My view: Efforts to provide reparations take root in Oregon
Although California leads state-level slavery reparation efforts with Assembly Bill 3121, from which sprung the Reparations Task Force and its comprehensive report on the ripple effects of slavery, the state of Oregon has shown interest in working towards reparations for past and current harms against Black Oregonians.
Oregon Senate Bill 619 was in committee upon adjournment of the 2021 regular session. This bill states that "The Department of Revenue shall establish a program to pay reparations to Black Oregonians who can demonstrate heritage in slavery and who submit an application to the department," and "the department shall pay to each eligible applicant the amount of $123,000 in the form of an annuity payable annually for the life of the applicant."
Senate Joint Memorial 4 is a state effort to support federal House Resolution 40 (a proposed commission to study reparations). Senate Joint Memorial 4 states "Be It Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon: That we, the members of the Eighty-first Legislative Assembly, recognize the need to pursue avenues to implement reparations for the descendants of African slaves in the United States."
Emanuel Displaced Persons Association 2 (EDPA2) is as their website states "an ad hoc community-based organization with membership comprised of survivors and descendants of the Emanuel Hospital expansion forced removal. EDPA2 wants the city of Portland, Emanuel Hospital, Home Forward, formerly Portland Housing Authority, and Prosper Portland, formerly the Portland Development Commission (PDC) to do the right thing and return land they took from a majority Black community."
Robin Quirke is the research director of the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center, an independent and nonpartisan statewide opinion research organization. Quirke also co-directed the landmark study, Finding Common Ground in a Divided Culture. They live in Eugene.
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