Using Historic Preservation to Fight Gentrification [EP 23] Priced Out Podcast

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An interview with Portland data activist Megan Hanson.  Hanson is a complex data analyst who works with logistics software giant Oracle.  After seeing alarming rent hikes and a wave of demolitions in her neighborhood, she started to investigate the Portland zoning code on her free time. She found that the State of Oregon required a public notification process before older homes could be demolished, but that the City of Portland was no longer enforcing these rules

As a result, developers were able to buy up cheap rental properties, evict tenants and knock them down. Hanson also helped create a multilayered data map designed to illustrate the impacts of Portland’s new proposal to up-zone 96% of the city. Join us as we get into the weeds of the intersectionality of affordable housing, demolitions, displacement, and historic preservation.  

Link: What the National Home Builder’s Association really thinks of liberal opponents
Link: Residential Infill Project Displacement Risk Map

For another point of view, check out EP 10: What is Zoning and the Residential Infill Strategy

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Sweeping Victory for Housing Agenda in Portland, Oregon, Midterms

Gov. Kate Brown (D) announces her victory on Nov. 6. Courtesy KGW/NewsChannel 8

Gov. Kate Brown (D) announces her victory on Nov. 6. Courtesy KGW/NewsChannel 8

The midterm elections were good news for advancing the fight against gentrification and displacement in Portland and the state of Oregon. The state saw a record turnout of 1.87 million voters (67.8 percent) that yielded a clean sweep for the pro-housing agenda.

Voters unilaterally pushed forward the most impressive cluster of candidates and ballot measures I've seen in my 20 years of covering this issue.

As we discussed in our podcast, the midterms offered a slate of must-win candidates and ballot measures crucial for the battle against housing displacement. Never has an array of candidates and measures interlocked so much on an agenda. And the voters approved every one of them.

All of our endorsements won, making the Priced Out Podcast the most influential political entity in the STATE! YES! The POWER!!!! Okay, no...we just got lucky.

Here's the rundown:

VICTORY: Kate Brown, Governor. Brown was a must-win. If the state legislature was going to take up long-standing thorns in the side of housing advocates—the state ban on rent control and protections on no-cause evictions—a Democrat needed to be governor. Without Brown at Mahonia Hall, nothing would get done. If Republican challenger Knute Buehler had won, he would have been a golden child of the national GOP and under enormous pressure to be a veto machine (just as John Kitzhaber was when the GOP controlled the legislature). With supermajorities in both houses, the ordinarily timid and undisciplined Dems should have enough firepower to push through meaningful housing reforms in the legislature (after three years of hard pushing by activists). But ONLY if advocates and voters continue to put maximum pressure on their representatives. There is no finish line.

VICTORY: Jo Ann Hardesty, Portland City Council. If Portland is going to experiment with rent stabilization, the state legislature will have to pass enabling legislation. Then, the city council needs at least three votes to pass a local measure. A reliable second vote came in when voters made Hardesty the first African American city councilor in Portland history. Hardesty has spoken favorably of the idea of rent stabilization, unlike her opponent, who had taken a significant amount of money from developers. Hardesty is the ally of housing firebrand Chloe Eudaly. Together they could realistically charm or twist arms (whatever works) enough to get a third vote for rent stabilization and other housing reforms.

VICTORY: Measure 102, Constitutional Amendment for Affordable Housing. In a triumph of messaging by advocates, voters approved a nuanced amendment to the Oregon Constitution. The passage of M102 enables local governments to build more subsidized housing by combining public dollars and private investments. More units can be created and preserved with fewer tax dollars. Changes to the Oregon Constitution are notoriously difficult to pass because they require the support of such diverse urban and rural communities. This measure was difficult because the changes were so small and technical, but activists pulled it off in a triumph of campaigning, and sadly, an objective lesson in how broadly felt the housing crisis is.

VICTORY: Measure 26-199, Metro Housing Bond. Voters in the tri-county area approved a regional $652.8 million affordable housing bond. Because M102 passed, the impact of this bond could double. The money can now be leveraged to create anywhere from 2,400 to 4,000 units of housing. That's a wide range, but as we all know, housing prices are going up, and that makes it more expensive to build affordable housing too.

Advocates and residents should be proud of all these accomplishments. It shows that if people push hard enough the levers of power move over time. It’s what we always talk about in discussions after a screening of Priced Out.

For the last several years, Portland has been a national example of what not to do in a housing crisis. Its history of housing discrimination has been a black eye on Portland’s progressive self-image. But this election should help inspire other communities fighting gentrification. And help the region reclaim its place as an innovator and grassroots fighter for good causes.

Keep it up!

~ Cornelius Swart
Producer, Priced Out

A Black Realtor's View of Gentrification (Pt.2) [EP 22] Priced Out Podcast

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Fred Stewart has been called “King of Northeast Portland Real Estate.” He even says he may have started the gentrification of the neighborhood. The catch is, he’s black. He’s a social media bomb thrower, a realtor and an activist who has twice run for city council.

We get into the weeds of neighborhood history once again with Fred in part two of this two-part interview. He grew up in Northeast Portland and has been a realtor in the neighborhood since the drug war days of the 1980s. In this interview, Fred talks about why he got into real estate during the neighborhood's darkest era. He tells us what it took to sell a house in the "ghetto," how he got around redlining and why he bought a strip club from a white man who called him "Fred Shit."

Fred has a deep knowledge of Northeast Portland and is featured in Priced Out the movie. This POD is part of the "Cut Out" where we explore more from the people and POVs that were left out of the documentary Priced Out. 

Despite Stewart’s controversial past, we think he has an important viewpoint to include in the mix of voices we listen to on this issue. As always the opinions of our guests are their own.

Vote, Stupid! Midterm Elections & Portland Housing [EP:21]

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This edition of the Priced Out Podcast Cornelius preaches on Abortion, the NRA and voting whether you like the results or not.  The podcast endorses candidates and some vitally important ballot measures before the voters next month.  Special guest Kari Lyons from the Welcome Home Coalition talks about the housing bond Measure 26-199 and a Measure 102 that would allow tax dollars spend on affordable housing to be massively amplified.

Remember to get your ballots in!

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Illegal Airbnbs and the Portland Housing Crisis [Priced Out Podcast EP 20]

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Illegal Airbnbs could pull up to 1,500 housing units from Portland each year despite a new city clampdown, according to data from the website InsideAirbnb. Cornelius and his friend Thacher Schmid just published an investigative report in Portland Mercury about illegal Airbnbs and their impact on the Portland housing crisis.

In this special edition podcast, Cornelius and Thacher talk about their story, about the data they used, and why Portlanders still love Airbnb even though most seem to know hosts can make the housing crisis worse.

Full disclosure: Cornelius Swart is in the process of permitting a room in his house as an Airbnb. He ran it as a test over the summer then shut it down. He will live in the house full time and will only rent the room out less than three months a year or so.

Priced Out Podcast Repost [EP 1- Welcome to the Pod]

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Welcome to the first episode of Priced Out: The Podcast about Gentrification. Hosted by Andru Morgan and documentary filmmaker Cornelius Swart the director of Priced Out: Gentrification in Portland, Oregon. In today's podcast, we will discuss gentrification in Portland Oregon as well as the film and what to expect next from Priced Out.

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Priced Out Podcast Relaunches on iTunes, Spotify, More

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The Priced Out Podcast has officially relaunched and is now available on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and four other major podcast platforms.

For almost a year, producers Andru Morgan and Cornelius Swart have been working away on the Priced Out Podcast: Tales of Gentrification. The audio program is about gentrification, urban growth, race, and class in urban America. It's been posting on our YouTube channel since January, racking up 38,000 minutes of watch time.

We’re now moving the home for the regularly scheduled podcast show over to Anchor, and we want you to follow! You will still be able to find some in-studio recorded interviews on our YouTube channel from time to time.

The show is an excellent way to get into the weeds on local issues like zoning. You can hear about what’s happening in rapidly gentrifying cities like Nashville. Or in cities where gentrification feels like it’s not happening at all, like St. Louis.

We also do follow-up interviews with some of the most compelling people featured in the documentary Priced Out. Those include a Where Is She Now interview with Nikki Williams and a two-part interview with African American Realtor (and controversial activist) Fred Stewart.

Our Anchor homepage will also feature a way to contribute to the podcast. If you like the show, you can help to ensure that we keep going.  

Producer Andru Morgan is a pro, and he and Cornelius would love to grow the program along the lines of the higher-production-value shows we’ve done, like our Battle for Rent Control in Long Beach, California episode. We’d also like to do more in-depth storytelling. We have a follow-up story, also from Long Beach, about a woman who literally had to fight for her life to free herself from an abusive husband, only to be confronted with a race-based eviction. It’s a compelling story. We plan to bring you more of them in the future.

So please check out the new show and follow up where you go to get your pods to cast.

~ Team Priced Out

Contribute to the Priced Out Podcast on Anchor

Available on seven popular podcast platforms

iTunes: LINK
Apple Podcast:
LINK
Spotify:
LINK
Stitcher: LINK
Google Podcast [Android only]: LINK
RadioPublic: LINK
OvercastLINK
Breaker: LINK
Castbox:
LINK


Distribution Deal, Falls Shows and Ways to Help

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Priced Out is headed to California next month for a screening and discussion sponsored by Housing Long Beach. Producer Cornelius Swart will be flying down to talk with residents of Long Beach, California. This city just south of Los Angeles has, like Portland, seen massive rent increases and apartment development in recent years, and has been grappling with implementing rent control. Check out a discussion on the BATTLE FOR LONG BEACH RENT CONTROL, this Thursday on the Priced Out Podcast.

UPCOMING PORTLAND SHOWS

Monday, Sept 10
P-Town Media will be sponsoring a big screening at the Mission Theater. 6:00 PM FREE

Monday, Oct 8
The Boise Neighborhood Association at The Q Center. 6:30 PM.  FREE

Thursday, Nov 8
Portland Architectural Heritage Center. 6:30 PM. Donations encouraged

Our bookings are starting to pick up again now that summer is winding down, so check our Screenings page regularly or follow us on, TWITTER or FB for new listings.

RENT REFORMS NEED YOUR HELP

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly plans to advance a package of rent reforms this month at city council. These reforms include pro-renter changes to laws governing security deposits and credit checks.  If you are looking to support local efforts to stabilize renters, contact Eudaly's office to find out what you can do. CONTACT: Josiah Barber, Constituent Relations Specialist
503.823.4682, josiah.barber@portlandoregon.gov.


NEW SOLUTIONS PAGE

We’ve recently created a new SOLUTIONS page to go with our Get Involved page. Please check it out and share it. The most common question we get when people see the film is “What can I do?”

The Solutions page highlights resources, articles, policies, and ideas on how to be a better neighbor and address social, economic, and cultural displacement—all things that concerned neighbors should know.

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HOW YOU CAN HELP THE FILM

Tell a friend to sponsor a show!

Even though this is a local feature film about Portland’s most pressing social issue, we are continually surprised by the number of people who are not aware of the film. So if you know someone who might be interested in sponsoring a screening, please send us a note at pricedoutmovie@gmail.com.

Have you seen priced out?

Please RATE US on our IMDb page. The more ratings we get, the better—unless you hate the film, then please delete this email immediately.

We encourage you to please POST A SHORT REVIEW on our IMDb page as well. It’s a huge help for our online profile as we push to get the film seen in more communities outside of Portland.

Have you purchased the film or hosted a screening?

We are always in need of dynamic pull quotes from educators, professionals, and community groups that have used the film. Please send us a quote of one to two sentences to pricedoutmovie@gmail.com.


DISTRIBUTION DEAL

We’re happy to announce that we have reached a distribution deal with Collective Eye, a boutique distribution house for the institutional market. Collective Eye is an excellent group of cool and creative young folks who come from filmmaking backgrounds. They carry very high-quality films, so it’s an honor to be in their catalog. And best of all, they’re Portland locals! 

Collective Eye will come on board in September, which means we will have to increase our prices to comply with their standards. So if you know professors, teachers, or someone who might want to purchase the film or be interested in screening it, please send them to us now while prices are still low. PricedoutMovie@gmail.com

Thank you for all of your support for this project and your concern about this number-one issue facing American cities today.

Let’s keep the conversation going—LOUDLY!

DVDs arrive, Priced Out goes International, PBS spotlight

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It’s been a while since our last Priced Out update, and a lot has happened.

Priced Out DVDs have been authored, shipped and orders are being fulfilled.  The process took much longer than expected because Cornelius insisted on doing the whole thing himself (to save money). We did save money, but the authoring process using an edition of Adobe Encore (the program is no longer supported by Adobe) took over a month to do after all the glitches were ironed out. The product is a very lovely quality DVD.  It includes menus, chapters, closed captions, Priced Out with filmmaker commentary and our first film, NorthEast Passage, with its menus and chapters. The production owes a lot to our friends at NW Documentary who put up with Cornelius camping out in their office for what seemed like all of the spring. 

These DVDs are for the institutional and educational market only at this point. These DVDs run $120 or more.  So, these DVDs are mostly for schools and a handful of folks like Kickstarter supporters, limited pre-sales, and superfans.
 

They’re here! What’s inside that unboxing video? #pricedout

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Filmmakers distributed through a process called “windowing” in which increasingly larger audiences are exposed to the film. Classic windows are festivals, theatrical, broadcast, educational, digital (AKA Netflix), and VOD (aka iTunes, Amazon, etc.). While the industry is changing very quickly the educational market is still our best way to make back some of the money that went into the film.  We are talking with distributors. Hopefully, we’ll have the movie broadly available on Amazon, etc., by the end of next year or sooner.

Speaking of distribution, Priced Out was accepted into this August’s Social World Film Festival’s Young Film Market in Naples Italy. It’s our first international exposure.  A film market is a non-competitive showcase of films where potential distributors can see and option films, just like a festival but without the glamor.  We’ll take it!  It looks like a very exciting event, and maybe next time we’ll have the budget to send Cornelius out there to soak up all the Euroglitz.
 


Did you catch the PBS Newshour feature on Portland’s Right to Return policy?  The policy is designed to provide additional housing assistance to African Americans who were involuntarily displaced by gentrification in Albina.

The show featured a lot of great folks who were also involved in the Priced Out production, including Maxine Fitzpatrick of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiative. That group is working on putting out 1,000 new affordable homes in Albina over the next ten years.

Cornelius gets a cameo in this excellent report. Check it out. It’s not the Amalfi Coast, but we’re all happy he’s getting the message out there.

Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our YouTube Channel for regular news and updates about gentrification and affordable housing in Portland and other cities.

More Shows, DVD Done, and Lawyers! (Spring Update)

Community Screening at Portland's African American community center, Self Enhancement Inc.

Community Screening at Portland's African American community center, Self Enhancement Inc.

Spring has been a busy time for Priced Out as we wrap up our DVD authoring project and continue to roll out community screenings in Portland and around the country.

Demand for Priced Out screenings is still building from folks here in Portland and increasingly across the country. We’ve recently had screenings at the University of Massachusetts and we’ve been contacted by folks in Cleveland, Long Beach, Calif., Atlanta, and Burlington, Vermont.

While we are still in a local phase of outreach, other parts of the country continue to find us. Now, we hope to wrap up our local community screening campaign here this spring.

So far, we’ve had some powerful and heated discussions about the issues after the show. The producers feel that the post-screening Q&A is where the real work takes place. If you know of an organization that might be able to sponsor a show, please check out our community screening kit on our website.

[ABOVE: Discussion after screening at the Vanport Mosiac Festival in May of 2017.]

We’ve had four screenings this spring, and another five shows are lined up for the rest of April and May. These include at least one screening of our first film about gentrification, NorthEast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream, on May 3.

We’ve seen growing interest in NorthEast Passage, which addressed gentrification in the 1990s, so we decided to include it in our upcoming DVD. We are just wrapping up the authoring process. The DVD package will consist of Priced Out and NorthEast Passage, with chapter selections and closed captions. The closed captions for both Priced Out and NorthEast Passage were donated through the generosity of Portland Community College. We really appreciate that! We’ve also included Priced Out with filmmakers’ commentary from director Cornelius Swart and co-producer and editor Eric Maxen.

When the DVD is complete, we’ll be able to move on to the next phase of the outreach campaign, which will focus more on engaging communities outside of Portland as well as talking to companies that do educational and broadcast distribution.

It was a lot of work to get here. Swart spent almost all of March doing legal review and insurance work on the film to make sure all rights, waivers, and legal details were locked down for our next big push.

The production has also applied for some grants to do impact campaigning. These would provide funding that the production could use to organize screenings in hard to reach working-class, ethnic, and immigrant communities. The goal here would be to raise awareness and to work with partners who could connect residents with housing resources and campaigns.

We’re also working on more ways to cover gentrification in the daily news cycle and around the country. Stay tuned for the official launch of Priced Out: The Podcast. Until then, you can follow us on our new Twitter account and on Facebook as we continue to bring you stories and conversations about gentrification and the housing crisis in American cities.