It's Not Just Ice Cream

I rail about gentrification a lot, I know. I live in a city that is rapidly gentrifying around me so it is difficult not to. There have been many big issues that came up in our local media because of this, such as the bike lanes on Williams Street and leaving out Black community leaders in "urban development" projects.

I've alienated some friends recently because of my staunch stance on gentrification. Many of them don't understand why it's a bad thing. They only see the clean streets, the shiny new buildings and posh businesses that gentrification brings. The rest are inconvenient truths.

I got in an argument recently and was told  "it's just ice cream". Well, the thing is...it's not just ice cream. It's an entire row of expensive businesses like a shoe boutique, a posh ice cream store, topped by overpriced concrete lofts that no one from the neighborhood will ever be able to afford...all this where once a grassy knoll stood and people sunbathed, played music and sold their homemade goods. The ice cream represents something completely different for me, not just a fun new eatery to check out. I have to live here too. This is not the city I want.

I have lived in Portland since 2005 and I hardly recognize it lately. The gentrification of the city has been kicked into high gear with new businesses and building popping up every week. The new Portland has lost it's backbone. It's more friendly for the masses of upper Middle class White families flocking here. Rents are skyrocketing (when you can even find a vacancy), food is becoming more expensive and of course there are very few jobs. The livability for those of us who were here before is plummeting. The very fabric of the city is changing. For me and others, it's not about the fucking ice cream.

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