Hollywood District, Jan. 1977 and Redlining

You really get a sense of the middle class, hustle-bustle of Portland’s Hollywood District in these pics from January 1977. Unlike other areas, Hollywood and neighboring Grant Park, have always been fairly stable neighborhoods, spared the worst ravages of crime, real (or imagined in the case of block busting) and consequent cratering home values. And except for Hollywood East, a soviet-styled nightmare at 45th and Broadway, the district never really succumbed to “urban renewal”.

We can assess the relative historical stability of a neighborhood by studying maps created for the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC). These “residential security maps” were used to indicate the level of security for real-estate investments in each surveyed area and contributed to lenders’ “redlining” or prohibiting loans to specific areas. The assumptions in redlining resulted in a large increase in residential racial segregation and urban decay in the United States. Urban planning historians theorize that the maps were used by private and public entities for decades afterwards to deny loans to people in black communities.

The maps have since been digitized and made available online by the University of Richmond on their fantastic site: Mapping Inequality.

Here are some snaps relevant to the discussion of Hollywood District, published in May, 1938 by HOLC.

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