Keep Central Albina Home in Black Ownership

PLEASE CONTRIBUTE TO THIS JUST CAUSE:
 
We need to raise $60,000 by May 1, 2022 toward purchasing a home in Central Albina. Byrd, a co-founder of the Emanuel Displaced Persons Association 2 (EDPA2), has an opportunity to buy the Central Albina house that has significant historical relevance to Portland’s Black community. Byrd’s family’s home and business were demolished 50 years ago by the Emanuel Hospital expansion. If Byrd can purchase this home, she will use it to anchor the community service aspect of EDPA2 and help build momentum toward winning adequate restitution from the City of Portland, Emanuel Hospital and Prosper Portland (formerly Portland Development Commission).
 
Central Albina doesn’t need another high-rise, high-rent condo, much like the families who owned their homes in Central Albina don’t need micro high-rent “affordable” apartments. This purchase will help set an example of restitution and community support to redress the serial displacement of Black people from Central Albina. Please read the background information that follows.
 
How much longer do members of EDPA2 have to wait? Will you contribute to this just and long overdue cause?
You can also contribute directly through
CashApp: $WheresPearlPdx or
Venmo: @WheresPearlPdx
 
RESTITUTION UNFULFILLED
 
The story of Central Albina didn’t end in the 1970s when Emanuel Hospital targeted the majority Black neighborhood, its homes and businesses, to accommodate expansion which it never completed. The story continues, despite a local restitution policy and Federal Restitution Agreement to replace every demolished home, the affected families are still waiting, still here 50 years later!
 
Other states, including Illinois, Georgia and California, are addressing the many layers of destruction caused by gentrification. Last year, the National Association of Realtors issued an apology for redlining and racial fomentation in the real estate sector. Yet, despite the City of Portland's “liberal” reputation and progressivism, restitution remains unfulfilled.
 
The story continues as Portland's Black population further declines in N/NE Portland. Problems with Gentrification and Mortgage Lending persist. Contemporary urban renewal policies like the Interstate Urban Renewal Area are used to ensure the exodus of Black residents away from the city’s core. The City of Portland, under the leadership of Mayor Ted Wheeler, could have directly addressed this standing injustice but didn’t. Kimberly Branam, the head of Prosper Portland, failed to include any families whose homes and businesses were destroyed in the “community” process to determine what should happen to the remaining vacant lots. The intentional city-led efforts to destroy Black neighborhoods in Portland debased economic, political, social and cultural succession while eroding the significance and presence of Black residents
 
There are many examples of targeted displacement of Black Portlanders, including the construction of the Lloyd Center Mall, The Memorial Coliseum, Unthank Park, The Minnesota (I-5) Freeway, and most recently, the creation of the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area. Arguably, the most vast and egregious example of forced displacement was for the expansion of Emanuel Hospital that began during the 1960s and 1970s and remains unfinished. The Emanuel Hospital expansion is unique in several ways; most significantly, it's the only known act of urban renewal with a local and Federal Restitution Agreement.
 
Our Story
 
The Emanuel Displaced Persons Association 2, EDPA2 is a community-based organization of survivors and descendants of the Emanuel Hospital expansion. It’s the second iteration of the original EDPA founded in 1970 to unsuccessfully combat the demolition of homes and businesses in Central Albina. EDPA2's primary mission is to achieve enforcement of the local and Federal Restitution Agreement.
 
EDPA2 met with Mayor Wheeler for three years to discuss restitution for impacted families. Instead of working with EDPA2, the only established group of descendants and survivors, Mayor Wheeler convened a “working group” made up of people with unusually close economic, personal and professional ties to the City of Portland, Prosper Portland and/or Emanuel Hospital. Mayor Wheeler signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the so-called “working group” that barred any real participation from members of EDPA2 or the greater community. It was NOT a community-led effort.
 
In addition to advocacy, EDPA2 provides lectures, teaches and studies the specific history of the Emanuel Hospital expansion and what happened to the affected families. Recently, EDPA2 partnered with Portland State University to produce a groundbreaking report, "Reclamation Toward the Futurity of Central Albina: Dreamworld Urbanism." The report will be available to the public on Monday, January 31, 2022. Since the start of the pandemic, EDPA2 has delivered food to families and elder citizens and has provided free transportation for those in need. In addition, EDPA2 organized a hugely successful Fan and Air Conditioner drive in response to the heatwave that killed over 100 people and has provided tutoring for school-aged children. EDPA2 continues to respond to urgent community needs.
 
A Timeline
 
August 1, 2017, City of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler joined Executive Director of Prosper Portland Kimberly Branam, and former President of Emanuel Hospital Dr. George Brown, for a press conference. They acknowledged the racist policies responsible for the demolition and ultimate destruction of Central Albina's once-thriving and self-sufficient Black community.
 
August 9, 2017, at a regularly scheduled Prosper Portland meeting, just eight days after the August 1, 2017 press conference, members of EDPA2 and other community members stopped the vote to include the corner at N. Williams and Russell in the Interstate Urban Renewal Area.
 
December 6, 2019 EDPA2 met with Mayor Wheeler and members of the “working group” to present a robust plan for the property on Russell and Williams. EDPA2’s plan included ownership and actual economic participation for the injured families. It included local schools and provided a pathway for entrepreneurship for Black youth. EDPA2’s plan was not considered, and its merits were ignored.
 
March 11, 2020, Prosper Portland’s Board of Commissioners voted to add the 1.7-acre demolished and undeveloped lot at N. Williams and Russell in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area, ICURA. The inclusion of the property into the ICURA generates 67 million dollars for the development of the vacant lot at N. Williams and Russell; none of the 67 million dollars will go directly to the injured families. If it weren’t for the injustice to EDPA2 families, this wouldn’t be an issue. Yet, once again, the families are not being justly compensated. Prosper Portland’s website states that Emanuel Hospital will be “returning to the community a 1.7-acre vacant block at Russell Street and North Williams Avenue.” The meaning of “returning to the community” is not clarified. How will they return 1.7 acres to an entire group of people?. In addition to the 1.7 acres, the land receiving the $67 million also consists of an extra 2.04 acres of land owned by Emanuel Hospital. That means they will also be able to use the money to develop land that they are not “returning to the community.”
 
December 16, 2020, Portland City Commissioners held a hearing to hear citizen testimony regarding the inclusion of the property at Russell and Williams into the Interstate Urban Renewal Area. The greater Portland community showed UP and testified in favor of EDPA2 and its fight for just restitution for the impacted families of the Emanuel Hospital expansion. You can watch the proceedings here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iHgUGSkLNE; begin at 56:14.
 
January 6, 2021 City of Portland Commissioners voted unanimously to approve inclusion of the property located at Williams and Russell into the Interstate Urban Renewal Corridor with NO consideration for the families, some of whom have their names listed in the Emanuel Hospital Atrium.
 
As it currently stands, the hand-picked “project working group” is now a nonprofit charged with the stewardship and development of what happens to the property located at Williams and Russell. The “project working group” membership is sparse; members don’t attend scheduled meetings; it’s disorganized with no clear direction; and it lacks essential elements that guide such processes.
 
EDPA2 survivors want to make sure this money and land is given to survivors and their descendants, not to Legacy Emanuel Hospital or the current Albina community members who were not impacted by the displacement. Descendants of those affected by the Emanuel Expansion argue that before the city is able to profit off of the land at Russell and Williams, the former members of that community should lead the process and receive restitution. It’s an ongoing fight!
 
WE NEED YOUR HELP
 
You can help EDPA2 gain traction by contributing to this effort for Byrd to purchase this home in Central Albina. It will be a hub of community support. It will help anchor descendants and survivors of this atrocity to their historic neighborhood. It will serve as an example of what is possible when the community steps in to do what is right.
 
Again, you can contribute to this GoFundMe or contribute directly through
CashApp: $WheresPearlPdx or
Venmo: @WheresPearlPdx

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Organizer

Dana Buhl 
Organizer
Portland, OR