Centuries of displacement of Blacks by railroads, developers and local government has happened nationwide
Portland, Ore. – A new hospital displaced many Blacks in Portland. A flood in nearby Vanport did the same. Exclusion laws prevented Blacks from going into Portland after dark years ago. In Jacksonville, Fla., Blacks were displaced due to a major highway running through their communities.
There are similar stories all over the country. Some Blacks were the victims of racist mob attacks in the 1920s and ‘30s in which local government allowed properties to be illegally taken away outright without compensation.
Many Blacks have fought for fairness in government contracting that continues to be a major issue. When Blacks do receive contracts, so often the company is a subcontractor versus a prime. Local governments use waivers to get around the federal government mandates on ensuring opportunities for nonwhite contractors.
In addition, when there is a positive awarding of a contract, racist business owners sue to take the contract away. The government may even reduce the amount of work on the contract that is given to a Black contractor.
The important role of Black media involvement, educating the public throughout the entire process, is often missing. Strategies to hold the state and local governments accountable from before the bidding process until the last nail is driven are crucial.
The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Blog Watch
A blog capturing forums and some important information about the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project can now be accessed by the public. Several social media pages on Facebook including Portland Prime, Oregon Business and Building Communities are carrying on discussions around the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project.
Themes have centered around construction as a wealth creation model, women in construction as part of the project’s diversity, as well as youth earning a living wage in construction after high school graduation. The importance of living wage jobs to decrease crime and violence in communities is a frequent point made. Many wonder if some positive history is being made in Portland.
In addition, local 1480AM KBMS Radio host Angela Jenkins has been having an ongoing discussion about the highway project on her long-running gospel show. The Resource Scholars Community website carried a special extended show on the matter. Since then, a blog has been created to gather these forums on the Portland highway project and post them all in one place.
The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Blog Watch also highlights Raimore Construction – a Black-owned company that is deeply rooted in the local community and is slated to do work on the I-5 Improvement Project as a prime contractor. This is major because this allows for the successful completion of this project to lead to a much bigger opportunity.
Traffic in the area of I-5 needing work can be a nightmare. Several deep community issues mentioned above are wrapped up in the process of this project. The now $800 million project creates a $5 billion opportunity for Raimore Construction down the road.
Raimore has a diverse workforce and a great quality work history that can’t be questioned. They also believe in paying their workers well and spreading the wealth in communities most affected by racism and poverty. The advantage of receiving a true living wage right out of high school and opportunities for advancement and growth seems to be the company’s modus operandi.
The importance of living wage jobs to decrease crime and violence in communities is a frequent point made.
This type of model can significantly decrease poverty, which is the biggest connection to crime and violence in communities across this country. City leaders in every town will do well to study what is going on in Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Transportation seems to have worked smarter this time than in the past by creating a process that is open to doing more than just talking about community involvement and opportunities for Blacks.
But there must be attention paid to this by the community. The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project Blog Watch is a growing platform where the public can go to see and hear those issues discussed.
This is an important resource. The blog watch includes videos and audio clips on an array of issues related to the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project. The new Resource Scholars Community blog can be found here.
The Resource Scholars is an online and on-air show focusing on Black news and is based in Portland, Ore. To learn more about Raimore Construction, reach out to DeAngelo Moaning via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.