Portland is too white.
When ever I sing the praises of Portland to my friends who live elsewhere, they tend to say something like, "Yeah, but it's not that diverse. Sure, there are lots of things to do there and all…but it's just very…white." Those of us who live here know that Portland doesn't have the level of diversity of other cities like Los Angeles, Baltimore, or even Pheonix. But a recent article tells it to us plain and clear: Portland is not just very white, it's the whitest city of all. (Sigh)
From an article on chron.com:
PORTLAND, ORE. – Already the whitest major city in America, Portland is rapidly becoming even whiter at its core.
"The heart of the black community is gone," said Charles Ford, 76, a black activist whose neighborhood in Portland has flipped in recent years from majority black to majority white. "There ain't no center anymore."
Cities of 500,000 or more with the highest proportion of white residents.
• Portland, Ore.: 75 percent
• Seattle: 68 percent
• Indianapolis: 67 percent
• Columbus, Ohio: 67 percent
• Oklahoma City: 65 percent
• Nashville-Davidson: 64 percent
• Jacksonville, Fla.: 62 percent
• Phoenix: 56 percent
• Charlotte: 55 percent
Source: Washington Post analysis of 2000 census data
So there you have it. I'm writing this from a relatively new coffee shop in NE Portland on the corner of Shaver and Mississippi, which was in the recent past the core of Portland's black neighborhood. This area, plus the Alberta District and now St. Johns are also going through gentrification. New businesses, remodeled storefronts and homes, are sprouting up – all with mostly white money or loans to white people trying to get an edge in a growing market. This is a complicated issue that I'm not prepared to say I know how to solve. It's just weird to know I live in the whitest city in the U.S.