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PORTLAND, Ore. -- "About the best one can say about Portland is that it wasn't any worse in displacing blacks than other major cities," says Darrell Millner, Portland State University emeritus professor of black history.

The dismantling of Portland's African-American community over the past 25 years has its roots in the city's early history.

Technically, African-Americans weren't allowed to live in Oregon at all until 1926, when black exclusion laws passed in 1844 through 1847, before Oregon achieved statehood, were overturned. Meanwhile, the Portland Realty Board, whose Code of Ethics prohibited its members from selling property in white neighborhoods to blacks and Asians until 1952, assured that African-Americans were corralled in poorer parts of the city.