First Advisor

Federico Perez

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Social Science and University Honors


Social Science


African Americans -- Housing -- Oregon -- Portland, African Americans -- Oregon -- Portland -- Social conditions, Urban renewal -- Oregon -- Portland, Gentrification -- Oregon -- Portland, Displacement (Psychology), Housing policy -- Oregon -- Portland




As displacement begins to be a concerned result of urban renewal and gentrification, city officials are implementing policies to reverse its devastating effects. Specifically, the City of Portland (2015) recently implemented their $96 million policy "Right to Return" to address issues of mass displacement of long-term black residents through a point-based preference policy for affordable housing. While this policy is commendable and perhaps the first step in correcting a city’s heinous history riddled in racism, it is not enough as it stands. Through an interdisciplinary lens I argue that RTR falls short in five major ways: it ignores and dismisses Portland's racist history by omitting narratives of trauma caused by urban renewal, it disregards the need of "sense of community" for those who would dwell within newly constructed affordable units, it acts as a neoliberal policy that supports "policy-based evidence," it doesn’t recognize nor emphasize the critical role of race, and the funding is strictly being allocated to the construction of affordable housing only and not to providing new or specialized resources for previously black displaced long-term residents. This approach is supported by rhetorical analyses from the Verdell Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford's Family Collection located in Portland State University Library of Special Collections & University Archives in addition to adopting concepts from Community Psychologists. Finally, this thesis provides recommendations for RTR to create actual change and support long-term black residents.


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