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Knocked Out by Gentrification

‘Left Hook’ tells 1970s story of displacement

1/17/2017, 1:21 p.m.
‘Left Hook’ a new theater work about gentrification in 1970’s Portland will premiere this month as part of the Fertile ...
Black residents facing displacement picket in1973 when plans move forward to teardown houses and existing buildings in north Portland to make room for the expansion of Emanuel Hospital. ‘Left Hook, a new staged reading about the community displacement the project caused opens the weekend of Jan. 20-22.

‘Left Hook’ a new theater work about gentrification in 1970’s Portland will premiere this month as part of the Fertile Ground celebration of new theater works.

‘Left Hook,’ is set in a boxing club in the once-thriving African-American neighborhood of Albina where community members face loss and anger when their lives are irrevocably disrupted by urban renewal.

The backdrop is the construction of a sports arena and then a freeway that has forced many businesses to close and many residents to move, but now city planners have a new ambitious project in mind: a major expansion of a local hospital. As scores of additional homes are razed, people in the neighborhood grow increasing angry about the loss of community and their powerlessness in the face of it.

The stage reading by Rich Rubin is presented by Vanport Mosaic, the non-profit organization created to tell the history of Vanport, a community of workers, including a large black population, which came to Portland for jobs during World War II. Rubin wrote Cottonwood in the Flood, a multicultural play about the Vanport Flood.

Left Hook will show on Friday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan.22 at 2 p.m. at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5240 N. Interstate Ave. Admission is pay what you can or a suggested $10 for adults or $5 for students and seniors. Vanport Mosaic will have a curated conversation following the Sunday matinee.