An American Crisis
An Intimate Look at Portland’s Housing Crisis
The ongoing housing crisis in Portland, Ore., has desensitized us to the real people who have been affected.
Since 2021, the photographer Jordan Gale has been documenting the worsening housing crisis in Portland. The city was once a crown jewel of the Pacific Northwest, hailed as a destination for the upper middle class eager to escape the West Coast’s crowded metropolises. But as Portland’s population increased, driving up housing prices, its unhoused population ballooned. Oregon has a dire housing gap: The state currently needs 140,000 additional units, and that number could reach over 440,000 in the next 20 years unless drastic efforts are made. When such crises become large enough to affect thousands of families every day, individual stories get lost in the blizzard of statistics. Over the past two years, Gale’s work chronicling his home city’s plight has expanded to incorporate portraiture and handwritten testimony, increasingly becoming a collaboration between the photographer and the people most affected. The result is a project that succeeds in highlighting the otherwise overlooked individuals whose lives have been forever altered by this devastating crisis.
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