NorthEast Passage: The Inner City and the American Dream

Neighborhoods besieged by discrimination, neglect, and crime frequently welcome any change that seems to be for the better. But gentrification can come at a high price. 


Review of NorthEast Passage in the Willamette Week

A 2002 documentary about gentrification in the black neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon. In the early stages of gentrification, improvements are often seen as a solution to persistent crime and blight. But as homeowners replace renters, a new class bias can emerge that transcends race.


Story: One woman, struggling to provide a decent life for her 10-year-old daughter, takes on public officials and a developer intent on creating low-income housing in her neighborhood. While public officials emphasize the need to create affordable housing in order to revitalize the community, opponents fear that the new property will attract crime. But when homeowners replace renters in gentrifying neighborhoods, long-term residents are often priced out and a new class prejudice can arise.

NorthEast Passage is a unique and complex portrait of a neighborhood in the midst of dramatic change. It chronicles the clashes between those who advocate making rental properties available to low-income individuals and families, and those who promote home ownership. Proponents of both sides get equal say as the debate escalates. 

As seen through the eyes of one woman, this film examines an issue that challenges nearly every inner city in the country.