The Port of Portland’s, Portland International Airport has been recognized as America’s best airport. It’s posted all over their website. The question is, the best airport for whom and for what?
Not for African Americans. Not for Oregon’s black community, and certainly not for black businesses. The truth is that there is no presence of African Americans at the airport, except as porters and shoe shine attendants. In the midst of massive renovation and modernization, it’s as if time stood still for black opportunities at the nation’s best airport. The dirty little secret about the airport concessionaire business is that it represents the best example of a “good old boy” system in this modern day era. Despite the federal Airport Concessionaire Disadvantage Business (ACDBE) program, entry and membership requirements make inclusion as difficult as trying to join a white only county club in the antebellum south. There is a modern day twist, many of the big contractors, Hudson News and Host, are foreign owned. Black businesses are being bumped by the Italians.
Think about it the next time you stroll through the Portland International airport. All that business revenue going into everybody’s pocket except blacks. Needless to say for blacks, this sector deserves attention and is critical to gaining economic capacity in this whitest of cities. Everyone with an interest in the economic health of the black community should put this on their radar screen and act accordingly.
For Blacks are not welcome in America’s Best Airport.