Letter: Entire story needs to be told




Greg Jayne’s Oct. 1 column, “Portland’s history symbolizes impact of covert racism,” prompted me to express my opinion that we don’t usually hear the whole story.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case, “separate but equal,” set a tone of unfairness that had lasted for too many years. The fact was, that separation was the tone of the day, but nothing was ever equal. But the word “equal” is hard to completely grasp, for to make everything equal and congruent is nearly impossible. But let’s try to be fair, if possible.

Jayne set a tone that the African-American displacement by the “Minnesota freeway” (Interstate 5), Memorial Coliseum and the hospital expansion that took place in this African-American neighborhood, is all correct. But what was never mentioned was that this was a time of urban renewal in Portland. The Albina neighborhood was not the only neighborhood that was affected.

Southwest Portland had a large Italian and Jewish neighborhood that was completely knocked down and replaced with office space. These developments had nothing to do with race.