De-Gentrifying Portland

Letf: Baqi Coles, Right: Diamond Ferguson
De-Gentrifying Portland was a film workshop that provided instruction and resources for predominately African-American youth to explore urban development and gentrification through filmmaking. The program was led by Program Director Sharita Towne, in collaboration with Know Your City, Portland African American Leadership Forum, Self Enhancement, Inc and Portland Community Media.

During the month of July, 2014, about a dozen students, many whose families were directly affected by the first waves of displacement of Black and African-American families in Portland, took part in the first phase. Through the class, students engaged in a number of activities; family interviews, workshops on systems of oppression, adultism, youth empowerment, intersectionality of social movements, and links between African-American history and urban renewal in Portland. Guest speakers included Dr. Lisa Bates, a PSU professor in Urban Studies, community members like Lakeitha Elliott, Tony Hopson Sr., Irene Schwoeffermann, Ed Washington, Avel Gordly, and artists Mic Crenshaw, Gemma Rose Turnbull, and Intisar Abioto. This resulted in the creation of a zine, “I Am Your Neighbor,” which included text and photos by the students.

This resulted in the production of a zine, “I AM YOUR NEIGHBOR” by Ciara Niece, Kahedja Burley, Rose M. Hall, Mon’et Franks, Dezhae Moreland, Robert White, Asia Savage, Deshawn Spencer, Sabrin Sanders and Leroy Lott. View the “I AM YOUR NEIGHBOR” zine here. 

In the second phase, Portland Community Media taught students video skills. Participants also learned radio skills at KBOO Community Radio, and gained print and publishing experience at Independent Publishing Resource Center. This resulted in three student videos and a collaborative T-shirt project.

The program culminated in two public screenings: one at Rosewood Community Initiative and the other at the Sons of Haiti Masonic Lodge. Both screenings showcased the zine, the student films, several films made by local artists and educators, the collaborative T-shirt project, local spoken word and hip hop, and a panel and community dialogue after the screenings.

“What Happened?” by Savanna Carter, Samuel Graves and Llondyn Elliott

“Evolution of Portland” by Jonny Sanders, Baqi Coles, and Diamond Ferguson

“clarity” by Hayley Bauske and Donovan Smith

De-Gentrifying Portland was made possible by the generous support of Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods and Regional Arts & Culture Council.