The Mercury tries to make hay with the Black I-5 dispute.
But here is my response:
While I thought, your article did explain the generic thoughts expressed in the NAACP meeting it failed to discuss the underlying concerns of some community members. First, the AVT vision is a concept proposal and an approach with no proven performance anywhere. While they try to dress it up with a few well-known black leaders, at its core are white developers with no proven commitment or evidence of economic empowerment for the black community. In fact, to the contrary, at least one of them has made a fortune off the misery of black people while fostering token inclusion partnerships. http://www.golocalpdx.com/search/fb91595de3e5159d44c6fde6384eb9eb/
Next, many of us question the viability of putting low-income housing on top of a highway knowing that Portland is adjacent to or on an earthquake fault line and we all are waiting for the Big One. We also see the hypocrisy of screaming about air pollution at Tubman middle school while fostering a highway cover housing project most likely to end up like Cabrini Green but be worst because it will function as an auto emissions tailpipe to the heavens. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Cabrini-Green
Then there is the doublespeak about ownership scenarios, which amounts to long lease arrangements at best. In addition, if the AVT proposal sounds good in fantasy, the construction business and jobs model alternative are imperative in practice to reach any level of economic capacity and sustainable self-sufficiency within the Black community. Waiting or delaying instead of achieving both proposed objectives could mean losing both opportunities.
Finally, AVT puts a target on ODOT’s back when they know that all of the government agencies are complicit in the demise of black people’s circumstances in this community. They have given cover to the City of Portland, Metro, Prosper Portland, Multnomah County, and others who contribute to ongoing racist institutionalized systems responsible for the dire economic conditions that hobble the black community. It is irresponsible journalism to neglect that aspect of the story.
As someone who has seen the various movements to improve the economic conditions of black people, I know that programs might have good intentions but in real life, it is the execution that has failed the best-laid plans. The construction business model offered is unique (like nowhere in the country) and is pre-imminent in its ability to execute a restorative/restoration plan. I have seen it. The problems and issues of the black community will never be solved in the absence of a proven execution agent.