American News Aug 25, 2020 8:44 PM EST

Portland mayor promotes $62 million black-only fund amid race riots

While Black Lives Matter rioters have been destroying local businesses and causing public mayhem for over two months, Ted Wheeler promoted a fund exclusively for "Black relief and resiliency."

Portland mayor promotes $62 million black-only fund amid race riots
Mia Cathell The Post Millennial
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While Black Lives Matter rioters have been destroying local businesses and causing public mayhem for over two months, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler promoted a coronavirus relief fund exclusively for "Black relief and resiliency."

"The Oregon Cares Fund [TOCF] is now accepting applications," Wheeler tweeted today. "Black families and business owners experiencing housing insecurity, emergency needs, or a loss in revenue due to COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for cash grants."

TOCF is allocated by the Emergency Board of the Oregon Legislature "in response to the demonstrated health and economic disparities experienced by the Black community," the site stipulates.

The state fund is a $62 million "targeted investment," a sub-grant from the the United States Treasury’s disbursement of Coronavirus Relief Funds received by Oregon under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Cash grants are meant to provide black residents, black-owned businesses, and black community based organizations "with the resources [needed] to weather the global health pandemic and consequent recession."

The black community across Oregon is in the midst of two pandemics, the fund's website claims. First is the "400 years of racial violence and strategic divestment" across the nation, "further entrenched in Oregon through intentional policy and practice." Second is the COVID-19 pandemic that is "widening socio-economic disparities between the average white and Black Oregonian." This gap can supposedly be narrowed through TOCF, fund officials argue.

TOCF serves as the "beginning steps to equitably addressing the systemic disadvantages experienced by the Black community."

Under historic disparities, the fund's creators cite the Great Depression, asserting that black households across the country have reportedly lost 40 percent of their wealth and have not recovered proportionally to that of white households.

From 2006 to 2010, 29 percent of black families in Oregon lived in poverty as opposed to 12 percent of white families, the site sources a 2019 report. 52 percent of black households experience asset poverty compared to 24 percent of white households in Multnomah County, where Wheeler's Portland resides.

"This is further evidenced by the fact that white households make on average $67,715 per annum, more than twice that of Black households with an average of $29,825 per annum," the fund's organizers continue.

COVID-19 also exacerbates poverty for Black Oregonians, comprising 7.2 percent of the general population but a little over 16 percent of the homeless population in Multnomah County, the page then references a 2019 paper.

To account for this "discrepancy in data as well as the disproportionate percentage of Black Oregonians impacted by poverty," fund officials "modestly request" that 4.5 percent of CRF funding, $62 million, be allocated for TOCF. Oregon had already received $1,388,506,837 from the CRF.

In July, the Oregon Legislature voted to allocate $200 million from the federally funded CARES Act toward specific communities and sectors of the economy, thus authorizing the $62 million TOCF sought.

"Distribution should reflect an investment in those disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to pre-existing biases in our socio-economic systems," fund officials conclude in its overview.

The Post Millennial reached out to TOCF administrators, asking if the fund is open to all state residents regardless of race, but have not heard back by the time of publication.

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