The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was intended to help break down the walls of segregation and poverty by protecting the fundamental right of anyone, regardless of color, to have the opportunity to live where they choose. Over the past 44 years, millions of taxpayer dollars have gone to advance that goal through ensuring affordable housing is part of every neighborhood. But a new report by the Oregonian that examined metropolitan area public housing records found that far from breaking down segregation and poverty, Portland and other local governments have reinforced it. The poor and people of color have been concentrated in the region’s poorest neighborhoods while desirable communities such as Inner Southeast Portland and Lake Oswego remain white and affluent.
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Jo Ann and Dave are joined by Brad Schmidt, the Oregonian reporter who pieced together this disturbing picture from public records that often required legal action to obtain. Portland State University Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning Karen Gibson will also join the conversation. Gibson is currently conducting a study of the political economy of neighborhood change in Portland’s historic black community, the Albina District. Join us as we examine how “progressive” Portland has failed so dismally and what needs to happen to create a truly fair housing environment in the region.
Jo Ann Hardesty is a former state legislator, former director of Oregon Action and past board president of Portland Community Media, as well as a long-time leader in the struggle for racial and economic justice. Dave Mazza is a journalist and former editor of The Portland Alliance who has covered and been involved in Portland’s civil rights, environmental, labor and peace movements for over 20 years.
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