A warrior is gone
Jerry Tyler, Robert Andrews and Bond (Jerry’s brother)
A warrior is gone. A couple of weeks ago Jerry Tyler passed but I am not sure he understood that he was a warrior (he might have thought he was just a hard-working Black man). He was the “J” in J&R Trucking, part of the TRIAD of the Black dump trucking firms working on the NE Interstate Light Rail project (NE Urban Trucking Consortium 2001). Jerry Tyler and Robert Andrews of J&R Trucking were on the team of black truckers who endured the racist attacks by white truckers and a system that tried everything to exclude us from working in the industry. Work Horse Construction, Rock and Road Construction, and J&R Trucking were Black firms forming the base of the consortium.
They called us “Niggers” in raggedy trucks on the CB radios and tried to tear up our trucks in the loading and dumping process. They did everything to discourage us from working on that project. But thanks to Fred Hansen the TRI-Met administrator, and Bill Bruce, a white Stacey &Witbeck project manager at the time, we not only survived, but we eventually thrived. This is the point where TRI-Met becomes the region’s premier public agency promoting true economic equity and inclusion for Black contractors.
The consortium dissolved after the project and most of us are now retired but racism throughout the region remains. A new generation of Black construction businesses is now on the scene. But keep your eye on the procurement process involving the remodel of Jefferson High School if you want to see a case study of modern-day racism. More to come on that project.