Date

4-28-2020

Description

This analysis of Portland Housing Authority documents, Portland Development Commission Records, historical newspaper articles, and other archival sources unravels the historical origins of racial invisibility politics in Portland, Oregon. As this article reveals, racial dissonance is not a new phenomenon in Portland. Rather, a history of misdirection in the 1940's and class coding during the 1950's has created and perpetuated a divide between rhetoric and reality which continues to impact Portland politics to this day. This divide has subsequently allowed white Portland homeowners and Portland officials to implement racially discriminatory urban land use and housing policies in order to protect the interests of the middle class while simultaneously maintaining white Portlanders' progressive reputations. While the story of the development and perpetuation of racial invisibility politics is by no means unique to Portland, treating Portland as a case study of this larger phenomenon also provides a helpful roadmap to revealing the racial realities underlying national housing and land use rhetoric today.

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Apr 28th, 12:00 AM

Red Lines, Class Codes, Highways, and Hipsters: Invisibility Politics and "Racial Progressivism" in Portland, Oregon

This analysis of Portland Housing Authority documents, Portland Development Commission Records, historical newspaper articles, and other archival sources unravels the historical origins of racial invisibility politics in Portland, Oregon. As this article reveals, racial dissonance is not a new phenomenon in Portland. Rather, a history of misdirection in the 1940's and class coding during the 1950's has created and perpetuated a divide between rhetoric and reality which continues to impact Portland politics to this day. This divide has subsequently allowed white Portland homeowners and Portland officials to implement racially discriminatory urban land use and housing policies in order to protect the interests of the middle class while simultaneously maintaining white Portlanders' progressive reputations. While the story of the development and perpetuation of racial invisibility politics is by no means unique to Portland, treating Portland as a case study of this larger phenomenon also provides a helpful roadmap to revealing the racial realities underlying national housing and land use rhetoric today.