First Advisor

Catherine McNeur

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors




Gentrification -- Oregon -- Portland, Albina (Portland, Or.) -- History, African Americans -- Oregon -- Portland -- History, Urban renewal -- Oregon -- Portland, City planning -- Oregon -- Portland




The historically African-American Albina District of Portland, Oregon holds a long track record of neighborhood neglect, devaluation and displacement of poor residents by private real estate companies and city government. Devaluation in the area was the direct result of discriminatory real estate policies and mid-20th Century urban renewal projects. Starting in the 1990s, the city passed revitalization measures to increase private investment in the neighborhood and few historians have tackled studies of recent sustainability-oriented gentrification resulting from revitalization. Though contemporary works in urban studies at Portland State University have looked at revitalization and subsequent ecological gentrification in the area, the subject of gentrification in Albina has not been adequately analyzed by historians. Ecological gentrification can be defined as an environmental planning agenda that leads to the displacement or exclusion of the most economically vulnerable human populations while espousing an environmental ethic.

Using archival documents, public histories, social histories, newspaper articles, census data and works in urban studies, first this study analyzes residential segregation, displacement and disinvestment over a 50-year period (1940-1990). This 50-year period provides adequate context for examining sustainability-oriented real estate projects, rising rents, as well as changing racial and socioeconomic demographics over a 25-year period (1990-2015). Since the Vanport Flood in 1948, post-war urban renewal projects, segregationist redlining policies, faulty mortgage lenders and city-initiated revitalization efforts have formed the conditions for Albina’s recent wave of ecological gentrification. The issue here is not environmentalism itself, but rather the way in which environmentalism can be used to justify social and economic inequalities brought upon by new development.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier