Discussing a New Kind of Urban Renewal
Cully’s Plan – Preservation, Not Displacement
As has been discussed in previous articles, urban renewal districts have been created to spur development and revitalization, but they have also become the harbingers of gentrification and displacement for communities of color and people with low incomes. One neighborhood in Portland, however, is attempting to do things differently.
The Cully Neighborhood in Portland is one of the city’s most culturally and ethnically diverse communities. But increasing housing prices in Portland are driving out the communities who have historically lived there. Over the past decade, Cully has lost 50 percent of its Black population and, today, the average median income in the neighborhood is 24 percent lower compared to the rest of Portland. The Cully Neighborhood hopes to use urban renewal to stop the gentrification and displacement and invest in keeping the community accessible for lower-income individuals and families.
But how is urban renewal expected to achieve that? By doing things a little bit differently. First, the Cully Plan was initiated and developed by the community members themselves, instead of public officials and professional developers. Second, the plan is explicit that its primary goal is to “prevent the displacement of vulnerable people and preserve and create new opportunities for affordable housing and economic prosperity” and it specifically names the communities it is intended to benefit. This is distinct from typical urban renewal plans, which purposely stay broad to have the most flexibility. Third, the plan prioritizes investments, with initial investments going toward stabilizing current residents and businesses prior to initiating development. And fourth, the urban renewal spending will be guided by stakeholders from within the Cully Neighborhood itself.
The Cully Plan was voted into place this month, so it has yet to get off the ground. But what Cully is attempting to achieve is helping guide our goals here in Talent as we discuss urban renewal for our community.
Talent’s Plan – Rebuilding our Future
Like the Cully Neighborhood, the City of Talent hopes to use urban renewal for preservation, not displacement – i.e. recovering after the Almeda Fire. To do that, we plan on taking a page out of Cully’s book by stating clearly what we hope to achieve, prioritizing which projects should occur first, and providing the oversight and support to make sure the plan is not having unintended impacts on our community or our regional partners’ services. This December, City Council will discuss these changes, as well as look at a fresh financial analysis, at their regularly scheduled council meetings.
What You Can Do
You can join the discussions! At our regular City Council meetings on December 7th and December 21st at 6:45pm in Town Hall, City Council will be discussing the urban renewal plan. If they are confident in the proposed plan by the end of December, the City Council will vote to send it out for public review. That will kick off a 45-day period in January and February where you and our regional partners will have the chance to provide feedback directly to the City Council, who can make changes before referring it to the Talent voter on the May ballot. For more information on upcoming meetings and what’s ahead, please visit www.cityoftalent.org, or send me an email at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading!