As a longtime Portlander, I've seen our city go from one of the most affordable cities on the west coast to one of the least. Many people of modest means have been pushed to the east or out of the city entirely.
I'm at the tipping point of being there myself.
The bursting mortgage bubble in 2007 and the explosion of rents has accelerated the problem over the past few years.
When I moved to Portland almost two decades ago, I found a remarkable city where people of various income levels seemed to live side-by-side, as one community.
Perhaps my memories of those days are overly rosy. There were people struggling then too, and there were wealth disparities in plenty of our neighborhoods then too. Certainly there was already much angst about newcomers and their impact on affordability.
I have no issues with Portland's new arrivals. They just want what we all want. They came here for the same things we all did. Who can blame them?
Actually, I take that back. In one respect I do begrudge them: They never knew the Portland I knew. They probably came from places where enclaves of wealth were common, where gated communities were assumed, as were geographic pockets of poverty. Maybe they think that's how every city always was and always will be.
Because they're new here, maybe they can't fully understand what Portland is losing. Perhaps they don't feel the same urgency I do to prevent it from happening.(more…)