One Planning & Sustainability Commission (PSC) member understands fully how RIP will displace vulnerable Portlanders.
On February 12, Commissioner Andre Baugh tried to explain this to the other PSC members. In measured, calm but deeply-felt words, he told it like it is – see PSC hearing video:
“My issue is we’re displacing minorities and they can’t come back in, because there is no – even though you are creating housing through RIP, that housing is not affordable to them because of their income levels. You’re talking about Hispanics, African-Americans, they’re not at 80% [of median family income], the city just did a report in 2017 about African-Americans having the lowest income levels. So when you displace them, how do they come back – they can’t come back.
You’re asking me, as an African-American, to approve displacing African-Americans who can’t come back.
I get redlining. Redlining was, I couldn’t live in this section of town and I could live across the tracks. Now I can’t even live in Portland anymore. I just can’t approve that. I just can’t, in all conscience, say that people in the city of color are not going to be able to live in certain parts of the city and are going to be displaced and they can’t even come back to the city. There’s just not a market for them.”
Using “urban redevelopment” to displace lower income households and communities of color isn’t new. As another PSC member mentions later in the video, this was done in inner North and East Portland, and it is at risk of happening all over again. Now, “urban redevelopment” has been renamed “residential infill”.