Driven by the challenges of widening wealth disparity across Portland neighborhoods and between people of color and white Portlanders, as well as the needs of the city and our desire to do better, we have embarked on an agency-wide journey to become a multicultural, anti-racist organization.
Guided by our five-year strategic plan, we are focusing our efforts intentionally so that gains from physical and economic growth address the growing gaps within our city and to ensure that all communities realize equitable benefits.
A key part of the city’s and Prosper Portland’s history from the 1950s to the 1980s were the discriminatory practices that destabilized communities of color and people who were not landowners. A phase of grand projects took place while redlining policies were still in effect, often resulting in displaced families and razed neighborhoods. Subsequent urban renewal efforts focused on the preservation of Portland’s neighborhoods and a vital downtown, creating conditions ripe for gentrification.
The consequences of this history include wide disparities in employment, income, and wealth between white communities and communities of color in Multnomah County and lack of affordability in close-in neighborhoods, resulting in gentrification, displacement, and concentrations of poverty in North, Northeast, and increasingly, East Portland.
That dichotomy is the context for our strategic plan, which envisions a Portland that is globally competitive, equitable and healthy. We’ve repositioned key programs and initiated new approaches specifically focused on meeting the needs of diverse Portlanders.
Our Equity Statement
We acknowledge our past as we move forward to create economic opportunity and prosperity for all communities. We make racial equity the foundation of our community and economic development work. We hold ourselves accountable to Portland’s communities of color and others our work has negatively impacted. While racial equity is the primary lens to focus our efforts, we understand the connection between racism and other forms of bias that lead to oppression.
Within our workplace and working with our partners, we embrace values of authentic inclusion, transparency, and collaboration.
We work toward nothing less than an anti-racist Portland that welcomes and serves all communities and perspectives. We encourage our partners to do the same.
Prosper Portland’s Equity Policy, adopted in 2013, updated in 2016 and again in 2017, calls for all projects, initiatives and investments to generate equitable outcomes; it established a multicultural, anti-racist institutional framework for the agency.