Gentrification Town

I’ve moved out of three cities ’cause I couldn’t pay the rent
Folks like me weren’t welcome so I packed it up and went
It’s always the same story, I find a place I wanna be
And soon enough I’m joined by all the other refugees
Then watch the websites warble, this is the hippest place to hang
Hey check out Division, it’s the sweetest thing since Tang
Then watch the millionaires come in, build a luxury hotel
Sipping coffee on the sidewalk, saying isn’t this place swell

Rents are going up and the neighborhood’s going down
Here in Gentrification Town

See the families leave the city, watch how they accept their fate
Except the ones who had the timing right and bought some real estate
The ones who had the timing and the ones who had the credit
The ones who paid attention to whoever it was who said it
This is a nation that won’t suffer utopians or fools
He who has the gold rules
He who has the gold, he who bought the stock
He who is the landlord who owns your block


They say you can’t blame the yuppies, they’re just responding to the will
Of the market and the strength of the US dollar bill
But the dollar’s only strong if you have some to your name
Otherwise you’re on the business end of the game
The end that just stays home ’cause they can’t afford the show
The end that has to pack their things and find a place to go
The new hip place to be, for a little while, then
The wrecking balls move in and chase us out again


Buy/share album:

Sheet music:
Gentrification Town

“Gentrification Town” originally appeared on the 2014 Bandcamp album, When I’m Elected President.

In Portland, Oregon, gentrification is the new normal. Neighborhoods throughout the city are seeing massive amounts of old homes being demolished, old trees being cut down, and shabbily-built, overpriced new houses, condos and yuppie restaurants being built where they once stood. Rent in my apartment has almost doubled since I moved in eight years ago, at the time I’m writing this. Much of the neighborhood is really unrecognizable, compared to how it was when I moved to town. They say the politicians here are progressive, but that’s complete and utter bullshit. Most of them are servants of the rich, posing as progressives in order to get votes. How do I know this? Not by listening to their lies, but by seeing what they do — the only real measure of any politician. And what they do is allow rampant gentrification, keep rent control illegal, and create a convenient fig leaf of legitimacy for the developers by talking about the glories of high-density and “affordable” housing. Affordable? It was already affordable — not any more. High-density housing? Great idea. Let’s build subsidized cohousing apartment complexes everywhere. Not these ugly little houses made mostly of wood chips and glue that they erect in a matter of days after destroying nice old houses and logging nice old shade trees.