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Keywords:

  • Africans;
  • Pacific Northwest;
  • refugees;
  • Russians;
  • Ukrainians.

ABSTRACT. The residential patterns, adaptation experiences, and impacts of immigrants on North American cities have been well documented in the geographical literature. In this article, we build on prior work by testing the theories of Gaim Kibreab, who identified three factors that shape the experiences of recent refugees: attitudes of the receiving society; current policy environments; and employment opportunities in local communities. We analyze some of the ways in which these factors operate as interrelated systems for two comparative groups of foreign-born migrants in Portland, Oregon: sub-Saharan Africans; and Russians and Ukrainians. Using a mixed-methods approach, we triangulate data from a blend of in-depth interviews, participant observation in the community and at refugee and immigrant social service agencies, census and other statistical records, and cartographic analyses to report on the findings of our work. Data suggest that the residential, economic, and social spaces of new refugees are constructed as a complex multiplicity of networks and relationships that link time and place