Reiko Hillyer, L&C assistant professor of history
Council Chamber, Templeton Campus Center
Pick up a Portland-area newspaper on any given day and you will find at least one story about the local housing crisis. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and the City Council declared a housing emergency for the city last fall, and they just extended it for another year. Low vacancy rates, high rent increases, no-cause evictions, the status of homeless shelters, controversial commercial development, and related issues dominate the news and are a major concern among residents. At this year’s symposium, we want to further interrogate these issues. Who has access to a physical home in Portland and who can afford that access? How have race and ethnicity affected housing policy and Portland’s communities throughout history? What does it mean to make a home in one of the whitest cities in America? Gentrification and urban development seem like buzzwords for Portland at this point, but it remains crucial to understand these processes and the ways in which people, specifically people of color in Portland, experience them. By looking at the historical context, contemporary public policy, and feet-on-the-ground activism, this panel aims to complicate the idea of “home,” understand how race and ethnicity affect access to housing, examine how people make community in these spaces, and amplify the work being done to combat an ever-growing crisis in this city many of us call home.