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TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The Jade District along 82nd Avenue has made the area more attractive for Asian immigrants. East Portland leaders, in a clarion call to prevent further displacement of residents and merchants, are mobilizing Monday to adopt a wide range of anti-gentrification strategies for a broad swath of the city east of 82nd Avenue.


People “downtown” — meaning City Hall — are saying there’s a lot of “potential” for displacement in East Portland, but it’s happening already, says Lore Wintergreen, a city employee who serves as an advocate for the East Portland Action Plan.

Portland boasts a lot of expertise in planning, Wintergreen says, in another reference to her colleagues at City Hall, “so we say please apply it.”

In recent months, she says, there’s been a migration of the Bhutanese immigrant community out of East Portland, on to Salem and other communities.

“That’s where people can find them housing,” Wintergreen says. “They cannot find them housing even in Gresham any more.”

Activists and community leaders who are united around creation and implementation of the East Portland Action Plan have been studying anti-gentrification strategies for the past year. Now they’ll gather at noon Monday, Dec. 14 at IRCO, 10301 N.E. Glisan St., to discuss the next steps in the effort.

A city-financed study of gentrification, released in 2013, predicted that neighborhoods south of Powell Boulevard and due east of 82nd Avenue were next in line to see gentrification pressure, among other Portland neighborhoods. As the Portland Tribune reported in August 2013, there had already been a spate of small homes knocked down in Lents, blocks from the city’s first Walmart store. They were being replaced by two-story homes snapped up by Chinese immigrants anxious to locate near the bustling pan-Asian Jade District centered on 82nd Avenue.

Recent Census data shows East Portland, which had been experiencing an influx of African-Americans displaced by gentrification of inner North and Northeast Portland, has actually “gotten whiter” since the economy started booming, Wintergreen says.

An anti-gentrification coalition lobbied to get the Planning and Sustainability Commission to include a passel of anti-gentrification policies in the revised city comprehensive land use plan. That plan is now being considered by the Portland City Council.

“The tipping point is now,” Wintergreen says. “We can still prevent a lot of displacement here.”

On Monday, there will be testimony from people displaced from their housing in East Portland.

Then East Portland leaders will roll out their anti-gentrification strategies.

Those include:

• Provisions that require “living wages,” such as in city contracting

• Provisions that require local hiring for construction and other development projects.

• Community Benefits Agreements, which require investments in the area when big projects are being approved.

• Just-cause eviction rules, which bar residential displacements for no reason.

• Homeownership assistance and retention programs.

• Acquisition of derelict multifamily housing and rehabilitation for use as affordable rental units.

• A no-net-loss policy for affordable housing.

• Requiring an anti-displacement impact analysis when big projects are approved.

• Rent stabilization policies for residential and commercial tenants.

• Inclusionary zoning policies, which require housing developers to build a mix of units for different income levels.

• Enforce Community Reinvestment Act requirements, which specify that banks and hospitals must dedicate resources to communities within three to five miles.

For more information

• East Portland anti-gentrification strategies: eastportlandactionplan.org/sites/default/files/2015.12.07%20EPAP%20Involuntary%20Displacement%20Prevention%20Recommendations%20for%20East%20Portland.pdf

• The 2013 city anti-gentrification study: www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/454027

• Tribune coverage of gentrification in Lents: portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/158551-next-wave-swamps-east-side

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