The voices of communities of color have not historically been well-represented in our region’s long-range planning. From the state’s racist founding principle of black exclusion, to bans on home ownership for people of color in certain areas, to repeated displacement of numerous communities of color, Oregon’s plans have perpetuated historic inequities.
Our region is increasingly diverse. As recently as 1990, the Census Bureau reported that there were fewer than 3,000 black residents in Clackamas and Washington counties – out of a combined population of 590,400. In 1990, Hispanics made up 3.3 percent of the Metro area’s population of 1.7 million people.
Since 1990, more than a third of greater Portland’s 600,000 new residents are people of color. Latinos and Asian Pacific Islander communities have seena more than 44 percent growth rate in the last decade. How are we accounting for equitable growth that reflects the needs and values of our region’s diverse communities?
When a city asks the Metro Council for an urban growth boundary expansion in 2018, the council will ask them to report specifically on outreach to communities of color. How were historically marginalized communities involved in this year’s growth discussions? How will the benefits and burdens of growth be shared equitably through the community?
Addressing these issues won’t make up for past discrimination, but they are a start at preventing discriminatory consequences – intentional or accidental – in future policy decisions.