From the perspective of Sacramento, one of the most balanced cities in the country in term of ethnic diversity—while often suggested we model ourselves after most of the mid sized cities mentioned in this article, Portland for instance—perhaps there is a reason for them to model themselves after us.
This article from New Geography looks at the lack of diversity in several cities offered as model cities.
“Among the media, academia and within planning circles, there’s a generally standing answer to the question of what cities are the best, the most progressive and best role models for small and mid-sized cities. The standard list includes Portland, Seattle, Austin, Minneapolis, and Denver. In particular, Portland is held up as a paradigm, with its urban growth boundary, extensive transit system, excellent cycling culture, and a pro-density policy. These cities are frequently contrasted with those of the Rust Belt and South, which are found wanting, often even by locals, as “cool” urban places.
“But look closely at these exemplars and a curious fact emerges. If you take away the dominant Tier One cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles you will find that the “progressive” cities aren’t red or blue, but another color entirely: white.
“In fact, not one of these “progressive” cities even reaches the national average for African American percentage population in its core county. Perhaps not progressiveness but whiteness is the defining characteristic of the group.
“The progressive paragon of Portland is the whitest on the list, with an African American population less than half the national average. It is America's ultimate White City. The contrast with other, supposedly less advanced cities is stark.”