Between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s, Auburn Gresham experienced a decline in economic investments. Many businesses and financial institutions moved to other areas of the city and to the suburbs. However, community forces quickly mobilized to maintain and strengthen Auburn Gresham’s image, improve neighborhood safety, and bring strong businesses back to the community. Local leaders like Betty Jo Swanson, then-Alderman Terry Peterson and Fr. Mike Pfleger of St. Sabina Church fought to regain control of the neighborhood and bring back viable retail stores, restaurants, banks, and equitable resources.
Today Auburn Gresham is a predominantly African-American community, where more than 47% of the residents are homeowners. Neighborhood residents continue to be the backbone of the Auburn Gresham community with their involvement in block clubs, political and civic organizations, homeowners’ associations, and religious institutions. The annual 79th Street Renaissance Festival and Peace Jam, a vibrant community event, is held in Auburn Gresham on the second Saturday of September. Local landmarks include the Highland Theater, once home to vaudeville and the beautiful St. Sabina Church. Watch the video below to learn more about this exciting community.