Tag Archives: Office of Equity

Walking the talk for an Office of Equity and Human Rights

By Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Mayor Sam Adams

Portland has the reputation of being a progressive and innovative city, however, not all Portlanders have access to opportunities or feel welcome. People of color and people with disabilities experience higher rates of poverty and unemployment, and have shorter lifes compared with other Portlanders.

Despite past and current equity-related efforts of various bureaus in the Portland City government, significant disparities persist.  The median income for black-headed households is $30,000, while the median income for white-headed households is $46,800 (State of Black Oregon, 2009).  Although 26.3 percent of the people living in Multnomah County are of color, nearly 30 percent of people who are unhoused are of color (Communities of Color in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile, 2010).  The unemployment rate for persons with disabilities living outside of institutions in Oregon is 74 percent (U.S. Dept of Labor).  These numbers do not reflect who we want to be as Portlanders.

What city government has done in the past hasn’t resulted in the desired outcome of everyone sharing in the riches of our city. Disparities persist in city hiring, promotions and contracting, and services in neighborhoods. To achieve different outcomes, we need a different approach. Continue reading

Office of Equity will ensure means for a healthy community

By Andrew Riley, Contributing Columnist

Over the past 10 years, dozens of studies have highlighted the growing disparities between Portland’s increasingly diverse communities: rental discrimination on the basis of national origin, disproportionate levels of violence suffered by our city’s LGBT community, a startling number of “food deserts” east of 82nd Avenue and many more. It’s time to tackle these significant issues head-on, and aggressively, and the proposed Office of Equity ordinance is an important first step. Continue reading

SR weighs in on Office of Equity

We are a great city. And we are a city of inequality.

Without adequate shelter, people on the streets are criminalized by local government. African Americans are faced with staggering unemployment. Latinos and other immigrant neighbors are forced to go underground and hide family members and friends for fear of being deported. Refugees from war-torn countries are told to integrate into a new culture, language and economy on a dime. The LGBTQ community and others are faced with hate and intolerance, including being denied the rights of marriage. People with disabilities and the elderly are rarely employed. The list goes on, entrenched from generations before us. Continue reading