Author: mlkinmotion

The Rent Crisis: A People’s Perspective, December 16th

On Wednesday, December 9th, the Oregonian will be hosting a panel of “concerned citizens and community experts,” which includes speakers such as one of the most prominent developers in the Pearl District and the wealthiest Portland City Commissioner. While the people on this panel do make major decisions about housing in our community, this panel clearly fails to reflect the diverse perspectives of the working class people who are affected by the housing crisis in Portland.

So on the Wednesday after, December 16th, join Know Your City and Portland Tenants United (Portland’s new tenant union) for a community dialogue about how these skyrocketing rents impact our communities, and what we can do about it. Topics will include no cause evictions, government policy, homelessness and camping – and will include the perspectives of women, people of color, and perhaps most importantly, renters.

Join us at Community Warehouse for this panel. Speakers include:

-Katrina Holland, Community Alliance of Tenants
-Margot Black, Portland Tenants United
-Vahid Brown, Hazelnut Grove
-Josh Alpert, Chief of Staff for Mayor Charlie Hales

We will also be engaging in group breakout sessions after the panel so that every attendee can have their voice heard.

5:00 – Doors Open
5:30 – Panel Begins
6:15 – Group Breakout Sessions”

Community Warehouse, 3969 NE MLK




Black and Blue in Albina, pt 3: Redlining.

Although blacks were the majority population within the Albina community, they had little control over neighborhood conditions or institutions. In the late 1960s, only 89 out of 1,978 businesses in the area were black-owned. Between 1965 and 1970, 60 of the 200 businesses along the main stretch of NE Union Avenue closed, leaving vacant storefronts in a ten-block zone. As white business owners fled Albina during the 1960s and 1970s, the storefronts remained vacant, in part because Portland-area banks refused to issue business loans in redlined black neighborhoods. (Redlining is a term used to describe the process of denying loans to specific neighborhoods,
primarily based on the community’s social characteristics.) Aspiring black
entrepreneurs were shut out of their own communities. City-wide, black
home-ownership, employment, and high school graduation rates all lagged
behind those of whites. The only statistics where blacks surpassed whites
were arrest and incarceration rates. As dean of the University of Oregon law
school Dr. Derrick Bell observed in the mid 1980s:
You might see few blacks on the streets of Portland, and virtually none outside the city.
But the cellblocks of the state prison contains the highest percentage of blacks as com
pared to the state population of any state in the nation save our sister state, Washington.
At the same time, Portland had gained a national reputation as one of the most livable cities, yet as Herndon noted, “that livability is not there for blacks, instead we get prison, unemployment, bad housing, and Klan-type harassment against a black family living in a Portland suburb.”


From Black and Blue: Policy Community Relations in Portland’s Albina District, 1964-1985, by Leanne C. Serbulo and Karen J. Gibson

Black and Blue in Albina, pt 2: The Burger Barn opossums on Union Avenue

On the night of March 12, 1981, Officers Craig Ward and Jim Galloway dumped four dead opossums on the doorstep of the Burger Barn, a popular black-owned restaurant on Union Avenue. Witnesses to the incident saw four patrol cars pull up to the restaurant and claimed seven officers were involved in dumping the dead animals. Black community organizations responded with press conferences and marches denouncing the police actions as racially motivated harassment. Burger Barn owner George Powe believed it was part of a larger campaign of harassment intended to drive customers away from his business. “You would think the police would have better things to do,” Powe remarked. Jordan and Police Chief Bruce Baker urged patience and calm while the Internal Affairs Division investigated the incident. BUF and other community organizations demanded the officers be fired and described the Internal Affairs investigation as being akin to “asking a hungry dog to guard a meathouse.” On March 25, 1981, protestors marched, calling for the firing of all of the officers involved in the incident, the formation of a civilian review board, and better training and supervision of the police. Responding to intense public pressure, Jordan fired Ward and Galloway on March 26, 1981; none of the other officers received any reprimand. Ward and Galloway continued to claim that the incident was not racially motivated; they merely wanted to “relieve stress.”

In response to the firing, Peters organized an emergency PPA meeting. The union took a no-confidence vote against Jordan and Baker, circulated a petition calling for Jordan’s removal as police commissioner, and organized a rally to support Ward and Galloway.

On April 3, 1981, one thousand police and supporters marched in a “Cops Have Rights Too” rally. The PPA contended that the firing of Ward and Galloway was politically motivated.

The PPA’s newsletter, The Rap Sheet, said that as the incident wore on it was
clear the city was willing to “throw a pound of flesh to the wolves” and Jordan had decided to “throw the entire carcass to just satisfy their howling.” After Ward and Galloway lost their jobs, the PPA hired them to work for the union with equivalent salaries and filed a grievance against the Police Bureau, protesting the firing of the two officers…. [22-3]

From Black and Blue: Policy Community Relations in Portland’s Albina District, 1964-1985, by Leanne C. Serbulo and Karen J. Gibson

Black and Blue, in Albina

According to a 1966 survey of Portland police, 86 percent of officers believed that the civil rights movement was ‘moving too fast,’ and more than half believed racial equality was happening ‘much too fast.’…[12]


Civil rights and anti-poverty organizations’ criticisms of the police
reflected the growing frustration that many young Albina residents felt —
a frustration that erupted in the summer of 1967 in Irving Park.
Young people threw rocks and bottles at the police, and the disturbance quickly
moved to nearby Union Avenue, where fires were set, windows were broken,
and a stereo store was looted. Unlike later riots in Albina, the Irving Park
disturbance was not sparked by a specific incident. Young participants were
frustrated by unresolved problems in their community and especially by the
constant police presence. One rioter commented:
Where else but in Albina do cops hang around the streets and parks all day like plantation overseers? Just their presence antagonizes us. We feel like we are being watched all of the time.
After the Irving Park riot, police increased their surveillance of Albina
neighborhood activists and meticulously recorded any confrontations they
had with young black residents, often referring Albina youth to the Intelligence Division. [13]