LOOK (it) UP

PLACE 2017 was given the task of creating a wayfinding system to promote the Black Williams Project. We then realized that promoting businesses owned by people of color was equally as important. So we decided to promote both minority owned businesses and the Black Williams Project. In order to promote the art, we included stickers with the word LOOK and an arrow to show where the art is located. So to promote the people of color owned businesses, we decided to keep it connected and call it LOOK (it) UP. 


People of Color Owned Businesses.


The Albina neighborhood was once a thriving black community full of local businesses, family homes, and a strong sense of unity and culture. However, between the 1950s and 1970s, there was dislocation due to urban renewal,widespread disinvestment in the area by the city as well as redlining and racist lending policies. By the 1980s, the area, once known as Black Broadway, lost many of its long time residents resulting in community trauma. .

However, beginning in the 1990s, low property prices and various city projects brought more white people to the neighborhood. This more “desireable” population resulted in an increase in investment from the city, and the gentrification of most of Albina, including the node of the neighborhood, North Williams Avenue. In 1990, black people made up 70% of the population on Williams, while white people only made up 21%. But in 2010, those numbers drastically changed, black people made up 27% of the population, meanwhile whites made up 54%. Because of the decades of significant changes many of the black residents chose to, or were forced to, leave the area. Many businesses closed, or moved to other parts of the city, and as of the summer of 2017, only a few black-owned business remain on North Williams Avenue.

Gentrification, and historical disinvestment are reasons resulting in fewer businesses owned by people of color in Albina. This is why the advocation of businesses owned by people of color is so important. By advertising and giving people the choice to support businesses that have never been given a fair chance, this webpage, Look (it) up, attempts to increase commerce for businesses owned by people of color and give these establishments equitable investment. Below you will find a list of resources that will lead you to people of color-owned businesses. Please use our site or any of the resources listed below when deciding where to spend your  money.


Organizations and projects that promote the black history in Albina

Historic Black Williams

The Historic Black Williams Project was created in the early summer of 2017. The Portland Bureau of Transportation, with the help of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, installed art pieces along North Williams that tell the history of that neighborhood.


OAME (Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs) is a non-profit, tax exempt membership organization with a mission to promote and develop entrepreneurship and economic development for ethnic minorities in the State of Oregon & SW Washington.

Check out the links below to see how you can help local businesses owned by people of color.

Racist Sandwich

Racist Sandwich is a website/podcast that promotes restaurants owned by people of color in Portland. 

Where you can eat to support black owned restaurants

Here's where you can eat to support black-owned restaurants in Portland

Minority-owned Business Directory

Travel Portland’s directory has a search engine featuring an option to search specifically for over 100 minority owned businesses all over Portland.

PDX Eater

The PDX Eater wrote about a white owned burrito food truck that recently closed. The article tackles how white people appropriate minority businesses. 

Black Owned Business Network

Black Owned Business Network has a list of businesses owned and operated by black people from all around the country!

Support Black Restaurant Days

The Oregonian created an article about how and when we can support black owned restaurants.