A new city policy requiring public signs on brick buildings warning they might collapse in an earthquake is part of a long history of white supremacy aimed at forcing black people to move out of neighborhoods, the NAACP of Portland, Oregon, says.
The group on Thursday decried the policy affecting some 1,600 unreinforced masonry buildings that are on average 90 years old, many in areas with a predominantly black population, The Oregonian/OregonLive reports .
The policy “exacerbates a long history of systemic and structural betrayals of trust and policies of displacement, demolition, and dispossession predicated on classism, racism, and white supremacy,” the group said.
The NAACP said the policy will make it tougher for owners of brick buildings to get loans and will discourage investment. It says that means buildings will have to be sold, and that developers will demolish and redevelop, increasing the cost to live there and forcing current residents out.
“It speaks to our houses of worship and everything about the black presence in the North-Northeast area,” said the Rev. E.D. Mondaine, a pastor at Celebration Tabernacle Church in north Portland and president of the Portland NAACP chapter.
City officials say the ordinance approved in October is part of an effort ultimately aimed at upgrading old buildings to withstand an earthquake, though seismic upgrades likely wouldn’t be required for at least 20 years. Such upgrades could cost brick-building owners millions of dollars.