“Urban renewal hurt African Americans, officials say. Now Portland leaders want to make amends”

Unbelievably, the city had to spend money to figure this out:

Urban renewal had decimated Portland’s African American neighborhoods before. But, in 2000, city leaders promised this time would be different. This time, they said, money spent in North and Northeast Portland would benefit the poor, the elderly and people of color.

Sixteen years later, that still hasn’t happened.

“We over-promised and under-delivered,” said Kimberly Branam, the executive director of the Portland Development Commission, which oversees the city’s urban renewal projects. The plan’s intended beneficiaries, Branam said, “were, in fact, those who were most harmed.”

Wouldn’t it be something if the PDC admitted that, in fact, urban renewal acted just as it was supposed to – to clear inner N/NE of black and poor people, and create a gentrified urban core?

Wouldn’t it be something if the gentrifiers in inner N/NE stopped saying things like, “they {the black community of two or three decades ago} wanted it this way, wanted the neighborhood improved”?

Wouldn’t it be fine if the city served the people who live in it?

Anyway, read more at OregonLive, if you can stomach it. The work PAALF did when the Trader Joe’s deal was announced has had incalculable, invaluable effects on this city – we’re the better for it, even if the city needs to pay someone to tell them it’s so.

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