FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OBI, OBC and PBA thank Gov. Kate Brown for her leadership in the effort to resolve the ongoing challenges in downtown Portland.
In addition to the joint statement by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty calling for a “cease fire,” Gov. Brown’s outreach to the federal Administration indicates that there is a path forward for state and local leaders to take the lead to finally end the destructive and violent confrontations and restore order to Portland’s downtown core. Success in this effort by state and local leaders will allow all of us to sharpen our focus on the important issues that have been rightfully raised over the last several weeks: The need to finally address the ongoing reality of systemic racism, especially as it impacts Black Oregonians, and the imperative that all of us focus on the work we must do to achieve true equity in all aspects of our social and economic framework.
The economic fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the imperative of addressing equity issues. A report by ECONorthwest, released this week, showed Oregon’s communities of color, especially Black Oregonians and Native Americans, have been disproportionately impacted by the economic downturn. As business leaders, we must look introspectively to accept and address the reality that equity has not been achieved in Oregon’s business sector and commit to building an equity-focused recovery. This is a time to consciously support minority-owned businesses, and to mindfully ensure that Oregonians of color are prepared for and have access to economic opportunity, whether it is in terms of accessing jobs or building business enterprises.
Achieving an equity-focused recovery will require conscious commitment, careful listening, honest introspection and hard work. We are ready to do that work.