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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Portland Racism: The Tour!

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 4:03 PM

I spent last Friday morning on a charter bus stuffed with city employees, housing advocates and staffers from a diverse array of well-meaning organizations, rolling around the city on a tour of Portland discrimination. The tour is featured in the news section this week, but I wanted to post some photos of the highlights here. What's really striking is how these places of dramatic, terrible encounters in our city's history have become such mundane locations.

Take this Rite Aid and condo complex on the corner of NW 10th and Hoyt, for example. In the winter of 1944, Mayor Earl Riley decided the Gypsy communities who had recently come to town were no good for the city. He forced them to live in the 10th and Hoyt building before getting federal funds from FDR's administration to ship them all to Texas. No joke.

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The Golden West single-occupancy residence hotel just around the corner is now owned by Central City Concern and used for transitioning people off the street. But from the early 1900s until it closed in 1931, it was the only hotel black people could stay at in Portland. Yikes.

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And then, of course, this 100% completely normal apartment complex just off of Laurelhurst Park in SE Portland was where skinheads beat Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw to death one night in 1988. When I stopped by, it was a sunny day and the cyclists and pear blossoms were out.

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