Portland Reparations Project

The Portland Reparations Project (PRP) is an attempt to address the economic and social inequity of Black Portlanders as a result of racist policies such as redlining and segregation.

The major goal of the PRP will be to replace generational poverty with generational wealth building.  Owning a home or a business is one of the most reliable ways to create wealth via equity in a home or profit from a business.  Providing the necessary tools dramatically increases the likelihood of success in developing long term wealth that can be passed down from generation to generation.

It is never too late to do the right thing.

The PRP model consists of two components:  primary home ownership and business development and ownership.

The two core components will be a City-level effort to address the economic and social results stemming from redlining in the past, to, and including, the current segregation of Black Portlanders out of their historic neighborhoods to areas east, most notably East Portland (generally described as the neighborhoods supported by the East Portland Neighborhood Office) and/or out of the City altogether.  The City will contribute a substantial amount of money with a goal of $20 million to launch the project and aggressively pursue funding from the state and federal government as well as philanthropic organizations and crowdfunding platforms.

The current Preference Policy will wrap up committed projects and all remaining funds will be used to support the PRP.

Baseline data will be collected and results provided to funders and the public showing the outcomes from increased housing and employment security and the justification for additional financial support to continue and/or expand the program.

Qualifications for applicants will be decided by a community advisory board comprised exclusively of Black Portlanders who will determine the structure of the program (type of housing options, how often outcomes data is released, etc.), qualifications necessary to pursue the purchase of a home or buy-in into a group effort, the process to bring those who currently don’t qualify to a point they do, the support necessary to ensure the ongoing success of participants, and the viability of the program overall.  Participation will be available to any Black Portlander and/or their descendants who have been impacted by Portland’s racist past and present, meet the parameters for participation set forth by the advisory board, and have lived in Portland for a length of time also to be determined by the advisory board.

Home Ownership

Qualified applicants will go thru an educational program delivered by volunteer professionals that will provide them with all the tools necessary to purchase a primary home or buy-in to a group effort.  The fund will cover all expenses, including down payment.  All monies provided will be repaid with 0% interest over 30 to 40 years.  As more applicants are approved and begin to pay back their 0% loan, money will be returned to the program fund allowing more applicants to participate in addition to making the program mostly self-perpetuating.

Another possible mechanism to support efforts might be to reduce or eliminate property taxes on any property purchased by a program participant/s for as long as they and/or their descendants own that property.

Participants will also have access to ongoing education and support that can help them budget as well as how to maintain and repair their property investment.

Business Startup 

The business model will follow the same path as the home ownership component, but will help applicants identify and launch a business as well as all the various components of running a business, including, but not limited to:  advertising and promotion, budgeting, employee hiring and management, cost cutting tools, accounting, etc.

Parallel Efforts

If elected, I will also proclaim June to be Freedom Month and give it the same level of importance as Rose Festival and Pride, which also take place in June.

Currently, Portland’s Juneteenth celebration is minuscule in comparison to Rose Festival and Pride despite the profound event in American history it celebrates.

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is an American holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America, outside Native American lands. Texas was the most remote of the slave states, and the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, was not enforced there until after the Confederacy collapsed. The name of the observance is a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth”, the date of its celebration. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 46 of the 50 states — Wikipedia

I will use my position as Mayor to help make Portland’s Juneteenth celebration as commensurate as possible to the importance of the event it commemorates.  Efforts will also celebrate the contributions of Black Portlanders to our City as well as those at the state and national level. 

This document created by Mark White and made possible by the Mark for Portland 2020 campaign.