Study: Portland fastest gentrifying city in U.S.

Mayor pledged $20 million for affordable housing

A new study revealed Portland is gentrifying faster than any other city in America. February 11, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
A new study revealed Portland is gentrifying faster than any other city in America. February 11, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A new study released by Governing Magazine revealed Portland is gentrifying faster than any other city in the country.

Once troubled neighborhoods are now thriving in Portland thanks to gentrification, but the study argues that change has come with a heavy cost.

“Change and growth is sort of what we do, and whether that’s good or bad is an individual opinion,” North Portland resident Emily Fong told KOIN 6 News.

Money, development and wealthier people moving into once downtrodden neighborhoods are pricing out those who have long lived there.

“I do want to say that gentrification is kind of a double-edged sword,” Victor Merced with Portland nonprofit Hacienda CDC said. “On the one hand you increase investments in neighborhoods, but on the other hand there are folks that have lived there, grown families, gone to school and they are being displaced.”

The president of Portland’s NAACP said the city is now for the rich — and those with low income are being forced east of 82nd Avenue.

After a development controversy occurred last year, the mayor and Portland Development Commission sent a letter admitting PDC policies contributed to the destructive impact of gentrification and displacement.

Some have taken issue with the study by Governing Magazine, arguing the way they computed results is flawed.

Regardless, the mayor has pledged $20 million for affordable housing in Portland, acknowledging a problem.

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