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In their headlong search for modernity through mobility, American urbanites made a decision to destroy the living environments of nineteenth-century neighborhoods by converting their gathering places into traffic jams, their playgrounds into motorways, and their shopping places into elongated parking lots. These paving decisions effectively made obsolete many of urban America’s older neighborhoods.
— Mcshane, C. (1979). Transforming the Use of Urban Space – A Look at the Revolution in Street Pavements, 1880-1924. Journal of Urban History, 5(3), 279-307. (p.300)
Why are there so little black people in Portland?

Bleeding Albina: A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940-2000
by Karen Gibson, PSU, 2007. [PDF]

my summary of the 20pg academic article:

  • Oregon was a Klan state. very prejudiced, white.
  • WWII got black people out to Portland to work at shipyards (also SF, Oakland, LA, San Diego).
  • after the war, Portland didn’t build housing or create other jobs for blacks, so they were pretty much stranded.
  • the wartime temporary housing got flooded, so blacks moved/crowded into the Albina district (North Portland)
  • there was a time when middle-class blacks could afford home ownership, but it wasn’t legal
  • bankers/realtors/discriminatory lending practices prevented blacks from owning homes, or getting loans to rehabilitate their homes. scam loaning companies also swindled lots of people. (ex. families thought they bought the house, then later they wanted to sell it and move, only to find out the contract never gave them ownership)
  • redlining didn’t allow blacks to move elsewhere. white flight.
  • construction of the Emanuel Hospital, the Memorial Stadium, and the freeways destroyed hundreds of homes and displaced residents. worse: plans to construct a VA hospital, razed a lot of homes, but federal funding dried up and it was never constructed. all that was left was vacant lands and unfulfilled promise of jobs.
  • crack epidemic (LA gangs came up to sell at higher prices) and bad economy. housing in worse condition. last part of the “devalorization” cycle.
  • media (Oregonian) did a series on the predatory lending practices in Albina. state attorney general investigated the scam loan companies. 
  • the City of Portland moved ownership of the vacant properties to nonprofits. the PDC (portland development commission) was really nice to white people and gave them loans and grants to move in. but the younger white people didn’t have a good attitude; they didn’t want to become a part of the existing residents.
  • realtors marketed Alberta Street, a black business corridor, as the “Alberta Arts District”. white businesses replace black businesses. gentrification.


also: Why Aren’t There More Black People in Oregon? portlandoccupier, 28.11.12.

Gentrification transforming face of Oakland.
"The housing market conditions are completely out of control, with no real accountability to the people who are being displaced," said Robbie Clark of Causa Justa. “These stark rent increases, people being forced to move far away and commute longer — these are not signs of healthy communities.
The Causa Justa report emphasized that government and the public need to do more to keep low-income people in their homes so they can enjoy the benefits of gentrification without being displaced. Stricter rent control and anti-foreclosure laws, more affordable housing and greater public input in planning decisions would help, the report said.
"It’s true, I’m beginning to see white people in (deep East Oakland). … The only reason it hasn’t happened sooner is because we have six shootings a day around here," she said. "The question is not whether this change is good or bad. It’s how do we find a balance, and how do we start the conversation?”
read more:  sfgate, 09.04.14.
» Covering Their Tracks: The Central Subway Project Buries Millions in a Deep Dark Place

Excel should never, ever be used for an accounting or project-controls system.

Aggrieved, would-be Muni passengers are familiar with the agency’s ability to transcend the bounds of time and space. Buses and trains’ estimated arrival times leap forward and backward — or drop, altogether, off the face of the earth.

Muni can do the same thing with money.

"I would like to successfully support the Central Subway Project, however, the reporting accuracy or timeliness is not likely to improve with the status quo," LaVonda Atkinson wrote to the project’s federal overseer in February. "What I’ve [witnessed] is unprofessional, unethical and inaccurate. I cannot remain silent any longer."

For cost engineers, discovering millions expended on unbudgeted items is the equivalent of finding passengers on the airplane sans tickets or boarding passes. It’s a sign that something is gravely and fundamentally wrong.

But Atkinson was already convinced of that. These orphan line-items, she says, are the predictable detritus of reverse-engineered, “William Tell budgeting” and the shunting of cost overruns from one phase into the next. They are a vision of what’s to come.

read more: sfweekly, 02.04.14.

» Reasons Why San Francisco Is the Worst Place Ever

vice, 07.04.14.

i think that was the best part of that post.

even vice still manages to upset folks. Oakland as an “industrial wasteland”? chill the f out, dudes. it’s vice. and you should be welcoming any negative perceptions of oakland, as that serves to hopefully keep more people from moving to our city.

» How the City Affects Your Psyche: Best #Cityreads of the Week

Can Free College Save American Cities? 

"Kalamazoo’s spirits—much like its population—had been in precipitous decline. From 1970 to 2007, the city’s population shrank 20 percent to just over 70,000. The sad, slow leak of manufacturing jobs had caused a sad, slow leak of the middle class. Poverty was nearly twice the national average. Within some pockets of city, the problems were startling: in Northside, a predominantly black neighborhood, the poverty rate was 37 percent—worse than even basket-case Detroit, two hours to the east …

The idea was one part radical social engineering: How better to change the life trajectory of the city’s struggling urban poor than to send them to college? As economists have long known, the biggest single predictor of financial success in modern America is a college degree… Increasingly, those with no higher education are the ones left behind. But the Kalamazoo Promise wasn’t just a big idea about the new economics of education; the hope wasn’t just to send more kids to college – but to turn around an entire town.”

read more: Politico Magazine, 04.2014.

Laura Solís 
Title / Occupation: Outreach Coordinator for WE Bike NYC Location: Bronx, NYC Bike(s): Ernie Jr. III a Fuji Feather; The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) a Specialized Vita Sport; and Iron Pony a foldable Peugeot as old as some grandmas
What tips would you share with someone looking to start biking?Ride like a hippo. When I ride I think of myself as a hippo, large, domineering and graceful. If I need to take a lane, I do. If you honk at me, I say thank you, it means they see me. That might not be the message they were trying to send, but I’ll take it. 
How has your style changed since you started biking? The only thing I have not been successful in wearing on a bike is a pencil skirt. Aside from that my style hasn’t really changed. I wear whatever is comfortable and I think looks good. My hair on the other hand, used to be styled much larger than it is now. The day I find an afro-accommodating helmet, will be a great day. 
read the interview: herbikestyle, 24.10.13.


Downtown Los Angeles, 70 years ago: This is the intersection of Broadway and 7th as it looked in 1943.
Photo: UCLA Library / Los Angeles Times

PSA: L.A. Times Past is our Tumblr for vintage photography, news coverage, advertising and more from The Times’ 132-year history (also on Twitter @latimespast).
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