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WHEN HOME LEAVES YOU
"Priced Out" is an investigative and personal look at how skyrocketing housing prices are displacing Portland's black community and reshaping the entire city. The feature-length documentary explores the complexities and contradictions of gentrification and what neighborhood life means after the era of "The Ghetto." The film is a sequel to the 2002 documentary “NorthEast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream.”
DVD, DigitaL, Streaming
A project in partnership with Northwest Documentary Arts & Media
Director Cornelius Swart Recently on PBS Newshour
Gentrification to Housing Crisis
In the late-1990s, Portland's Albina Community was home to a cohesive black community, though one plagued by drug dealers, boarded-up storefronts and abandoned homes.
Fifteen years later, Governing Magazine ranked Portland as the Most Gentrified City in America, and the neighborhood has become one of the trendiest places in the country to live. Crime is down, houses have been fixed up, and new bars and restaurants open almost every day. But seemingly overnight, Albina has transformed from black majority to white majority.
While some black residents said good riddance to the old neighborhood, others felt betrayed by city officials who promised revitalization without displacement. But gentrification grew beyond the neighborhood's borders and plunged the entire city into a housing crisis that sent thousands of residents into the streets to protest.
Nikki Williams is a black single mother who once embraced the idea of gentrification. A decade and a half later she found herself torn between feelings of grief for her community and the economic opportunities that come from rising home prices.
In 2002, “NorthEast Passage” chronicled a neighborhood that embraced gentrification and fought off affordable housing. Over a decade later, the sequel, “Priced Out,” offers a complex view of gentrification rarely seen in conventional news coverage.
Meet Nikki Williams
Williams is a straight-talking single mom who does not suffer fools gladly. Her only only wish was to live in a healthy black community. In the documentary “NorthEast Passage,” filmed in the late 1990s, Nikki worked to kick drug dealers off her block. Over a decade later, she realized she was one of the last black people on her street. While Nikki wanted to see the neighborhood fixed up, she never thought “they would kick everybody out, fix it up, and tell everyone they can’t come back.” The catch is, Nikki is a homeowner, now caught between the loss of her community and the opportunity to sell her home and achieve economic freedom for the first time in her life.
NEIGHBORHOODS RENEWED AND COMMUNITIES DESTROYED
Gentrification, once a phenomenon that occurred only in big cities like New York, is now sweeping across cities across the country from Tacoma to Toronto, Minneapolis to Memphis.
Over the last decade, urban neighborhoods once considered no man’s land have transformed into some of the most desirable places in the country. But these new investments are just the latest chapter in a long history of institutional discrimination that has sought to isolate and exclude minorities. Communities once devastated by redlining, urban renewal, and drugs are now being crushed by market forces as big business moves in and longtime residents get priced out.