Does Portland have an Appetite for Restitution?

Restitution – noun – the restoration of something lost or stolen to its proper owner.

Across the country, movements are underway to give land back to descendants of people who had land taken from them. Urban renewal, freeway construction, and other uses of eminent domain removed people from their property at below-market rates across the country. Locally, the City of Portland, Emanuel Hospital, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and others had a hand in a number of these actions in and around our neighborhood. Several large top-down projects cut pieces out of a thriving majority-black neighborhood. There were many more minor land grabs, as well, which are not well documented, about which I have only learned bits and pieces from my older neighbors. Every time the City proposes a new project in the area, this old history is brought up because the impacted residents don’t want the City to forget and because until we make amends, we cannot move forward.

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