Portland's Anti-Displacement and Place-Based Mitigation Efforts

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

= "advocating “place-specific mitigation” and “offsetting equity investments” in vulnerable neighborhoods".


Benjamin Schneider:

"Portland was no exception to this trend, according to Bates. In 2012, “the city did adopt this Portland Strategic Plan that said equity a lot,” she says. In many respects, the plan represented a major step forward from the status quo, articulating the importance of equity, with promises like: “The benefits of growth and change are equitably shared across our communities. No one community is overly burdened by the region’s growth.” The problem, according to local activists like the group Anti Displacement PDX (ADPDX), was a dearth of policies or enforcement mechanisms for achieving these lofty goals.

Fortunately for these activists, they had another chance to influence the direction of Portland’s urban planning just a couple of years later with the city’s Comprehensive Plan. “We take land use planning really seriously here,” Bates says.

Looking at the initial drafts of the Comprehensive Plan, Pamela Phan, organizing director of Portland’s Community Alliance of Tenants and one of the leaders of ADPDX, realized “there was no serious recognition of displacement.” To make their case for addressing displacement, this group of “urban nerds who also are community organizers” took an insider-outsider approach to their activism, mobilizing low-income communities of color to get involved in the planning process and presenting city officials with sophisticated urban planning data.

“We realized there was a significant void in community-based power in any conversation about land use,” Phan says. “The only thing that would change the conversation was if the communities got to speak for themselves.”

Their efforts paid off: The Comprehensive Plan, released in 2016, explicitly requires a displacement analysis for major developments or zoning changes. Portland’s latest planning documents, Better Housing by Design and the Residential Infill Project, included displacement analyses, according to Eden Dabbs, a communications specialist for Portland’s planning department. The department is also reflecting on its past wrongdoings through a document called A History of Racist Planning in Portland.

The advocacy surrounding the Comprehensive Plan produced greater momentum on other equity issues, including a new inclusionary zoning ordinance in Portland that requires housing developers to reserve between 10 and 20 percent of units at below market rates for low-income residents. At the state level, Oregon recently passed a first-of-its-kind statewide rent cap — which was soon copied by California — and another law that “upzones” virtually all residential land in major cities to allow at least four housing units per lot. Both of these laws were supported by ADPDX, providing a contrast to Oregon’s southern neighbor, where anti-displacement groups have been wary of the state’s upzoning efforts.

“I think ADPDX has been really sophisticated in their analysis,” Bates says. “They’re not out here saying upzoning causes displacement, shut it all down.” Instead, they’re advocating “place-specific mitigation” and “offsetting equity investments” in vulnerable neighborhoods. " (https://www.shareable.net/bringing-equity-to-the-forefront-of-urban-planning/)