Portland Gentrification Documentary

Construction this Spring along North Williams Avenue at Mason, where three new multifamily building are in various phases of development. Construction this Spring along North Williams Avenue at Mason, where three new multifamily building are in various phases of development.

An affordable housing bill in the Oregon legislature might not have much immediate impact in Portland’s gentrifying neighborhoods, according to one housing expert.

Even if it passed tomorrow, a new bill that would allow the city to create affordable housing units in new multi-family developments would have little impact in fast-gentrifying communities. That’s because it the bill doesn’t impact rental housing developments, according to Jessica Larson, director of the Welcome Home Coalition.

LINK: Monday April 27- Inclusionary Zoning Workshop in SE Portland

House Bill 2564 would allow cities in Oregon to create “inclusionary zoning” laws. Cities could get affordable housing built in new developments by waiving certain fees, permits and building restrictions in exchange for the inclusion of below-market units.

View original post 405 more words

house.demolish.cook.3.4.15A once legendary party house was demolished Wednesday to make way for the latest apartment complex on the booming  North Vancouver/Williams Corridor.

I saw the demolition while shooting the Portland gentrification documentary I am producing.

The little blue house at 100 North Cook Street hosted the very first house party I went to after I arrived in Portland in 1995. I distinctly remember holding a plastic cup of beer in my hand and looking down from the porch at the vacant expanse of lots and abandoned buildings that was the neighborhood.

Almost 20 years later, the house is being pulled down as part of a multi-building demolition project. Soon, the Cook Street Lofts will rise on the block, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce.

The five-story, 105-unit apartment building will have on-grade parking and ground floor retail, according to the blog NextPortland. Read More

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.14.07 PMWork has begun on a follow-up to the 2002 documentary on gentrification and affordable housing in the black neighborhoods of Portland, Ore., Northeast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream, which was released at a time when gentrification was only a marginal issue. Since then, Portland has propelled itself in the national imagination as a place that attracts hordes of creative young people. It’s also become the whitest major city in the country, according to The Oregonian.

WATCH: Original Documentary Available on Amazon Streaming

Portland’s African American community, once centered in North and Northeast Portland, has been dispersed to the fringes of the metro area as new, wealthier whites have moved into the area. Nikki Williams, an African American woman and focus of the original documentary, has thrown up her hands. She is selling her home in North Portland and moving to Texas in hopes of connecting with black community there. Read More

Bud Clark Commons: $30 Million public housing construction project awarded Walsh Construction in 2008. Photo credit: Home Forward

Bud Clark Commons: $30 Million public housing construction project awarded Walsh Construction in 2008. Photo credit: Home Forward

A local construction firm has been awarded large Portland public housing contracts 81 percent of the time that it bids on them.

A GoLocalPDX investigation has found that Portland-based Walsh Construction and its affiliates have been awarded 9 of the 11 public housing construction contracts, valued at $5 million or more, that they have competed for since 2003, according to data released from public records.

Home Forward, formerly known as The Housing Authority of Portland, has awarded Walsh and affiliates over $240 million from these contracts, according to data released to GoLocalPDX.  Two of Walsh’s nine contracts had no other bidders.  Another two went to a partnership Walsh created with another company, called O’Neil/Walsh Community Builders.

“Walsh is shrewd,” said James Posey, owner of Work Horse Construction Metro Inc. “It’s about who you know in this game.“

Read the rest GoLocalPDX

Jose Tandy and workers claim Cornerstone Janitorial hired undocumented immigrants and then pocketed their wages.

Jose Tandy and workers claim Cornerstone Janitorial hired undocumented immigrants and then pocketed their wages.

A local janitorial company that has worked on publicly-funded projects has been shortchanging its workers and pocketing their wages, according to the claims of whistleblowers.

Wage theft complaints against Cornerstone Janitorial Service of Hillsboro have been filed in Oregon and Washington and whistleblowers allege that the company hires undocumented immigrants and takes taxpayer-funded wages that rightfully belong to workers.

In response, Cornerstone tells GoLocalPDX it only hires legal residents and pays the proper wages.

But an investigation by GoLocalPDX has found that in some cases workers are only paid $12 an hour on jobs that should have been compensated at an hourly rate of $36.

“This is discrimination and racism,” Jose Tandy told GoLocalPDX in Spanish. “I’m being robbed.”

Read the rest GoLocalPDX

Photo credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões on Flickr. Creative Commons licence. Image cropped.

Photo credit: Pedro Ribeiro Simões on Flickr. Creative Commons licence. Image cropped.

While at GoLocalPDX, I encouraged the team to do BuzzFeed-esque posts about “Why this is great…” and “What that is bad..” etc.  The idea, of course, was to take some of BuzzFeed’s ability to tap into the gestalt of a given demographic and condense it into a listicle that really resonated with people.  Because it was GoLocalPDX, we did these listicles in slideshow form. The schtick was to tap into Portland’s personality, both it’s traditional working-class-Pacific-Northwest personality and its new-chic-mecca-for-young-people-and-their-trivial-pursuits personality.   When these post worked, they really drove pageviews.  I think the most successful ones were those we came up with as a team and that really touched a nerve in terms of the community’s collective psyche.

Here is one of my favorites:

10 Reasons it Stinks to be a Straight Single Woman in Portland

Portand: You’re a wonderful city, full of hipsterish, handsome men. You’ve got a great nightlife, a fantastic cultural offering, and a million awesome places for a date.

But finding a boyfriend in this town is harder than finding a brunch venue without a line.

Sure, if you’re a single woman and happy to remain so, this city is probably as good as it gets. But if you’re hoping to become un-single at any future stage, you’ve got a problem in PDX.

Below are our 10 reasons why it stinks to be a single straight woman in Portland.

 

Parking_Meter_360_249_90The result of an obscure traffic court hearing this year has raised questions about whether or not Portland parking tickets conform to state law.

Some legal experts say it’s a good question.

In 2013, over 260,000 parking citations were issued in Portland, generating $18 million for enforcement agencies and the state general fund, according to the Multnomah County court administrator.

But are they valid?

In January Michael Selvaggio took a parking ticket to trial in Multnomah County Circuit Court after he claimed his ticket failed to display the time and place of his court appearance, according to court documents.

Read the rest of my story at GoLocalPDX