This is the mantra encouraged by a Seattle based research group studying solutions to increase livability in their city. Portlanders find ourselves in a similar situation; we need more housing options. 40% of people in the Portland-Hillsboro-Vancouver MSA rent their homes. At the same time, according to a study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the average rent for 1-bedroom apartments is no longer affordable for people earning the mean renter wage. For families that make less than half of the median family income (Portland’s median family income is around $83,000 per year), there is an affordable housing shortage. In Multnomah County, the estimated wait time for housing assistance is 14.5 years. If you were to get on the waitlist when your child is a baby, you’d be waiting for housing assistance until your child was a high schooler.
The healing: In August of 2017, Legacy Health joined the City of Portland and Prosper Portland (formerly Portland Development Commission) in announcing a collaborative effort to develop a vacant 1.7-acre block on the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center property. This land once housed the Hill Block building and was considered the heart of the Albina business community where many African Americans resided in nearby homes until urban renewal came in the 1960s. Though vacant for nearly 50 years, this plot of land still evokes painful memories for many African Americans who still talk about the unfair destruction and loss of their community.