Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Environmental Studies and University Honors
Urban renewal -- Oregon -- Portland, Neighborhoods -- Oregon -- Portland, Gentrification -- Oregon -- Portland, Gentrification, Place attachment, Refugees -- Oregon -- Social conditions, Racism
This research highlights the impact that rising rent prices have on refugees' sense of place in Portland. The majority of Oregon’s refugee population arrive in Portland, the fourth fastest gentrifying city in the United States. Refugees receive eight months of financial assistance upon arrival, an average of $339 per month. Employees from the Immigrant Refugee Community Organization were interviewed including refugees, an asylee, and immigrants from Bhutan, Myanmar/Burma, Chad, Iraq, and Somalia. One employee from Catholic Charities was interviewed. Positive perceptions include natural amenities, that it is considered safe and small, the progressive political climate, and community presence & support. They all said they would stay as long as they could afford to, indicating they had developed an attachment to place. Negative themes found include gentrification, racism, and displacement. Many of the refugees moved to rural areas that are conservative, leaving them isolated from their communities, distanced from resources and potentially more likely to experience racism against under the current conservative anti-immigration administration. Policy considerations generated by interviewees and organizations that are currently working to address these issues were discussed. Further work should be done to determine how refugees can be supported. The recommendations resulting from this study are increased resources towards refugee housing stability and affordability at the municipal, regional and federal level.
Dressel, Serena, "“Living Day by Day” Refugees of Color Navigate Gentrification and Racism in Portland, Oregon: A Sense of Place" (2018). University Honors Theses. Paper 541.