Presentation Title

Whose land is our land? Race, place, and equity in western Multnomah County

Start Date

3-2-2020 1:40 PM

End Date

3-2-2020 1:50 PM

Abstract

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District has resolved to pursue diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as integral parts of our conservation mission. We face the challenge of doing so in a territory that has inherited roughly two centuries of legal, institutional, and economic factors that have inequitably distributed land and natural resources. By synthesizing existing historical scholarship in a literature review focused on western Multnomah County, we identified how barriers to property ownership for Native Americans, Asian Americans, Black Oregonians and other people of color were created and reinforced through the 19th and 20th centuries. These systemic barriers have consistently made this region’s land and natural resources available to white communities while withholding them from communities of color, a pattern of inequity which persists today; the color of one’s skin remains a strong predictor of whether one owns land in our district and of the environmental resources and hazards one shares a neighborhood with. In examining our own policies and activities, we found that the District’s work has reflected and reproduced these patterns of racial segregation. By focusing our efforts on privately owned larger properties and the people who own them, we have been investing in and led by predominantly white communities while missing opportunities, needs, and voices present in historically diverse neighborhoods. These findings will inform the District’s strategy as we build DEI into our next long-range business plan, and we hope that they may foster critical inquiries around race, land, and equity in our broader professional community.

Subjects

Economics, Environmental policy, Environmental social sciences

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/33840

Rights

© Copyright the author(s)

IN COPYRIGHT:
http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
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).

DISCLAIMER:
The purpose of this statement is to help the public understand how this Item may be used. When there is a (non-standard) License or contract that governs re-use of the associated Item, this statement only summarizes the effects of some of its terms. It is not a License, and should not be used to license your Work. To license your own Work, use a License offered at https://creativecommons.org/

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 2nd, 1:40 PM Mar 2nd, 1:50 PM

Whose land is our land? Race, place, and equity in western Multnomah County

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District has resolved to pursue diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as integral parts of our conservation mission. We face the challenge of doing so in a territory that has inherited roughly two centuries of legal, institutional, and economic factors that have inequitably distributed land and natural resources. By synthesizing existing historical scholarship in a literature review focused on western Multnomah County, we identified how barriers to property ownership for Native Americans, Asian Americans, Black Oregonians and other people of color were created and reinforced through the 19th and 20th centuries. These systemic barriers have consistently made this region’s land and natural resources available to white communities while withholding them from communities of color, a pattern of inequity which persists today; the color of one’s skin remains a strong predictor of whether one owns land in our district and of the environmental resources and hazards one shares a neighborhood with. In examining our own policies and activities, we found that the District’s work has reflected and reproduced these patterns of racial segregation. By focusing our efforts on privately owned larger properties and the people who own them, we have been investing in and led by predominantly white communities while missing opportunities, needs, and voices present in historically diverse neighborhoods. These findings will inform the District’s strategy as we build DEI into our next long-range business plan, and we hope that they may foster critical inquiries around race, land, and equity in our broader professional community.