smile spread ear-to-ear. In the back of the barbershop, where his son Paul Jr. cuts hair, a “Wall of Fame” holds dozens of framed photos of iconic musicians, athletes, and celebrities who have visited the various businesses he has owned in Albina throughout his life. A large sign for “House of Sound,” an old record store where he used to shop, hangs on an adjacent wall.

Knauls admits that business at Geneva’s has suffered over the years as Albina’s black residents have relocated to the eastern fringes of the city. “The same person that used to walk by here to make an appointment doesn’t walk by here anymore,” he says. “That person lives in Gresham and Troutdale now.”


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