Outside the Tropicana, a restaurant long closed and now for sale in this "gentrifying" part of town, whatever that's supposed to mean, on the south-facing siding was spray painted the phrase:


The northbound street that's a highly trafficked bike highway, a strip that has recently acquired multiple "upscale" restaurants, a "friendly" supermarket, coffee shops, breweries, ice cream parlors, yarn stores, and the like,  connect the downtown with North and Northeast Portland. If you go there, please note there are five "quadrants" of Portland: Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and North.

I don't think the Tropicana was ever zoned residential. Also, my neighbor across the street is black and so are his children and grandchildren. The people in his family either live there or have lived in that house for years.

Stopping gentrification is not a priority of mine because I did not study economics. I'm not capable financially or politically of preventing the sale of property or development in what were once poor, neglected neighborhoods. I'm probably part of the problem, paying rent too high for a house because it's in a "close-in" neighborhood.

People in this community ignore racism. They're too passive and liberal to do anything about it. Some are afraid of gentrification but are incapable of doing anything. But I can't shy away from the question, Are you anti-development?

I'm anti development if it means more traffic in my neighborhood. If it means high priced homes I can't afford, if it means a struggle for the people around me to afford rent.

Development is happening too fast after what was a lull in development in reaction to the national recession that began six years ago and continues today depending on what numbers you are looking at. Unemployment is next to impossible to measure with accuracy. I am unemployed but currently have more money than I ever have. At the same time I am indebted to the bank just as much. I don't receive unemployment, and I'm not actively looking for work. What does that make me?

To spray paint that black people used to live here closes the door on reality. Black people do live here.


There you are. Years ago. In a picture frame with your now wife. Young. A skyline behind and a look of disbelief: How did I get so lucky? How did I get here? Wherever it is you are. With her. 

She, she smiles too. Her arm around you. That sky blue skit and that dangling arm, the one that's not behind your neck, droops. Not awkwardly. Naturally. 

Khaki cargo cutoffs cast a shadow over your knee. And it's the skin of your shin that leads straight down to those clogs you're wearing. 

You are practical and analytical.