Portland, Oregon was declared the most gentrified city in the U.S. in 2015. That same year, it was reported that 3 Black Portlanders were displaced every day — with 10,000 having been displaced between 2000 and 2010.

The Bridging the Divide project at the Institute for Policy Studies and Radix Consulting Group co-published this report that identifies the root causes of gentrification in Portland and solutions to address those issues. The report, Right to Root, brought together over 30 design professionals with representatives of the community to develop strategies for home ownership, urban plazas with community centers, and commercial space and business incubators.

Some key findings:

  • Of the 24 neighborhoods analyzed in this report, the number with rental affordability for a three-person household at 60 percent of Area Median Income declined from four in 2016 to two in 2017
  • There are no neighborhoods affordable to rent for the average Black, Latino, Native American, and single mother households.(State of Housing, 2017 – p. 9; 2017)
  • There are no neighborhoods anywhere in the city currently affordable for the average extremely-low income household, Black household, Latino household, Native American household, senior household, or single-mother household to purchase a home. (State of Housing, 2017 – p.9)
  • Some people of color in the Portland area are nearly twice as likely to experience poverty as their white and Asian counterparts. (OPB 2017)
  • Oregon’s income, employment, education, housing and health data highlight that women and children are made vulnerable by social, economic, environmental and political disparities.
  • Four central topics arose as being central to the community: small housing, community space, commercial space and parks.
  • Solutions to some of these issues included in the master plan are  community entertainment, food-market, and resource center spaces, small infill housing, and commercial spaces where new businesses can connect with existing businesses.



Cat Goughnour is a researcher for the Bridging the Divide Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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