Oregonian Series Reignites Discussion: What You Can Do

June 8, 2012 · by Travis Phillips · Uncategorized

A recent series of articles in The Oregonian titled “Locked Out” has reignited discussion about public investment (and disinvestment) in fair and affordable housing, concentrations of poverty and communities of color, as well as issues of gentrification and displacement.

PCRI applauds efforts to increase awareness and discussion about these issues. Safe, decent and affordable housing can have a profound impact on the health and well-being of the home’s residents and for the community as a whole. Furthermore, culturally competent services provided by PCRI and other community development organizations give residents invaluable tools and support to build stability and self-sufficiency so that these affordable homes can be available in the future to other families who need a hand up.

Unfortunately, while public policy and investment have spurred improvements in many now-desirable Portland-area neighborhoods, many former residents of these neighborhoods have been priced out. The “Locked Out” series serves as evidence that policies and investments that have benefited some residents have not done enough to preserve diverse neighborhoods, prevent institutionalized inequality and displacement, or ensure all families have equal access to quality schools, efficient public transportation or affordable housing near their places of work and community support.

For 20 years, PCRI has invested and reinvested in our community, providing a unique variety of single-family homes, small multi-plexes and community apartments in 30 of Portland’s 95 neighborhoods. We are proud of the benefits our homes provide: PCRI residents are assured a stable and affordable home without fear of displacement by rising rents or changes in ownership; the community also benefits by avoiding concentrations of poverty and ensuring stability of those who work and attend school in the area.

The challenges of displacement, diversity and inclusion identified in the Oregonian’s series are significant, but they can be overcome with thoughtful, proactive, and inclusive policies and investments. You can help by making your voice heard and being educated on the issues.

Here’s what you can do:

1) Make your voice heard: call or write your representatives to let them know where fair and affordable housing is needed.
Portland’s Mayor and City Commissioners represent all Portland residents. Nick Fish is Portland’s housing commissioner.
—To find out who your representative is in the Oregon State Legislature, check here.
—East Portland is represented in the United States Congress by Earl Blumenauer. Contact him here. If you don’t know who your representative is, here.

2) Learn more:

  1. The Oregonian’s four-part report is available on OregonLive.
  2. To learn more about gentrification and housing in North/Northeast Portland, read The Skanners special report.
  3. For more in-depth knowledge, please see the Coalition of Communities of Color.
  4. You can learn about the history of community disinvestment in Albina in an article by Karen Gibson, PCRIs Board President.

3) Please consider supporting PCRI and our commitment to preserve diverse Portland neighborhoods as well as fulfill the Fair Housing Act.

For over 20 years PCRI has reinvested in Portland’s neighborhoods, preserved their diversity and provided tools to help low-income Portland families achieve stability and self-sufficiency.  You can contribute to PCRI here.

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