Healing Wounds of Gentrification
Activists plan Saturday bike ride to build understanding
7/19/2016, 5:10 p.m.
Gentrification is the major talking point of the city today, but for many neighborhoods it has been a reality for far too long.
Activist Laquida Landford has partnered with the nonprofit Community Cycling Center and Donovan Smith of Ignorant/Reflections to create a “Gentrification is Weird!” bike ride addressing the deep wounds communities of color have suffered due to gentrification, with an emphasis on healing.
“Black people in Portland have been displaced. There are not spaces and places to have a conversation,” explains Landford. “I thought the ride could connect the conversation around Portland’s black history, particularly around Vanport. I hope the ride can provide resources and build a bridge for new black people in Portland to learn about the history.”
Borrowing its namesake from a popular design produced by Smith’s Ignorant/Reflections clothing line, which uses provocative imagery to create conversations, the “Gentrification is Weird!” ride will include live performances, guest speakers, food, and informational booths from an array of community organizations. There will be live performances by the Poetic Justice crew, poetry by Llondyn Elliott, and DJ Ryder will be spinning.
Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler has pledged to attend the event and field questions from Smith, a former reporter for both the Portland Observer and the Skanner.
Wheeler called the event is a great way to act together to affirm the city’s dedication to a healthy, vibrant and diverse community.
"Displacement can rip people from their schools, churches, and neighbors. Portland's history on this issue illustrates it all too well,” Wheeler said.
Smith calls the thread of history to present day conditions as evidence of a renaissance in the city.
“People are demanding the history of Portland and Oregon be told like it really is more and more. Gentrification is weird! The ride is just another piece to the puzzle that is the renaissance we’re living in right now. "
The ride will begin at noon Saturday, July 23 at the Community Cycling Center's Bike Repair Hub in New Columbia at North Trenton Street and Woolsey Avenue and will travel to Vanport, where community members will share stories, history, and healing.
Biketown, Portland’s Nike-themed rental service, will have some bikes available for borrowing on the ride.
For more information or if you need to borrow a bike, email Landford at firstname.lastname@example.org.