Why Portland can’t fight gentrification with 387-square-foot condos

Portland may fail in its inaugural effort to provide homeownership opportunities to black residents displaced from gentrifying neighborhoods north of downtown.

The reason? Hardly anyone wants to live in the tiny, well-appointed condos that government leaders agreed to subsidize.

This spring, the Portland Housing Bureau and regional government Metro approved subsidies of nearly $660,000 for a new development along North Interstate Avenue. The 12-unit project is set to open next year, making it the first opportunity under Portland’s newly created “preference policy” aimed at atoning for past urban renewal sins.

But the Jarrett Street Condos haven’t resonated with the very people who are supposed to benefit. Units range in size from just 387 to 556 square feet.

“At this point, we’re very concerned,” said Garner Moody, who is developing the project.

Portland housing officials remain upbeat but emphasize they will recoup city money if the condos aren’t sold to approved buyers. Portland has set

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