Day 6: Racism, City Hall Meetings, and Personality Tests

Today was the first day of our second week! We started the day off with some reflections over the past week, and sharing some of our favorite moments that we had experienced over the first five days of the program. My own favorite moment was meeting the representatives from BPS and PDC, and especially seeing how passionate they are about the work that they do for the city, and generally seeing how the process of urban renewal is looked at from different perspectives.

After this brief re-cap, we started talking about the homework over the weekend: we were assigned a reading dealing with the subject of racism in Portland, and how this has affected the Albina neighborhood in particular. Everyone in our group was disturbed and shocked by how this racism was actually built into our laws, and that though it isn’t always blatantly shown, it definitely does affect how certain neighborhoods are viewed and how they progress differently, due to the limited opportunities they are given because of different regulations. This led us to an activity where we each acted as a different stake holder from the Albina community and acted our different parts, showing that the power is really in the hands of the current residents and developers, while the long time residents  don’t have as much power or say.

The next thing on our agenda was going to city hall and meeting with one of Charlie Hales’ committee members. We spoke to him of the different bureaus and how the current system being implemented, keeping all the bureaus at city hall, differs from the usual system and what the benefits of such an arrangement is. Another topic we discussed was budgeting plans and how the amount of money we have versus the amount of money we need can sometimes cut the projects we can do, or how completely we can do them.

The final activity we had during the day was a personality test. There were four possible options: blue, orange, green, and gold. Blue is a more theatrical and peaceful type, orange is a spontaneous and witty personality, green is analytic and calculating, while gold is a traditional and perfectionist type. It was interesting to note how much overlap there was between categories, and how there would be certain traits that applied to you from one color group, but didn’t apply in the category that you most fit into. For example, I was categorized as orange, but for my learning type, I identified as green. Some people’s groups fit them perfectly, while for others there was not as concrete of a type that they fit into.

— Lara

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