06-25-2018  4:30 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Teen uses sign language to help blind and deaf man on flight

BOSTON (AP) — A teenager is being credited with coming to the aid of a blind and deaf man during a flight from Boston to Portland, Oregon.Clara Daly, of Calabasas, California, says she and her mother were traveling last week when the flight attendants asked if anyone knew American Sign...

18-year-old driver dies after colliding with log truck

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Police say an 18-year-old girl has died after colliding with a log truck on Highway 101 near Beaver.Law enforcement officials say Mikayla Michelle Howard was driving a 2003 Saab when it crossed into the other lane for an unknown reason on Friday morning....

New Mexico residents to testify on atomic bomb fallout

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Residents of a New Mexico Hispanic village near the site of the world's first atomic bomb test say they were long ignored about the lingering health effects and were expected to share their stories with Congress.The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium plans to...

Small plane hits car after missing runway near Snohomish

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) — A small plane hit a car after overshooting the runway at an airfield near Snohomish.The Seattle Times reports that three people, including a child, were in a single-engine plane when it was approaching the Harvey Air Field on Saturday.Lt. Rick Hawkins of the Snohomish...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Photographer David Goldblatt, who chronicled apartheid, dies

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — David Goldblatt, a South African photographer who for decades chronicled the harsh fallout of white minority rule in his country, has died at the age of 87.The Johannesburg-based Goodman Gallery says he died "peacefully" at his home in the city early Monday.The gallery...

Anita Baker, H.E.R., Meek Mill shine at BET Awards

The 2018 BET Awards barely handed out any trophies with big stars like Cardi B, Drake and Kendrick Lamar absent, but the show included superior performances by rising singer H.E.R., rapper Meek Mill and gospel artist Yolanda Adams, who paid tribute to Anita Baker and nearly brought her to...

Ben & Jerry's factory display honors civil rights campaign

WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) — Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's has unveiled a new display at its Vermont factory dedicated to civil rights.MyChamplainValley.com reports the display revealed at the Waterbury factory Friday honors Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1968 Poor People's Campaign.The display was...

ENTERTAINMENT

The Latest: Prosecutors cancel Stormy Daniels meeting

The Latest on the investigation into the business interests of Trump's longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen (all times local):8:30 p.m.Stormy Daniels' lawyer says the porn actress' meeting with federal prosecutors in New York who are investigating President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer has...

Complete list of winners at Sunday night's 2018 BET Awards

The complete list of winners of the 2018 BET Awards, presented Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles:— Video of the year: Drake— Best male R&B/pop artist: Bruno Mars— Best female R&B/pop Artist: Beyonce— Best male hip hop artist: Kendrick Lamar—...

US prosecutors cancel Stormy Daniels meeting in Cohen probe

Porn actress Stormy Daniels was scheduled to meet with federal prosecutors in New York on Monday as part of their investigation into President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney, but the meeting was abruptly cancelled late Sunday after it was reported by news organizations, her attorney...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Anita Baker, H.E.R., Meek Mill shine at BET Awards

The 2018 BET Awards barely handed out any trophies with big stars like Cardi B, Drake and Kendrick Lamar absent,...

US prosecutors cancel Stormy Daniels meeting in Cohen probe

Porn actress Stormy Daniels was scheduled to meet with federal prosecutors in New York on Monday as part of their...

College sports doctors under new scrutiny amid scandals

Allegations of sexual abuse carried out over decades by team physicians at Michigan State and Ohio State are...

Australia and Vanuatu to negotiate security treaty

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia said Monday that it would negotiate a security treaty with Vanuatu,...

The Latest: Spain: Over 1,000 rescued at sea in last 3 days

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on the flow of migrants into Europe (all times local):12:10 p.m.Spanish...

Thai officials believe 12 boys missing in cave are alive

MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) — Multiple attempts to locate 12 boys and their soccer coach missing in a flooded...

shot of demolition site
By Christen McCurdy | The Skanner News

Nikki Williams said getting out of Portland was the best thing she could have done.

Williams relocated to Mesquite, Texas earlier this year after growing up in Northeast Portland and raising her daughter there. She was the subject of a 2002 documentary, Northeast Passage, about the push to gentrify her neighborhood. Filmmakers Cornelius Swart and Spencer Wolf just successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign for a followup movie, Priced Out, focusing on the aftermath in Williams’ life and in the surrounding community.

At the end of the first film, Williams is shown on screen saying, “As far as gentrification, let it come. Let it come.” The movie chronicles her efforts to rid her neighborhood of drugs and crime, and depcts her calling police on her neighbors and speaking against the construction of an affordable housing project she felt would bring in more crime. At the time, Williams, who lived in a home built by Habitat for Humanity, felt if more neighbors were homeowners, they would feel more invested in the community, take better care of their properties and work together to keep the neighborhood safe.

“Unfortunately, I think people did take my message from the first documentary and twist my words,” William said. “I never said, ‘Kick out all the Black folks, get rid of all the poor people.' I said make this a liveable community, period.”

Williams said since participating in the filming of the first movie, she’s continued her education and learned more about the social and historic factors that contribute to the makeup of neighborhoods.

“What North Portland was allowed to become should have never happened in the first place. It was allowed to become the hood, it was allowed to become a slum,” Williams said. Reinvesting in the neighborhood was not, in and of itself, a bad thing, she added, but officials and developers didn’t take an inclusive approach. “What shouldn’t have happened was the total exclusion of people of color and poor people.”

In the trailer for Priced Out, she describes her discomfort walking down Mississippi Avenue. It’s not just that the street’s businesses and patrons are now overwhelmingly white, she said, but that they seem uncomfortable with people of color, parting the sidewalk as she passes.

“Portland has not felt like home to me, I can honestly say since probably the early to mid 90s,” Williams told The Skanner. “In the last two to 10 years, it’s really felt foreign and alien to me.”

In Texas, she’s closer to family and has discovered a hub of Black people who used to live in Portland but have returned to Texas or other parts of the south – which makes the area feel like Portland used to feel to her. A longtime nonprofit worker, she’s currently caring for her grandson and working to start a culturally specific group for children who are part of the foster care system and the juvenile justice system.

She contacted Swart about a followup to the original movie because of the increased spotlight on racial politics in Oregon in particular, and because she sees what’s happening in Portland as indicative of a nationwide trend, with housing prices rising in major cities nationwide.

Swart told The Skanner he started working on the documentary in 1997, while living in Eugene. Spencer Wolf, a former classmate of Swart's from New York University, was volunteering at the Sabin Community Development Corporation and became a firsthand witness to changes underway in Northeast Portland.

“We both from the East Coast, and we both know how this stuff goes down,” Swart told The Skanner. “There’s just a tradition of neighborhoods turning over.” Cities like New York City and San Francisco have been dealing with a limited supply and high demand for housing for a long time, but other large cities are starting to see similar changes, with poor communities and communities of color being most dramatically affected by housing shortages, he said.

Swart and Wolf spent a year researching the neighborhood’s issues before making contact with Williams, who they decided to use as the anchor to tell the story.

Williams told The Skanner the relative size of communities of color in the Pacific Northwest is one of the reasons gentrification has cut so deeply.

“I think the reason gentrification in Portland hurt so bad is the Black community is just teeny tiny,” Williams said. “Here, I see so many people of color, brown-skinned. I don’t just mean Black, I mean no-White or non-obviously White people.”

“Twenty years ago or so when the documentary was made, I was still hopeful. This isn’t always about race, but about income level,” Williams said. “But I can’t sit here and pretend race is not part of it. Historically, we do things based on, ‘This is going to benefit White people.’”

Part of her is still hopeful that once more people are aware of the effects of policies that enable gentrification and displacement, they will work to put a stop to it. Another part feels there’s too much money to be made from gentrification, and too many powerful people who will benefit.

“I still stand behind my stance that a community has to be healthy in order to thrive,” Williams said. “Portland and other cities need to have an honest discussion about what ‘healthy’ means. For me, healthy does not mean exclusive.”

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