Portland Gets Proactive on Gentrification

We've been talking about gentrification and displacement a bunch here on Rooflines recently. One of the perennial problems in dealing with displacement has always been knowing when to start. Our report by Alan Mallach, Managing Neighborhood Change, laid out some of the different kinds of strategies you want to use in addressing both revitalization and equity depending on the market conditions in your neighborhood.

Portland, Ore., appears to be taking an approach that is very much in line with this kind of thinking as it adopts an equity-focused set of anti-displacement strategies that start with risk assessment of various neighborhoods.

There's nothing wildly unusual about any of the particular strategies on the list, or even the idea of aligning them with the different states of  different neighborhoods. But it is unusual to hear a municipal government being the one to be talking about gentrification, equity, and displacement, especially in a time when most are really struggling with vacant properties and plummeting revenues. It doesn't surprise me that Portland would be out in front on this, as on so many other things. I'll be curious to see if it proves a model others can follow.

Miriam Axel-Lute is CEO/editor-in-chief of Shelterforce. She lives in Albany, New York, and is a proud small-city aficionado.


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