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Some Ideas on Resisting Gentrification

i googled "gentrification" and "resistance" and this is an excerpt from one interesting article.
from:  http://www.ainfos.ca/02/feb/ainfos00639.html

"Specifically, what can white punks, bohemians,
and activists do to fight the gentrification of their
neighborhoods? There is not one formula; here
are some ideas.

*Look around and talk to people about
neighborhood change and anti-displacement
work already being done. Do oral history
projects of the neighborhood.

*Expose development plans on the part of
corporations and various branches of
government. Snake your way into the 'public'
meetings held by the inner workings of the
government bureaucracy. Oppose corporate
development scams with a range of tactics.

*Support the foundation of neighborhood
associations like the Dudley Street
Neighborhood Initiative.

*Help fight individual evictions.

*Help with direct neighborhood improvement
projects like kids projects, gardens, traffic
slow-down devices (and do other things to fight
the yuppies who want to leach off this good

they can NOT MOVE IN to the Neighborhood 24.Oct.2006 21:39


White renters are the first wave of gentrification. Usually single mothers, bohemian types, artists ... they just provide white faces for the next wave of white HOMEBUYERS to feel comfortable. The arts culture and punk culture coming in are part of the unfolding of the problem... so just do not help gentrify the neighborhood in general. Try dragging down the property value in an area that has already gentrified. It is much more self respecting.

. 25.Oct.2006 00:19


That makes me feel badly for being white. Am I supposed to just move back to Europe where my ancestors are from then? I don't like yuppies either, but man, this is sounding mean.

Don't Move Here! 25.Oct.2006 00:24

Halo Cheechaco

Just stay in Cali or where ever you are and make those places better. Anarchists and artists are the vanguard of gentrification!

. 25.Oct.2006 00:43


But I like it here. Can't we live together and make the yuppies stay away? So what that I'm white. That doesn't make me racist or a yuppie. I can scare rich people too! Anarchists + low-income neighborhoods with people of color = love and harmony together. Pleeeeeease?

. 25.Oct.2006 01:27


Plus, during the process of white people moving to black people neighborhoods, they are more likely to talk to and mate with one another, which will be good because then humans will all eventually be mixed with genes from different regional variations from around the world.

"talk and mate with each other" 25.Oct.2006 10:48

you need some education

Wow, your not only a gentrifier, you are a full blown colonist. Your well meaning whiteness is just "I deserve to feel comfortable every where... I should have access to everything (and I mean everything).. " ignorant garbage. I don't want to here about how excluded you feel either. You clearly do not understand waht gentrification is.. You are worried that YOU will be displaced by YUPPIES, and can't be responsible for whomever you just displaced.

. 25.Oct.2006 10:59


Well soooorr-eee. Don't the homeowners benefit too because they are able to sell their houses for a whole bunch of money?

I think we're past the point of colonozation when all of the colors own private property. That's not really fair to call me that. Plus, colonizers included the British, French, Spanish, Portugese, etc. None of my ancestors were colonizers. They were slaughtered by the British too actually.

I think that everyone deserves to feel comfortable and have access to basic things. What's wrong with that? We should all feel comfortable together. I think maybe you're a bigot. I understand what gentrification is. Maybe you should be scolding the people who rent the houses out in the first place instead of the renters. You know, get to the pimps, not the prostitutes. I will be taking advantage of low rent and working my minimum wage job in the mean time. :)

Benefit 25.Oct.2006 12:27


Inner-city people will also finally be able to afford that house in the suburbs they always dreamed about!

all the colors own private property 25.Oct.2006 12:30

yeah you really get it...

WOW, you think money and property are evenly dispersed among the races? The folks forced out of the neighborhood don't own the neighborhood. It is owned by landlords. The folks that do own there houses get forced out by other means... higher taxes for one. Was it you that had some ideas on how to combat gentrification? Now what were they again?

Oh, yeah you are going to move in and join the neighborhood association, and the block watch, and then get some speed bumbs on your street. Cry racism if anyone resents you.

Did you call me a bigot? prejudiced against the white boy? that is what the white boys always say when they don't want to let others have equal rights to resources, or when they do not want to hear that yes they are actually part of the problem. Sounds like in a very basic way that you are already fine with how the resources are dispersed. You should not even have to be subjected to hearing a strong voice challenging you (it is even a female voice at that). Am I sexist too??

. 25.Oct.2006 12:51


Actually I'm a half-mexican female, but it's interesting the way you've created a stereotype dependant on my perspectives. You've also neglected to give me any solid argument or reasoning to change my mind, and have instead made lame sarcastic comments that don't have any reason to them. Everyone in existence is a part of the "problem," but I would never want to point fingers of blame anyone. I think that's called racism. That is what you are doing.

I am surprised 25.Oct.2006 13:27

and yes that is stereotyping

Yes, I did jump to some conclusions. Might I say in a milder tone that in general punks moving in to and then trying to fight gentrification for the most part is not progress. If they are from the neighborhood that is a whole other ball game, in Portland however folks of all kind of alternative lifestyles have played a role in gentrificating north and northeast Portland, including a largly white gay community ( I am queer.. I critqueing my own people).

I come to this subject from a highly personel place.

I am the child of a low income white woman. I was moved from one gentrifying neighborhood to the next as a kid as a renter, as part of the first wave. Even if i look punk or even really freaky weird, my experience is that my presense just made the new white homeowners comfortable. They smile and wave because they see another one (another white person). All other social divisions fall away because the most important thing is the whiteness. Same with the cops. Suddenly, I am no target at all. I think my presence has even made the cops feel safer. Punks and artists create a certain culture (alberta...mississipi...) which also attracts more white homebuyers. The fact that my mother had a black husband did not make our presence more progressive. Being part of an interracial family did not neccisarily mean social progress (let me be clear that I am speaking about my own family- as it is it sounds like you are from an interacial family too).

I can't be a gentrifier anymore, and I am not. But I have watch alot of do-good people try and fight gentrification while being the problem and I do not want people of any alternative lifestyle to fool themselves, thus my consternation.

So at the very least understand that I have a self critique and that i am not just attacking others here. I just really do care about gentrification, and want it to stop.

. 25.Oct.2006 13:49


I'm also not comfortable with the way in which your tone shifted just because of my ethnicity. I have white skin and don't think it is progressive to yell at and be sarcastic to anyone, only to change one's tone to compassion and understanding when finding out that the person has a "mixed" ethnic heritage. I think that interracial children are the only way humans will get along with one another, because most of them are OBSESSED with skin color, and probably won't relate until they are all the same color, which is slightly sad.

Don't blame the punks and anarchists, no matter what their color. They don't hurt anybody, and gentrification is inevitable if you're just going to point fingers at white-skinned people with low incomes.

well if it makes you feel more comfortable 25.Oct.2006 14:12

I am not feeling compasionate and simpathetic

I did jump to some conclusion about who would be making this kind of argument.

I am not blaming poor white folks for gentrification (don't know where you got that).

It does not sound like very well informed about gentrification. I was not being sarcastic, but I am judgemental and I offer no apologies for that. I see no reason that we need to go out of our way to make sure everyone is comfortable when we discuss this. Making everyone comfortable is the excuse used to not make any progress, and to not really getting down to saying what needs to be said. You are not off the hook, I am not impressed with your interpretation of these politics or this conversation.

. 25.Oct.2006 17:13


I am disturbed by the way your tone shifted when becoming informed of my "race," and find that only a racist would do such a thing.

I think gentrification is wonderful. Maybe I am well-informed...

--poor people live in cheap rented homes

--former suburban white kids who are sick of their bourgeousie parents decide to communally live together in an area where rent is cheap

-- bourgeousie families who wish to leave the suburbs and feel nostalgic about the urban life decide to move into bohemian neighborhoods and spruce them up, causing the property value to raise

-- black people move to suburbs, and because of affirmative action, are now able to attend college

-- black people become bourgeousie too

-- bohemian white kids either grow up to become yuppies, or start an array of wonderful and inspiring collectives, activist groups and co-ops, in order to combat bourgeousie behavior

-- Angry half-black woman with mental issues unrelated to "race" decides to rant over the internet instead of actually help anything at all

Yeah, I think I got it.

ok, that was just confounding 25.Oct.2006 17:50

but I am curious

what did you mean by that exactly?

when black people are displaced 25.Oct.2006 17:59

you don't think they end up in the suburbs do you?

ok, i think I see where things fell apart. You like gentrification..ok......

we really are not on the same team at all. This thread was to discuss how anarchist punk kids could help combat gentrification..

but you are pro gentification?

hmmm.. I can see why things fell apart..

and am I the half black girl on the internet with mental issues? ouchhhhhh! now that is not going to win over the readership. I am not going to throw the racism accusation back at you.. but umm others might not be so kind.

Are we going to let this happen again? 25.Oct.2006 19:07


Are we going to let this happen again? Is indymedia a commons where people have an equal place? Or is it some disguise to hide behind and promote racial divisions and distrust? Could this be more blatant? Would this stay up if volksfront were guiding the debate? How about the posse comiteaus? If the ends are the same then what of the means? Is indymedia better than this? Shouldn't this site be used to promote dignity and respect for ourselves and eachother?

I'm confused by these abstractions. What is a white neighborhood? Is it a neighborhood where whites are 40%, blacks are 20%, and the rest are hispanic or other? What exactly are the racial demographics of the ereas you're arguing about? Maybee if you're 20% looking at 40% that might seem like too many.

Is a white neighborhood where whites are 60% or more? Does that mean that white people get to go around and say, this is a "white neighborhood" so you will act this way? I don't think so. Maybee the cops do. But I don't.
If my neighbor told me "hey buddy, we're white lets kick the """""" out." I'd kick his ass. I'd like to think the rest of the block would root me on.

Are there some cencus figures that show a 100% or even 60% black neighborhood in portland?

If so, maybee I'd think about this differently. I'm a socially conscious white man, and I do my damndist to challenge institutional racism. I'd like to learn how to do this better. Half the time I read articles about gentrification of indymedia there's a lot of white people pretending to be somthing else. So a lot of these abstractions get really abstract. I hope somebody will respond with some dignity, and clarity.

If I shop at minority owned businesess, and the erea becomes popular because all my friends like to eat at La Sereneta, and Dala's on williams does that make me a gentrifier? If the business expands because of my support and attracts higher end businesess am I a gentrifier?

Is the solution to magicly (or forcefully) extract all the white people from a neighborhood so that it's no longer a "white neighborhood." Does that mean we can't shop there and support businesses there as well? If minority owned businesses make a neighborhood cool, then are they in some part responsible for driving up prices, and pushing out poorer people? Am I confusing poor with black? Or poor with hispanic?

If this is about community power, then maybee we should take a harder look at exactly what community means to us. To me it means a diverse set of people in an erea that share a common sense of place, and resources. Is it weird that I don't think white block? Black?

If we're talking about class, and keeping a neighborhood affordible I'd say there's two centers to problems here.

Housing is one of them. Businesses are another.

Neighbor hood associations could be given license to start urban land trusts. Some sick capitalists are talking about putting land trusts under the authority of business alliances. I think thats about as smart as letting satan share the covers with your kids. Ahem.. Land trusts have been shown to cap housing inflation. I see little reason why they shoudn't be democraticly controlled by local communities.

Ok now the other problem is commercial estate, or business land. I feel strongly that there needs to be community enterprise land trusts set up under community associations, and NOT THE PDC. I feel that communities and neighborhood associations should have the power to democraticly determine business principles, and business land prices in thier neighborhoods. Neighborhoods can be a whole lot more democratic, and representitive than nations. Imagine if some punk ass bush lived next door. Oh. I wish.

Imagine if the local democraticly controlled neighbor hood association owned the land under the businesses in your erea. Imagine if businesses moving into the erea had to accept a workers bill of rights, or a minority business incentive plan.

Is this crazy?

I mean non profits all over this town own some property, and have agreements with owners/renters that cap real estate prices. Why cant democratic bodies do the same, and reflect the values of thier community while they're at it?

stay sane,

Some Reflections on Resisting Gentrification 25.Oct.2006 22:31


I have lived in the Lents neighborhood for about a decade. My working class family moved to this neighborhood when I was 14 years old. I'm proud of the fact that Lents has been a working class residential area throughout Portland's history. I can tell you where Woody Guthrie stayed for a time on Woodstock, and where the old tent city was before the cops came and tore it apart to make room for development. Over the years Lents has become the most diverse neighborhood in Portland, a distinction I am very proud of.

A little over a year or so ago I learned that Lents was considered a sprawl area, and had been chosen to be an urban renewal area. A new light rail line was going to be added along I-205, store fronts were to be "improved" so as to attract new owners, and plans for condos started popping out of thin air. Since then the fight has been long and hard. Here are some of the lessons I have learned while dealing with the very complex issue of gentrification.

-The root of gentrification
While it's easy to just point fingers at a whole group of people and claim they are the problem it does little to fight off gentrification. Over the past year I have seen clearly how the policies of the PDC are the root cause of gentrification. The PDC chooses to invest in property so the value of said neighborhood will increase, but opts not to invest in the people of a community hoping instead that more well off individuals will take the place of those displaced. Instead of investing in the children of a community (through healthcare, school, community programs) the PDC will put tax payer money into building a playground that those children can not afford the ticket price to. This is US imperialism on a local scale. This is the war at home. It must be fought and stopped.

In my experiance racism shows itself in "renewal areas" as it did during Katrina. The policies the PDC puts in place perpetuate institutional racism. One does not have to look farther than the families of those most affected by gentrification to see that racism is alive and kicking in Amerika. More must be done by community activists to reach out to minorities and aid them in their efforts to keep their neighborhoods. As a white activist I look to the leadership of minorities in my neighborhood. Yet, none are organizing anything at this time. Perhaps affirmative action policies in anti-gentrification organizations is the answer.

-The PDC 30% of funds for "Affordable Housing"
The Portland city council recently required the PDC to allocate 30% of funds tword affordable housing. I think affordable housing is great. But replacing low income housing with affordable housing which is out the price range for low income folks does not solve gentrification. We can not allow compromises such as this. We must unite and fight for urban renewal funds to goto those that need it instead of property owners. If we invest wisely in our communities the property value will go up as the people create a higher standered of living for themselves.


the point of posting this article... 26.Oct.2006 18:52

author of the article

The reason I (re)posted this short article was to stimulate ideas about what we can do after all the finger-pointing and pontificating is done....but I don't really know very much.

Some ideas:
maybe instituting "RENT CONTROL" in neighborhoods that in which "condo"ization is imminent, which means that the renters in the area would have some guarantee that they're rent wouldn't go through the roof. Now, I realize that this would probably only be a delaying tactic as landlords would probably sell-out to developers if they thought they were missing out on a feeding-fest. Still, it could help, maybe, and might be worth a try. How would we do this? Maybe by putting pressure on city officials at public meetings? I don't know, but it has been done before. Maybe someone can addd some helpful suggestions and info.

another idea is to help people with difficult landlords by making legal information available (like TENANT'S RIGHTS stuff). I have seen this in other areas and have met a person here in Portland who has stopped paying rent to his landleech and is taking the bloodsucker to small claims court. People like him an d friendly attorneys could be good resources for people who's landlords are trying to get rid of them to make way for higher-paying cashcows.

one more idea is to as community or neighborhood support those who face EVICTION because of gentrification. Maybe this could happen with an outreach person/persons who try to contact those who face eviction (put up signs with contact info, word of mouth, other ideas?), and keep a line of communication with a friendly attorney who can offer help in this area.

Do any of these ideas sound good to anyone? Is anyone interested? Does anyone else have any ideas? ...and no more finger-pointing and fussy-pants please.

ok ok ok 26.Oct.2006 19:26

author of the article

ok, i just finished reading all the bakc and forth in the previous comments - sorry for having skipped through them before., but I am interested in advancing the conversation to what we CAN do where we are at. That being said, I am now willing to backtrack a bit and address some of the "concerns" expressed above. By the way, I as not any of those commenting back and forth. Everything I have posted is authored by "author of the article."

In response to "DON'T MOVE THERE": I actually think that crashing the rich folks neighborhoods instead of taking advantage of the path to gentrification laid out before us in the form of "cheap rent" is an excellent idea! It also promises to be difficult and probably uncomfortable as rent is probably high or not an option in rich-people areas, and rich people probably like to call the cops a lot. But I slept in a relatively wealthy people's neighborhood last night in a park. It was beautiful...I wish I could post a picture. But anyhow, groups of us camping out in rich folks' yards and being a pain in the ass could be lots of fun!! Or a bunch of people all cramming into one rental in yuppieville and making it a food-not-bombs house or homeless support center or neighborhood center or info shop or hub of resistance or whatever could also be lots of fun! WHO'S with me? ...but it could also be a little unstable, might need a support base elsewhere, just something to think about.

But also: people are already there. Mass exodus of punks and freaks from areas under the grip of gentrification will not stop the process. But the fact is we are already there. So what now? Or if we move, others will be in the same situation - what is our message to them? I'm not saying I have answers - I'm fishing for ideas. I can aknowledge, however, the role that "white faces" plays in the gentrification process.

As for the comment "STAY in california or wherever you are": sad fact is gentrification is happening everywhere, not just here. Yes, even in california.

Thank you "Howl" for great comment, pointing out that the ROOT of the problem is poverty, and that our alleged "representatives" in city office more accurately represent the interests of wealthy developers and other economic elites. If we can address the poverty in our neighborhoods then maybe can make positive changes that could never come from the top down or from policy. As for "affordable housing" grants...I just read an article in one of the newspapers saying that affordable housing grant money was beign used to build luxurious townhouses with some rentals above for "working people" of some sort - it described the intended renters as bieng "bankers, first-year cops, and other people not quite making it." One bedroom apartments would be going for something like $600-$700, and I am probably underestimating so as not to seem to alarmist. So much for "affordable housing."

ok I am out of time.

wow, this is stupid 18.May.2007 16:25


People have the right to live where ever they want. During the 50's and 60's black people fought hard to be allowed into white neighborhoods. Now it is illegal to keep anyone out. If a white person wants to move into a neighborhood full of black/brown/yellow/vegans or whatever they have that right. If they want to buy a house from a black/brown/yellow/vegan they have that right. If the black/brown/yellow/vegan want to sell a house, they have that right too.

Where is the us vs. them cut-off? Should all people not of a certain race be kept out of a neighborhood? Hmmm, that smacks of segregation (also now illegal thanks to the efforts of Dr. King and others). How about people who make more than some certain amount of money, a sort of reverse classism? Also illegal. And what is the cut off? $500 a year income? $500 a month income? $500 a day income?

Not that I don't see everyone's point, first its boho artists, then coffee shops, then galleries, then Pottery Barn. But I'm sorry to say it, but the boho artists are the shock troops of gentrification. Want to keep a neighborhood free of white yuppies? Don't allow white artists to move in.

You are the seed of your own destruction.

educate yourself 18.May.2007 16:39



sorry to rain on your parade, but maybe its time to look again