Southeast Portland is the latest neighborhood to feel the effects of this real estate phenomenon.

By Colin Stevens and Sam Linder

The gentrification of Portland is nothing new to the press and the effects are endless.

I mean have you even tried walking down Division lately? Having to cross the street every two blocks due to construction and people waiting in hour-plus lines sure makes it hard to get anywhere.

Gentrification in Portland has very deep roots in the city’s history, going back more than a century. Due to the growth of Northwest Portland, Portland’s small black population moved to Northeast Portland, creating their own residential area that became known as Albina. However, white Portlanders who lived on the Eastside began redlining by creating laws that restricted people of color to living only in Albina. As more African Americans came to work in the shipyards during World War II, Portland’s black population increased tenfold. The majority lived in Vanport, a community north of Portland along I-5, but a flood in 1948 displaced many African Americans who had nowhere to go due to redlining.

African Americans who were displaced moved into apartments in Albina that were abandoned by white families moving to the suburbs, but this was only a short-term solution. In 1956, the city of Portland found 60 percent of the homes in Albina to be substandard, so its residents made a plan to request funding from the city to go towards improving their neighborhood. However, the city began gentrifying Albina, lowering its Black population to 28 percent by the end. Wealthy landlords were encouraged to evict their Black tenants and sell the property to developers. Albina, once a majority African American community, was transformed into the neighborhood of Boise-Eliot, filled with coffee shops, restaurants, and bike lanes.

In the ‘90s and early 2000s the inner Southeast neighborhood of Woodstock was often regarded as a rough-around-the-edges area where land was cheap and you could buy a house for less than the normal price. Usually regarded as a no-go zone for new development, Woodstock has recently felt hard the next waves of gentrification. Now, much like the rest of Portland, Woodstock is transforming into an overpriced, sterile and bland hipster haven of primarily rich white people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau the number of minorities residing in Woodstock declined from 700 to 500 people and the average annual income raised from $48,000 to $61,000. The average home value of Woodstock also rose half a percent to $414,000 and is predicted to raise another two percent in 2018, according to Zillow.

Woodstock isn’t the only neighborhood in Southeast to be affected by gentrification. In fact every neighborhood in the Cleveland High School boundary saw the average home value jump with some areas jumping as much as five percent in the last year alone. With the increasing amount of “luxury” development and the rising overall prices of homes, many minorities and economically disadvantaged students are being pushed farther outside of the boundaries of Cleveland and Portland itself. The rising house prices and progressing development are having a negative impact on the environment of our school. Of Cleveland’s enrollment, only 32 percent are minorities and 27 percent are considered to be economically disadvantaged.

In the local school environment, gentrification has an impact. Gentrification is a barrier to diversity in our schools. Everybody should be able to afford to live in neighborhoods with the schools that satisfy a student’s needs. History has shown that diversified schools help integration of social classes in the real world. History has also shown in Portland the negative impacts of gentrification on our communities of color and schools.