By Jimmy Wilson, Co-Chair
As I look into the mirror each morning, I ask myself what do I see concerning the City of Portland. Do I see a city that resembles the city I once knew? A city that addresses itself to the needs of its people? As I note the extremely adverse media attention our city has received in many months, I ask myself: What is the mindset of the leadership we put in office? Don’t they see?! Don’t they care? Are they truly searching for answers to the problems that are literally destroying the beauty of the City of Roses? Is there a concern for improving the livability of our great city?
We blame much of our social ills on the Pandemic even though we were in trouble long before the disease took its toll. Some examples are: We have a Black Generation arguing with each other over land ownership who lost their land to others through no fault of their own; ODOT desires to expand the I-5 corridor while remaining under vigorous argument and lawsuits; the coalition of neighborhoods and the neighborhoods’ boards must bond together instead of faultfinding. These are just some of the innumerable challenges that must be addressed immediately.
Our City-wide communities need more help and support from our local police bureau. How can this be done when Portland’s Chief of Police announced the oncoming possibility of losing 200 officers who are stepping down due to controversial politics or retirement. Included here is the downsizing of police funding while simultaneously murders are up 30 percent due to gun violence. The US Government is suing the City of Portland over various challenges versus working as a team to overcome community issues. All of these adverse issues could be addressed if we had a healthy collaboration between a supportive community and city leadership. Already, Portland is being laughed at by other American cities for losing it! Are the glorious days of the spirit of the Rose Festival gone? Have we lost forever what was in recent years a bright city that millions would come, visit and relocate to? What was once a haven is now a trash heap.
It is high time that we who love our city take our rightful place in leadership rather than sitting back. We must lead the way to return our city to health, positive social justice, and social change.
What is the NEED?
1) Wealth creation for people of color since too many black families have been squeezed out of their homes and businesses by power brokers.
Note: it would take two hundred to two hundred and fifty years to retain, in today’s market, what the black people have lost in the past 50 years.
2) We need black teachers teaching black children the heritage of black history not to lose this precious history in our schools.
3) Black people need their own medical facilities. This topic in itself would take pages to write about.
4) Afro American’s need more control of their own affordable housing; they need ownership and need to be planted back into the soil to which they were accustomed: Reasonably price living conditions.
More about our city: From downtown to the neighborhood (I-5) offramp, we see people crammed into tents and trash strewn helter-skelter. All this represents a people seeking hope while our vested leaders do little to lead and support city-wide healing of this dilemma. Question: is the government of Portland doing all it can to make this degradation well? Are the people we voted in just collecting healthy paychecks without checks and balances to support their success and support in making sound decisions for this city? Do we have people following the financial paper trail representing money spent on governmental paychecks versus creating the immediate financial need for city-wide healing? The Chief of police – and his constituents – including the DOJ and the Attorney General cannot do it all in helping the people left behind. We need people holding high governmental offices to come down to where the rubber meets the road.