Category Archives: How we see it

It’s The Little Things

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It’s the little things.

I’m happy to see that Legacy Health systems have stepped up to repair the damage on the corner of NE Willams and Stanton. A few months back, some likely intoxicated fool drove a vehicle into the fence and signage on this corner and destroyed everything. And within the last month, a black man (not the first) was killed 50 feet from the corner. Across the street, there is an open drug market right next to Immaculate Heart catholic church. They are exchanging everything from Pampers to stolen chain saws for drugs. I’ve lived down the street for nearly 40 years and know it is a menacing corner where outright lawlessness abides. I attribute this situation to our local politicians who have devalued police scrutiny on corners like this and thrown our entire criminal justice system into chaos. Moreover, as was the black man recently killed, for months now, it has been a source of various criminal activity adjacent to and inside historic Dawson Park. I see no end in sight. 

However, it’s very heartening to see the Emannuel hospital (Legacy Health) take responsibility for restoring some sense of order and decency to this corner. It is the little things that are going to make a difference in our community. We all know that Legacy historically has done some bad stuff to the black community but we need to give a shout-out to Legacy Health Systems for today attempting to repair the breach with a little thing. 

 Daye, Rustie A :LSO Facility Services <RDAYE@LHS.ORG>

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The “Walking Dead”

The “Walking Dead”

I know I am not the only one who is confused and frustrated by the precipitous decline in the quality of life for us living in Portland.  And I have always been perplexed by the lack of empirical analysis from academia as to why things have gone south and how we change this miserable situation. Well, this explanation by Don Dupay is the best I have seen so far addressing the issue of homelessness. Just yesterday it was heartbreaking driving north on NE 33rd toward Marine  Dr. I felt like I was entering a real-life episode of the “Walking Dead”. Don’s explanation makes sense to me or am I missing something?

The "Walking Dead" 6[0]=AT2aDnvvcalf3gx8m5HfYt8nTdeu2fbIlOkcfj0gnFmfpsRecxnJkLKOFypC8LAziyX8-_x7PH5QeWzhDEBSe6zTR_WQbBOLO2yF1AHxutn7jP-WtWK9ys8NQDRhb4IMU8rp

Canaan made it happen.

He really made it happen

Without airing a lot of dirty laundry, the Oregonian headlines only tells part of the story.

.Canaan made it happen. 8

Not to diminish anyone’s efforts, and while all these politicians are taking credit, when in fact this one tall brother (Canaan Chatman) working inside of Andersen Construction brought this project across the finish line. Without Canaan, Allen Temple could have been struggling in the wilderness for at least another 7 years.

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Thank you Canaan, I’m going to tell the truth.

Dr. Joy brings “Fire”

“Fire”, “Fire”, “Fire”.

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Dr. Joy DeGruy

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a symposium sponsored by the Black Parent Initiative (BPI). The star presenter and almost Portland native, was Dr. Joy DeGruy author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. All I can say is if you were not there, she brought “FIre”. I spend a lot of time trying to reconcile why black people are so bad off in a society that espouses so many noble creeds for justice and equity. But we all know the hypocrisy is breathtaking. This weekend, Dr. Joy put the picture in focus and told the story like you would not believe. Also not surprising, she brought real solutions. Check it out because among other things, it is a remedy to help improve  black mental health and a way forward.

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Dr. King’s Legacy is Shamed

Dr. King’s Legacy is Shamed

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I could not sleep the last few nights. Now that the MLK holiday is over I could not stop thinking about how over the years so many organizations, politicians and systems have been “Pimping” Kings’ legacy. I am emotional about it but I know Dr. King must be turning over in his grave. We have desecrated his name by allowing others to steal his purpose and compromise his mission. You have to ask yourself, would Dr. King be satisfied or approving of what we have accomplished since his death? I think not.

In Portland, we have an opportunity to realize part of Kings’ vision. But our leaders are still tinkering and sputtering and spouting empty plateaus even when the economic equity path forward is plain as day.

I wrote this about Dr. Kings’ holiday, hoping some local media outlets would print it. The Oregonian printed a short revised version which I appreciated but you need the full context. I would recommend all who see substance in this post would contact your local politicians and tell them to let us cash this check:

Portland Desperately Needs a Leader on the Rose Quarter Project

By: James Posey

Nothing is rosy in the City of Roses. Our house is on fire and our commissioners are nowhere to be found, nor have we heard of a plan to boost jobs and economic security in Portland.

Where’s the leadership from our government officials?

We are at a historic moment to capitalize on the largest federal infrastructure investment in our nation’s history, yet City of Portland bureaus have been told to withhold permit applications on the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project.

Contractors of color throughout the city have much to gain from the project, small business owners who have never worked on a government project will have a shot to grow their business qualifications, increase capacity, and create better-paying jobs right here in urban Portland, the historical core of the black community.

We need our governments as well as private industry to take responsibility by putting their money where their mouths are and uplifting our community with the opportunities, skill-building, and dollars that help to create and sustain intergenerational wealth.

Puttering is on the ballot this year, and it’s not a winning strategy. Those who talk intergenerational wealth and sleep while implementation opportunities languish should know they will be held accountable.

The Call

Leadership is admired by many, yet few actually live up to its status. Leadership is more than speaking up for a quick sound bite or news clip.

Leadership is taking a chance and trusting your intuition. Doing what’s right, not popular.

Where are the leaders in this town?

Mayor Wheeler, Portland commissioners, METRO, Multnomah County, we need you back at the table.

Governments officials from Oregon all the way to Washington DC have been peppered in words like “restorative justice” and “racial equity” when promoting infrastructure packages.

But what impacts do these words really mean for Black families in our region who have been locked out of economic opportunities for generations?

To the young climate activists, I hear you loud and clear, but you are reaping the benefits of generational privilege. Black people are disproportionately unemployed and struggling to make ends meet since the start of the COVID pandemic.

The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is alive and well.

Never has a project of this magnitude, overseen by ODOT, had a workforce advocate tasked with proactively identifying, recruiting, and helping place formerly incarcerated individuals and people of color with employers actively hiring. We found this innovative opportunity, on this project, with this contractor (Hamilton Sundt, in association with Raimore Construction). This aspect alone will prove the most meaningful in fulfilling the long-held promise of equal opportunity for living wage jobs.

In fact, 90 homicides, many young Black and Brown men and women, were reported in 2021 in Portland, a new high overshadowing the 70 homicides in 1987. I argue that this is also a real climate issue.

Ultimately what our children need right now are jobs, hope, and opportunities.

In his last speech before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left us with these parting words, “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

The Rose Quarter Project is one of those checks, and it’s time to cash it.



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Deeply Saddened

I am deeply saddened by recent news of the death of Harry Alford, founder of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. I was equally saddened by the death of his wife Kay just a few months earlier. I wish I could convey to the black community the magnitude of this loss and its adverse impact on the black business community. Harry and Kay were giants and visionaries in the area of black business development. I did not always agree with their political alignment, but overall, you could not argue with their fearless advocacy for black businesses.

Harry was in Portland a few years back exploring the development of a Black Chamber. Many years ago, I attempted to stand up a chapter in Portland but found it too overwhelming.  I could not finalize the action due to the founding of the National Association of Minority Contractors local chapter during that same period. Tinkering with the development of a black business chamber has persisted ever since the days of the National Business League formation in the early seventies. In Portland, unscrupulous black people liked this concept and have tried to exploit it over the decades.  In recent days we have had some precarious attempts to put together a black chamber chapter. Unfortunately, it is proposed by unscrupulous individuals destined to fail. You can tell the economic viability and health of a black community by the prominence or the lack thereof of a thriving Black Business Chamber. So, what’s Black Portland’s Economic health status?

RIP Harry and Kay

Georgia on my Mind

Georgia On My Mind.

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I am beginning to love the of state of Georgia. All my life I’ve thought of the South as a foreign country hostile to black people. My folk is originally from Mississippi and I never heard anything good from them about that state or the surrounding states. But in the last year or so I began to change my opinion specifically about Georgia. If you think about it, Georgia saved our beacon in the last election. And it had to be a bunch of rednecks who saw how ridiculously crazy Trump was and couldn’t stand it anymore. Fast forward to today’s Ahmaud Arbery verdicts and again, a mostly white jury rescues the country from racist insanity. Southern white people in Georgia are Heroes, re-establishing some sense of justice. They get my applause and application. Thank God for decent, fair-minded white people, especially those in the South. The discernment is not universal, less we forget Rittenhouse and Wisconsin.

Pastor Hennessee Steps Up.

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Pastor Hennessee Steps Up

I am so glad one of our acknowledged community leaders is stepping up to support common-sense measures to improve the safety and liveability of Portland. Thanks, Rev. Hennessee.  Those who consider themselves leaders and are now slilent are contributing to the problem. We must immediately knock down those insane ideas of defunding the police and give Ted Wheeler the ability to show a backbone. He needs to and stop trying to act like he is mending the fence after letting all horses out the gate. Again, try to heal the damage JoAnn Hardesty has caused and make sure there is broad-based community oversight.

Portland is now a spooky, dirty and unsafe city on Halloween 2021

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Portland is now a spooky, dirty and unsafe city on Halloween 2021

I’m not a Halloween guy but since it’s Halloween I want to tell you why I’m scared.  Look around Portland you can see how bad things have gotten and this is enough to make anybody scared. It’s spooky that the City is in such a mess. I can’t help but think about what Daryl Turner said, something like “this town has turned into a cesspool”. I have to agree with him. I just wanted everybody to know it doesn’t have to be this way. I hold all these public elected officials responsible at all levels.
I just returned from Indianapolis, my home town and never in my life would I have predicted I would say that Naptown is a cleaner, better ran city than Stumptown. It is truly a tale of two cities and Indy wins hands down.
I don’t want to criticize without trying to do something about it. That’s why I support the Coalition Black Men with their graffiti abatement program and have joined People for Portland’s effort to hold elected officials accountable for their lack of leadership.
The big thing is, I am going to work hard to get JoAnn Hardesty removed from office. I will work just as hard to get her out as I did to help her get elected. She is a problem and not a solution. I made a big mistake supporting her.

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Portland is sick:

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Billy Webb Elks will Rebound

This is our place

The fire at Billy Webb Elks last week brought sad thoughts about how fragile black institutions and organizations continue to be. It is not the first time I have witnessed a boarded-up Elks (see before 2008 remodel). The truth is that many of us have recognized it is and continues to be one of the few black-owned and led properties and organizations of any size in Oregon. So, it is sad to watch this incident after so many well-meaning, community-mined people of all races worked so hard to build up this property and organization. But let’s be clear, black people are absolutely resilient and they may be down, but don’t count us out.
Since its remodel by NAMC-Oregon (the National Association of Minority Contractors) in 2008 the building has served multiple community purposes. It has been the go-to place for all kinds of community events focused on making the community a better place to live and inspiring us to live a better life. This summer it became a popular place for a Street Market and Pop Up Entrepreneurs. It was beautiful watching the young people do their thing and the building being used as an instrument for black progress. Let’s get busy and help them get back up and running again soon.