Gentrification in Nashville


Today on our Priced Out podcast, Andru and Cornelius talk about the Black Panther premiere, Luke Cage, and an upcoming screening in Nashville of our first gentrification documentary, NorthEast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream.

Students at Tennessee State University, an historically black college/university, chose to host a screening of NorthEast Passage on February 20 as part of their Black History Month celebrations. 

Despite being a sequel to Priced Out, NorthEast Passage is a very different film, taking a deep look into what it's like living in poor urban neighborhoods, and how gentrification can seem like a solution to persistent issues of crime and disinvestment.

We'll talk with student organizer Marie Baugh about what resonated with her about NorthEast Passage and why she thinks it's relevant to gentrification in Nashville today.

Nashville has been described as the South's New Metropolis and an "it" city by the New York Times.

In 2016, 100 people a day moved to this city known as the capital of the country music industry.

Tifinie Capehart, Nashville realtor and former city planner. 

Tifinie Capehart, Nashville realtor and former city planner. 

Nashville's growth roughly parallels what has happened in Portland, Oregon, a formerly sleepy, mid-sized town on the West Coast now congested with new development, residents, and diversified industries.

As we see with other cities around the country, Nashville's growth has been directed into central city and historically black neighborhoods that are close to downtown and have walkable scale development.

In 2016, there were over 1,000 residential demolition permits in Nashville. That's roughly three homes demolished each day. Some central neighborhoods saw between 200 and 300 demolitions, with one or more units going in to replace each destroyed home.

Black neighborhoods have seen a massive amount of displacement already, with some neighborhoods seeing anywhere from 20 to 50 percent declines in their black population.

We'll also talk with realtor and former city planner Tifinie Capehart about what is propelling the growth and who these new residents are. Tifinie will discuss how the sense of community is holding up under the strain of such tremendous growth pressure.


For more information about gentrification in Nashville, we recommend the Tennessean's laudable and ambitious series called "Costs of Growth and Change." [SEE BELOW]


Of special interest are the following articles on the impact of growth on the black population and the strain growth puts on neighborhoods.


More free shows coming up this February

[ABOVE: Click on photo to see slideshow of January's show at Portland Community College. Photos by Andru Morgan.]

As we head deeper into February Priced Out continues to show in communities around the region and the nation. We have five shows coming up (so far) in February including a show in Nashville, TN and Tulsa, OK.

Priced Out with Panel Discussion
Followed on Feb 17 by a screening of I am Not Your Negro and discussion with James Baldwin's niece Aisha Karefa-Smart. 
3920 N.Kerby Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

6 pm to 8 pm
Free tickets here

FEB 18
12375 SW 5th St.
Beaverton, OR 97005

2 pm to 4 pm

FEB 22
Cerimon House
5131 NE 23rd Ave.
Portland, OR 97211

6:30 pm (doors open)
7 pm to 9 pm (screening and discussion)

Producers seem to get requests for screenings several times a week, so check out our screenings page or follow us on Facebook for up-to-date info.

Advocates Look to Legislature for $41 Million More for Affordable Housing


Housing advocates are rallying their base and urging lawmakers to increase revenue for affordable housing as the 2018 legislative session gets ready to start on Monday, February 5.

“All across Oregon, communities are experiencing a housing crisis,” said Alison McIntosh of the Neighborhood Partnerships. “We have a vacancy rate below one percent in Medford and Ashland, communities in Central Oregon continue to struggle with homelessness and a shortage of affordable housing. In the Gorge and at the coast, we hear stories about teachers sleeping in vans. Up and down the I-5 corridor, we hear stories of double-digit rent increases.”

The Oregon Housing Alliance (OHA) is backing House Bill 4007, which would increase revenue for housing programs through hikes to real estate recording fees.

Fees are charged every time a property transaction is recorded in the state of Oregon.

Right now, those fees go to three programs: emergency rent assistance, homeownership and education programs, and a fund for affordable housing projects. HB4007 would raise the fee from its current high of $20 to as much as $75 per transaction. The hike would generate $41 million more a year for housing programs that the current fee.

“We know how to solve these problems, and increasing the document recording fee will provide needed resources to provide more housing opportunity to Oregonians in every corner of our state,” McIntosh said.

While a $50 increase in fees might not seem like much, it’s important to note that counties can also place additional recording fees on top of state fees. For example, Multnomah County charges $45 for the first page of a mortgage document and then $5 for each additional page.

In addition to hikes to document recording fees, HB 4007 would give a financial leg up to first-time homebuyers. Under the bill, residents could place money for the purchase of their first home into an individual account sheltered from state income taxes. Residents could squirrel away up to $5,000 each year for an individual and $10,000 for a couple, for up to 10 years.

Call to Action

The OHA, a network of housing advocates, government agencies, nonprofits, and service providers, is asking its members to write to the House Committee on Human Services and Housing, including Chair Alissa Keny-Guyer, Vice-Chair Andy Olson, Vice-Chair Tawna Sanchez, and Members of the Committee.

“We are hoping members and Oregonians will call their legislators, and urge them to act to solve our housing crisis,” McIntosh said. “We are hoping people will share their stories...and ultimately ask (legislators) to provide safety, stability, and hope to more of our neighbors.”

Residents at "Priced Out" community screenings often ask director Cornelius Swart what they can do to fight the downsides of gentrification. “Vote, call, and write your legislators,” says Swart. “You have to engage with the democratic process all year long. You constantly need to keep your lawmakers informed about what you want and accountable for what they promise.”

In 2015, the City of Portland declared a housing state of emergency as communities around Oregon saw some the nation's highest rent spikes. Since then, advocates have scrambled for additional money for housing priorities.

Over a year ago, Portland voters passed a historic $258.4 million housing bond to help address the situation. That year the legislature also authorized a controversial program that allows cities to meet affordable housing needs by building outside their respective urban growth boundaries.

The urban growth boundary policy, which restricts cities from sprawling into high-value forest and farmlands, has long come under criticism from builders who maintain that the restrictions unnecessarily increase the cost of housing.

Interview with Cornelius Swart on KGW

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Priced Out director Cornelius Swart was featured on KGW Newchannel 8's afternoon talk show Portland Today, on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

Swart discussed the film and upcoming free screenings on Jan. 5 and Jan. 24.

Friday, January 5
Priced Out with Q&A at Peace of the City Film Series
Portland Mennonite Church
1312 SE 35th Ave.
Portland, OR 97214
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Free, donations encouraged

Wednesday, January 24
Priced Out with Q&A at PCC Cascade Campus
Moriarty Arts and Humanities Building
705 N Killingsworth St.  
Portland, OR 97217
6 pm to 8 pm




Two Free Showings of Priced Out in January



Following a series of local commercial showings, Priced Out will present two free screenings on January 5 and 24 of 2018.

[More free screening details below ED NOTE: Two more free screenings have been added since the original post]

The film rounded off the year with five commercial screenings at Portland theaters in December.

Priced Out screened at the Clinton Street Theater on Dec. 3, followed by two shows each night on Dec. 12 and 13 at McMenamins Kennedy School.

"It's fun that we could show at the Clinton," said Priced Out director Cornelius Swart. "The theater is a shrine to cult classics. We shared the bill with a film called 'Another Wolf Cop,' which I guess is a sequel to a film about a cop who is a wolf—like a wolfman, or a werewolf-like cop. That night was a supermoon too, so we had that going for us as well."

At the Q&A after the show, the mood was anything but lighthearted. Residents were touched, moved, and inspired by the story of Nikki Williams and her search for community in the face of generations of housing discrimination, crime, and gentrification.  

"I cried," said theater owner Lani Jo Leigh. “It’s a very powerful film. We’ve all seen Portland change so much. I think everyone can relate.”

"I just want everyone in Portland to see this film," said one viewer after the show.

[SLIDESHOW: Click Photos to advance. Photos by Cornelius Swart and Renee Lopez]

On Dec. 12 audiences packed the theater to capacity at the Kennedy School in Northeast Portland. A very heated Q&A followed the screening, with many aiming pointed questions at Swart, who describes himself in the film as a gentrifier.

"We had a great discussion," Swart said. "I start the film saying, ‘I’m a gentrifier.’ Even though this is a film about Nikki Williams, it's made by a guy who bought a house in the neighborhood in 1997. So people have to wrestle with that. Even though I'm not a developer or a house flipper, and I'm still in the same place after 20 years, I did benefit from gentrification."

The film was a volunteer-driven production and the producers expect the movie will go into educational markets for universities and public schools.  

Ideally, the producers would like to launch a national impact campaign designed to bring the film to communities affected by gentrification.

For now, Priced Out moves into a new phase. Community screenings, free to the public or targeted private audiences, will begin in January 2018.

Two Great Free Screenings

The first free screening will be on Jan. 5 at the Peace of the City Film Series, a nonpartisan civic engagement and education project that exhibits some of the country’s most compelling and cutting-edge social issue documentaries. The series was created in 2016 by Caitlin Boyle, founder of the indie documentary distribution company Film Sprout.

Past films have included Whose Streets? about Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson, Mo., and No Man's Land, about the 2016 federal standoff with armed militants in Malheur County, Ore. The producers of "Priced Out" are very excited to be showing amongst such high-caliber films.

The second screening will be at Portland Community College Cascade Campus in North Portland. PCC Cascade serves a largely minority population and holds cooperative classes with Jefferson High School, the state's only traditionally black high school. Teachers and administrators of PCC Cascade are very enthusiastic about "Priced Out" and invited the producers to show at their main auditorium. In November, PCC students eagerly embraced "Priced Out" at initial private screenings and wrote dozens of letters of appreciation to the film’s producers. An engaged and vibrant turnout is expected.

[An additional screening has been added for Feb. 1 in St Johns. This screening has been organized by a group of St. Johns residents, businesses and community and faith groups. See below]

Friday, January 5
Priced Out with Q&A at Peace of the City Film Series
Portland Mennonite Church
1312 SE 35th Ave.
Portland, OR 97214
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Free, donations encouraged

Wednesday, January 24
Priced Out with Q&A at PCC Cascade Campus
Moriarty Arts and Humanities Building
705 N Killingsworth St.  
Portland, OR 97217
6 pm to 8 pm

Thursday, February 1
Priced Out with Q&A in St. Johns
Portsmouth Union Church
4775 N. Lombard St
Portland OR 97213
6:30 pm until 8:30 pm

Sunday, February 18
Priced Out with Q&A at the Beaverton Library
12375 SW 5th St,
Beaverton, OR 97005
2 pm to 4 pm

Priced Out Hits Theaters Dec. 3, 12 & 13

McMenamins' Kennedy School Theater. Our first film, NorthEast Passage premiered at the Kennedy School way back in 2002.

McMenamins' Kennedy School Theater. Our first film, NorthEast Passage premiered at the Kennedy School way back in 2002.

The Priced Out production team is happy to announce a series of theatrical screenings starting this Sunday, Dec. 3.

Priced Out: 15 Years of Gentrification in Portland, Oregon will screen at the Clinton Street Theater in Southeast Portland on Sunday, Dec. 3, and at the Kennedy School Theater in Northeast Portland, Dec. 12 and Dec. 13.

Priced Out is the sequel to the documentary NorthEast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream, which premiered at the Kennedy School in 2002.

“It’s like a homecoming,” said Priced Out director Cornelius Swart. “We were the first independent film to ever show at the Kennedy School. It was kind of a new venue at that time and they only showed first-run movies. It’s very touching and a little ironic that we could come back to the theater after all these years.”

NorthEast Passage’s premiere in 2002 sold out quickly, and the show turned away hundreds of people each of its two screening nights. Priced Out's premiere events also sold out quickly. Advance tickets are not available for the Kennedy School shows, so come early. Tickets are cash only, sliding scale $5–$10.

Advance tickets are available for Clinton Street Theater, $8.

Sunday, Dec 3
Clinton Street Theatre
2522 SE Clinton Street Portland, OR 97202
7 pm, short Q&A to follow
Tickets $8 Online Purchases HERE

Tuesday, Dec 12
Kennedy School Theater
5736 NE 33rd Ave. Portland, OR 97211
7 pm Early Show
8 pm Q&A
9:30 pm Late Show
10:30 Q&A

Wednesday, Dec 13
Kennedy School Theater
5736 NE 33rd Ave. Portland, OR 97211
7 pm Early Show
8 pm Q&A
9:30 pm Late Show
10:30 pm Q&A
Tickets $5–$10 sliding scale, cash only at the door

Priced Out Premiere Packs Portland Art Museum [Slideshow]


Film premieres to sellout crowds, pointed questions, tearful audience response

The Portland premiere of Priced Out: 15 Years of Gentrification in Portland, Oregon drew a sold-out crowd to the Portland Art Museum on Nov. 1, 2017. The show sold out so quickly that the host, NW Film Center, promptly booked an additional show on Nov. 7, which also sold out.

The film screened at the Whitsell Auditorium for the opening night of the Northwest Filmmaker’s FestivalPriced Out is the sequel to NorthEast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream. The first film made its festival premiere at the Northwest Filmmaker’s fest 15 years ago.

Many of the film’s participants were on hand and dressed to the nines at the film’s prescreening reception, including Albina residents Brianna Williams, Percy Hampton, Michelle Lewis, Paul Knauls, Rachel Hall, and Harry Jackson.

The reception included the unveiling of the official movie poster and a brief awards ceremony for the production team. Appreciation awards went to volunteer motion graphics editor Martin Lendahls, assistant producer Donovan Smith, co-producer Eric Maxen, music supervisor Farnell Newton, and to Nikki and Bri Williams for having the courage to share their stories with the world.


A lively round of questions and answers followed the show. The audience asked hard-hitting questions about housing policy and Portland’s culture of race and class. Director Cornelius Swart and activist Cameron Whitten followed with Q&A exchanges on Whitten’s podcast, Chocolate and Caramel, the following week. Listen to the podcast for more in-depth and at time hilarious discussion on the issues.

While many wanted to talk about the issues, others wanted to talk about the heartbreaking personal stories the film documents.

“What I was surprised at was just how many people were moved to tears by this film,” said director Cornelius Swart. “People young and old and of all colors just kept coming up to production folks to tell them how emotional they got.”

“I think we’ve successfully conveyed the pain and root shock that so many people who are experiencing gentrification feel,” said Swart.


The local premiere clears the way for a small theatrical run planned for Portland in the coming weeks.

After that, Priced Out will be fanning out into dozens of small community screenings hosted by groups as diverse as the City of Portland, the Boise Neighborhood Association, and the Beaverton Library.

If you haven’t already, sign up for our email list at and we’ll notify you of upcoming public screenings. 

If you want to host a screening just send us an email at

Priced Out Premieres in Portland Nov. 1

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The producers are happy to announce that Priced Out will make its local debut this coming November 1 at the opening night of the 44th Northwest Filmmaker’s Festival.

“The housing crisis continues to roll over Portland with no signs of letting up,” said Priced Out Director Cornelius Swart. “We eager to get this film out into the public. We think it’s going to stir the conversation up in a whole new way.”

The screening will be at the Portland Art Museum’s prestigious Witsell Auditorium.   There will be a reception before and after the screening with filmmakers, crew and production participants. Filmmakers will take questions from the audience after the screening.

The Northwest Filmmaker’s Festival is a showcase of films from Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.  The festival is put on each year by Portland’s Northwest Film Center.

“In 2015, when we started working on Priced Out gentrification was a rising issue in the city,” said Swart. “Now, gentrification, housing, and homelessness are Portland’s most pressing social issues. We think the film will really inform and influence how people see the issue. It will open your eyes.”

Wednesday, November 1, 7 pm
Whitsell Auditorium
Tickets: HERE

Priced Out goes to Los Angeles and St. Louis

New Urbanism Film Festival
Later this month Priced Out will make its debut at the 4th New Urbanism Film Festival in Los Angeles, Calif.

The New Urbanism Film Festival showcases short and feature-length films about issues shaping modern cities. The event highlights stories about progressive planning issues such as rapid transit, bicycle transportation, and urban design.

Priced Out will screen alongside the short film Future Portland, a meditation on Portland’s urban growth and the future of the black community.

Oct 21, 3:45 pm
Tickets: HERE

St Louis Film Festival

Priced Out will screen on Nov. 4. at the St. Louis Film Festival as part of its Mean Street series.

Mean Streets is a film series that focuses on racial segregation, police brutality and other issues dividing American cities. A screening of Priced Out will be followed by a panel discussion organized by Washington University’s School of Journalism and Communications.

Saturday, Nov 4, 1:00 pm
More info: HERE

There will be many more public screenings in Portland now that the film has been publicly released. Sign up for our production updates, and we’ll send you notifications as they come.

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for latest screening announcements.



Film Gets Glowing Reception From "Cast" and Crew at Private Screening

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“People let me know my story was very powerful”

Private screening for Priced Out participants brought out the community, stirred up emotions.

This June, residents and on-camera experts involved in the documentary production Priced Out got their first chance to see the film. Their reaction? They loved it.

Priced Out held a private screening on June 28 to a packed room of about 100 guests. The audience was composed of the individuals who appeared on camera in the production and those who worked behind the scenes.   

The screening also included the short film The Numbers about East Portland, produced by Priced Out assistant producer Donovan Smith and Priced Out videographer Sika Stanton [More on The Numbers in future posts]. 


[ABOVE: Slideshow of screening and reception. Click photos to advance.]


The screening was held at Billy Webb Elks Lodge, one of the oldest continually run black businesses in the Albina Community. The screening was sponsored in part by Northwest Documentary Arts & Media.

The film is a dramatic look at gentrification in Portland over the last 15 years. It features the story of Nikki Williams, a single black mother who struggles with the pain of losing her community to gentrification.  

The audience was engrossed throughout the film’s 59 minutes.  Viewers exploded into a thunderous round of applause as the lights came up. Some wiped away tears at the movie’s poignant conclusion.

“I was very moved by Nikki; it was extremely emotional,” said Fred Leeson of the Architectural Heritage Society. “I was wondering if this woman was ever going to find peace and happiness."

Leeson appeared in Priced Out as an on-camera expert. The June screening was the first time he’d seen the film.  He was stunned at how openly Nikki shared her struggles, for good and for ill, in the neighborhood over the last 15 years. 

“She was so forthcoming with the camera,” Leeson said. “What an amazing person.“ 


Priced Out blends Nikki’s story with the history of the neighborhood and its fate at the hands of housing discrimination and institutional racism.

Amber Dennis, an event volunteer, was paying close attention to audience reaction during the film.

“I think people felt affirmed to see the history on the big screen,” said Dennis. “There are very few places where you see the history of this neighborhood all at once. You see how discrimination, urban renewal, and gentrification all fit together and how our daily lives play a role in that.”

After the screening guests were treated to a reception where they took selfie's with director Cornelius Swart and got a chance to mingle and share their impressions.

“People let me know my story was very powerful,” said Michelle Lewis said. "They got to see me at my most vulnerable.”

Lewis, featured in Priced Out, works at Oregon Health Sciences University, but describes herself as among “the working poor.” In 2008 her family lost their home in the subprime mortgage collapse.

“The film did a good job of getting at the big picture,” Lewis said. “I think it brought people together and made them want to do something.”

Lewis felt Priced Out inspired viewers take action against the downsides of gentrification.

 “People were talking, ‘OK, how can we get together as a community to hold public officials accountable!” Lewis said.

Representatives from local grassroots groups like Young Gifted and Black and city agencies like the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and Prosper Portland (formerly the Portland Development Commission) were also in attendance. The filmmakers intend to partner with organizations that want to use the film as a tool to engage their constituents, open dialogue, and bring people into campaigns aimed at combatting gentrification. 

Lewis for one thought white and minority residents in Portland and across the country would benefit from the film’s message.

“They should see the movie,” Lewis said. “Gentrification is happening all over. It can happen to you. The film is a wakeup call!

Sneak Peak Gets Big Reception, Passionate Debate


Over Memorial Day Weekend we had a really great sneak peak screening at the Vanport Mosaic Festival. We showed a few minutes of the finished film and had a lengthy discussion with the audience about housing, social justice and the meaning of the word “home.”

SEE THE KATU STORY: Priced Out and the Vanport Festival

It was amazing to see a packed theatre at 11am on a sunny Portland Sunday, during Memorial Day Weekend no less. Folks were enormously engaged and passionate both about the history of Vanport and the issue of gentrification.

It was a very dramatic discussion, just the kind we like.

We think the screening was a good indicator of public appetite for this film.


(left)Director Cornelius Swart was on hand. He answered questions ranging what can be done to halt the current housing crisis, to whether or not Swart was himself exploiting gentrification by making this film.