Anti-Displacement Coalition improves Portland’s Comprehensive Plan

Pam Phan

Since January, 1000 Friends of Oregon has been working with a growing number of community based organizations, housing, public health, and equity advocates to ask ‘how will Portland develop in the next 20 years? Who gets to call Portland home in the future?’ This ad hoc coalition advocates to include anti-displacement tools that will help make Portland neighborhoods stable, especially for those, as Portland grows, living in the city and who bear the brunt of the loss of affordable choices. 

On Tuesday, June 23, 2015 more than 40 coalition supporters turned out to send a message to City officials that displacement and lack of affordability are unacceptable in Portland.  

Board President Nolan Lienhart testified in front of Planning and Sustainability Commissioners to say, “As the Urban Growth Report suggests, there are many challenges ahead. One of the greatest challenges will be to respond to growing inequality in our city and in the Metro region. Portland's world-renowned livability is the result of intentional plans and decisions that reflect shared values. The Portland Plan established equity as a core value, and we are hopeful that this plan will translate that value into policy, with intentional measures to ensure that those communities who feel the greatest pressures of rising costs can also see the benefits from great walkable streets, good schools, easily accessible neighborhood services, and reasonable commutes to family wage jobs.”

Supporters gathering to attend the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission hearing. Photo: Pam Phan.

Raising affordability and displacement issues in Oregon’s largest city and metro region is rooted in the coalition’s 11 point policy platform. 1000 Friends will continue to work together with coalition partners to win stronger community voice in the development of Portland’s neighborhoods, especially to preserve and enhance affordability. 

Participants lined the board room with banners expressing their desire to “End displacement now!”  Commissioners commented during the proceeding that they appreciated the attention that the coalition has called to these issues, and they look forward to collaborating with community groups to find solutions that can respond to the needs of residents into the future.

End Displacement Now banner in the PSC board room. Photo: Pam Phan

"I want to see Portland remain affordable, accessible, and hospitable for diverse populations. I'm worried that the huge changes I've seen in Oregon in my lifetime are compromising what makes this state special. I got involved with 1000 Friends because of these concerns, and especially after recently reading Tom McCall’s biography. It seems counter to the personality of the city, to adopt policies that make a lot of people unwelcome here,” said Jenni Denekas a 1000 Friends of Oregon Volunteer and coalition supporter. 1000 Friends is committed to helping make the connection of Oregon’s ground-breaking land use system for future generations. Many of coalition supporters had never been to a planning commission hearing before until this event, and left feeling that they had a hand in helping pass strong policies that support affordability and equity.