PAALF is hosting another visioning meeting specifically for the site at NE MLK Jr Blvd & Aberta Street.
When asked: What does PAALF say to the stakeholders that diligently worked on this plan for over 10 years, who still live in the neighborhood, who still want to see this plan come to fruition, is their work to be swept under the rug? Cyreena Boston Ashby replied: “Not everyone was involved in the 10-year process”
When Ms. Ashby stated that PAALF was “never” against Trader Joe’s. PAALF’s open letter was read back to her that stated “A new Trader Joe’s will increase the desirability of the neighborhood to non-oppressed populations, thereby increasing the economic pressures that are responsible for the displacement of low-income and Black Residents” “Given the long-standing list of promises made, and yet to unfulfilled, by the PDC to prevent community displacement, PAALF is and will remain OPPOSED to any development in N/NE Portland that does not primarily benefit the Black community.”
Ms. Ashby said “In terms of that letter, perhaps that was A MISS in terms of our messaging.”
I think PAALF needs to hear from the community that went to the DOZENS of meetings and spent HUNDREDS of volunteer hours that we don’t want to start back at square one. We had a vision that represented many stakeholders in community (including the several long-time African American residents of Portland). The genesis of that vision can be viewed at this link: http://media.oregonlive.com/portland_impact/other/dev_king.pdf
PAALF took this development hostage and has caused great harm to the owners of businesses at Vanport Square and to Colas Construction, who was awarded the project. They need to be held accountable for the harm they’ve caused and the fracturing of this community. If they want to be one voice at the table that is wonderful. If they want to dictate the terms and lead the process of moving forward for this development that is not acceptable in my humble opinion. I believe, and many others believe that the onus is on the City and PDC to get this project back on track with Majestic Realty and Trader Joe’s. A letter signed by many members of the Black community (including the original developers of Vanport Square can be found here): http://chn.ge/1dq3tMo
The history of gentrification, redlining and displacement of the Black community are important topics to continue discussing, but not at the cost of this development.