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Bobbie Foster preparing her speech
By Helen Silvis | The Skanner News
Published: 20 January 2014

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 7:40 a.m. Staff and crew here. First guest to arrive? Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

 7:59 a.m. Commissioner Smith, Mary Nolan, Roy Jay all arrive. 

8:37 a.m. Event Emcee Bobbie Dore Foster, Editor of The Skanner News Group welcomes the guests and introduces the head table.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. It is my pleasure to welcome you to The Skanner Foundation’s 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast. I am Bobbie Dore Foster, editor and vice president of The Skanner News Group.

For the first time this event is being broadcast live on Portland Community Media television, Channel 30. And our multi-media editor, Helen Silvis, is live-blogging the breakfast, as well.

Thank you for being with us this morning at the Oregon Convention Center. You are a part of the national recognition of the great American hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who gave his life for equal rights for all people.

What an awesome legacy Dr. King left us. He left us a challenge to live a life of service, a life of generosity and love toward all people, a life that brings hope to those who want to give up because they just don’t see a reason to go on. Dr. King called upon us to lead, question, inspire and hold people and institutions accountable for doing what is right and just.

Dr. King stood for food, shelter, employment, education and health care, were not privileges but rights. Remember when he led the poor people’s march? He had many critics, but he persevered. We must continue Dr. King’s work. As a Baptist minister he sought guidance from God; his faith was deep-rooted and unshakable. Let us continue his legacy. There is still much work to be done. 

Maybe some people consider this just another holiday, but some people decided to make this a day on, not a day off. You are part of that group.

Thank you all for being here this morning to celebrate America's greatest civil rights leader. You all are a reflection of Dr. King's  “beloved community” and we are grateful that you choose to begin this special holiday in his honor by being here this morning.

8:40 a.m. Singer Jeanne Wiggins leads the audience in the Black National Anthem: "Lift Ev’ry Voice."

8:43 a.m. Invocation from Pastor Emmett Wheatfall of Remember the Hope Christian Fellowship Church.

"Martin, This morning we hear you. Martin, We see you. Martin, We feel you. We sit at the table of your sacrifice, therewith we praise this new morning. ... We praise this new morning. We give thanks for this new day. We celebrate you Martin, you, on this the Martin Luther King day." 

8:45 a.m. Breakfast is served. Emcee Bobbie Dore Foster introduces guests at the head table:

Neil MacFarlane, general manager of TriMet; Roger Thompson, vice president for enrollment management at the University of Oregon; Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman; Patrick Quinton, executive director of the Portland Development Commission; Portland Mayor Charlie Hales; Dr. Bruce Goldberg, keynote speaker and interim executive director of Cover Oregon; Bobbie Dore Foster; Ben Basom, director of communications for the Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters; 
 Steve Frisby, president of Portland Division of Safeway; Gary Oxley, president of Oxley and Associates; Jack Roberts, executive director of the Oregon Lottery; and Pastor Emmett Wheatfall.

8;47 a.m. Mayor Hales gives proclamation and welcomes all the elected officials in the audience, says the Skanner breakfast is now aq central event in the life of the city and reads the proclamation about Dr. King.  "Dr. King helped us understand equal rights is not a destination, but a journey."

8:51 a.m. Video shows as breakfast is served. Community members filmed at Highland Christian Center talk about Dr. King's work and what remains to be done. 

9:03 a.m. The Skanner News Editor Lisa Loving asks guests to consider contributing to the North Portland Multimedia Training Center, a project of The Skanner Foundation. Introduces keynote speaker:

"Our keynote speaker is in the middle of a volcano right now. The former Director of the Oregon Department of Human Services, he led the formation of the Oregon Health Authority, which he also currently heads.

He is chair of the American Public Human Services Association's National Policy Council.

He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 from the Oregon Public Health Association, the OHSU School of Medicine's 2000 Faculty Humanism Award.

He has served as head of the Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research, and Medical Director for CareOregon, which is what brings him here today.

Our speaker is interim executive director of Care Oregon, Dr. Bruce Goldberg.

9:06 a.m. Dr. Goldberg thanks the assembly: 

As mentioned, I am currently serving as the acting director of Cover Oregon. A few months ago when Bernie asked me to speak about health reform, neither he nor I anticipated that I would hold this position.

So today I will speak about both Cover Oregon and Oregon’s health reforms. 

But first, I want to say it is very personal for me, as I know it is for everyone in the room, to honor Dr. King and to reflect on his work and his legacy, and on what it means to us.


Indeed, it is shocking and inhumane that for generations in our country – and in our state – there has been a great divide in health and health care.

On one side are those who have the security of adequate health care coverage. Those people who are able to see doctors and nurses when they need to. They know that if the worst happens – an accident or a serious illness – their families will have help and they will not face financial disaster.

On the other side of that great divide are people without health care coverage. Their lives are much less secure. They often forgo needed treatment and when they get seriously ill, it can mean financial ruin or worse....

This inequity is heartbreakingly apparent in our health care system where the chance for a long and healthy life is affected by where we are born, the color of our skin, and the communities we live in.

The death rate due to diabetes for African Americans in Oregon is more than twice that of white Oregonians.

African Americans and Native Americans in Oregon have higher rates of hospitalization than others in our state. ...

But today, in 2014, for the first time in my career I can see that we are starting to close those divides....

Oregon’s health insurance marketplace that has had a very difficult launch. This was a multi-year expensive technology project that hasn’t yet delivered. The plan was that on Oct. 1, 2013, we would be able to use an online tool to seamlessly fill out an application, learn what plans or tax credits we are eligible for, and enroll on the spot.

As you know, that isn’t what happened. And it’s been a disappointment for consumers, for the state, and for me.

Because here’s the thing: We have eleven health care plans that have joined Cover Oregon. We want people to be able to get to them...

We're making improvements as we work to get up our full website....

 I want to ask this of you – stay with us.

Over the next few weeks Oracle, our technology contractor, is entering intense testing on key areas of the system. When this is done we will have a better sense of when a fully functioning website will be available during the open enrollment period that ends in March....

So a few years ago, under the leadership of Governor Kitzhaber and with the help of hundreds – actually thousands – of Oregonians in work groups and public meetings, we created a new way of delivering health care.

We call it coordinated care.

That means an emphasis on primary care, a focus on patient centered care; integrating mental and physical health care; having a plan to improve care for the 20 percent of the population with complex problems that drive 80 percent of the costs...

(Read full speech as prepared for delivery in our opinion commentary section.)

I'm here today to tell you we have begun. We have begun to close the great divide. In weeks to come even more people will have healthcare. And we're looking to improve the care everyone receives....

9:22 a.m. Dr. Goldberg takes questions: Lisa Loving: Can you respond to article in this weekend's Oregonian. It said you had not had the full information?

What we've done is bring in more technology experts to check the code and help us be certain we have what we need. We're actively fixing things and making it better...

Q: Millions of dollars in and no website working. What will you do to make Oregonians whole?

Dr. Goldberg: We're actively signing people up and we will get everyone signed up. We also are asking for subsidies for people who from no fault of their own were not signed up in time.

 9:32 a.m. Bobbie Dore Foster introduces the Platinum Scholarship sponsors:

Ben Basom, director of communications for the Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters, presents a scholarship to Kaitlan Purkapile, attending Portland State University

Steve Frisby, president of Portland Division of Safeway, presents a scholarship to Marneet Lewis attending Warner Pacific University

Patrick Quinton, executive director of the Portland Development Commission, presents a scholarship to Salem Wako, attending the University of Oregon.

"Who will fill these new jobs, build these new buildings. How do we make sure no-one is left behind? We are committed to working with the community." Quinton mentions the Trader Joes development deal and pledges a deeper conversation on making sure people prosper in place.

Roger Thompson, vice president for Enrollment Management at the University of Oregon, presents a scholarship to Shaniece Curry, attending the University of Oregon.

Gold and Silver sponsors:

Leslie Garcia, assistant chief diversity officer at Oregon Health & Science University presents a scholarship to Alyson Knapper, attending Rice University.

Dr. James Mason, executive director of culturally competent care giving Providence Health Systems, presents a scholarship to Christine Trinh, attending Georgetown University.

Betty Dominquez, East County program director, at Home Forward, presents a scholarship to Ashleigh Miller- Hayes, attending Franklin High School and heading to Seattle Pacific University.

Jeff Heatherington, president and CEO of Family Care, presents a scholarship to Dayja Curry, attending DeLa Salle North Catholic High School and heading to the University of Illinois.

Dr. Lori Morgan,chief administrative officer of Legacy Health Systems, presents a scholarship to Hanna Atenafu, attending Oregon State University.

Lisa Smiley and Cobi Jackson of Wells Fargo Bank, present a scholarship to Henry Sissac, attending DeLa Salle North Catholic High School and heading to Washington State University, Vancouver

Pat Reiten, president and CEO of Pacific Power & Light, presents a scholarship to Veronica Medhanie, attending Portland State University.

Bernie Foster, president of The Skanner Foundation, presents a scholarship to Michelle Carr, attending Kent State University.

Bernie Foster, president of The Skanner Foundation, presents a scholarship to Sanrawit Dagne, attending Reynolds High School and on his way to Oregon State University.

Bernie Foster, president of The Skanner Foundation, presents a scholarship to Kevin Jones, attending Oregon State University.


News editor Lisa Loving presenting the Drum Major for Justice Award:

This year’s Drum Major for Justice is a scholar, a community organizer, an educator and an inspiring mentor for people of all ages. A Reed College graduate, she was a founding member of the Black Educational Center and the Black United Front. Over the years, she has partnered with community groups and institutions on groundbreaking projects from the Baseline Essays to the Urban League’s State of Black Oregon. Our Drum Major for Justice has also proven to be a tireless advocate for police accountability and a wider understanding of the prison industrial complex. She has served as co-chair of the African American Alliance, and currently works as Equity Assistance Center Director for Education Northwest.

Joyce Harris Drum Major for JusticeThe 2014 Drum Major for Justice is Joyce Braden Harris


Joyce Harris gives thanks to her family, mentions son-in-law Jay Williams, who works with youth in East County for POIC, and her new grandchild.

I want to accept this award in memory of my sister-in-law, Doris Eiland, an educator who passed away this morning in Forest Mississippi. She dedicated her life to teaching the children, clothing the sick, feeding the hungry... The work that I do is not possible without the love the support and the care of so many people here in this room. Thank you very much.

9:48 a.m. Soloist Jeanne Wiggins of Mt. Olivet church sings "Nothing in this whole wide world don't mean a thing without you." 

9:51a.m. Jack Roberts of the Oregon Lottery speaks.

"I'm not sure what Dr. King would think about the Oregon Lottery. But I think that Dr. King would be concerned that 45 states have got dependent on lottery money. But I think then he would have asked what do you do with the money? And I think he would have been pleased that we like many other states use the majority of the money for education." 

Lottery spends 150 million on job creation and job training, among other education spending.  

9:55 a.m. Bernie Foster, publisher of The Skanner News and president of The Skanner Foundation.

"My name is Bernie Foster and I want to thank every one of you in the viewing audience and in attendance here, for joining us to celebrate the Skanner Foundation’s Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast.

We’ve been fortunate to run this event for 28 years now. Over the years we’ve been able to give more than half a million dollars in scholarships to students. Many of them have gone on to make huge contributions to our community and we’re very proud of them.

This is only possible with the help of our wonderful sponsors:

The Pacific Northwest Council of Carpenters

Portland Development Commission

Safeway Stores

The University of Oregon

Oregon Health and Science University

Oregon Lottery

Providence Health Systems

Cover Oregon

Family Care

Home Forward

Legacy Health

Pacific Power and Light

Wells Fargo Bank

Hood to the Coast; Portland to Coast Relay

Multnomah County Purchasing


Slayden Sundt Joint venture

Gary Oxley and Associates

And to our table sponsors and to individual ticket holders

Thank you all.

And I want to thank our keynote speaker Dr. Bruce Goldberg, who is helping to bring healthcare to 180,000 Oregonians so far. Many of them have never had that security before. Ten years from now, nobody will remember that the website didn’t work. I think what they will remember is they got affordable healthcare.

Personally, I believe everyone should have affordable healthcare.

And I want to bring our attention to Oregon’s United States senators: Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley, and our Congressman, Earl Blumenauer. I go back east about twice a year to meet my fellow publishers. We're a small group and they always tell me: “You all have very progressive senators.”

And I want to say about Senator Wyden...There is a cost to freedom. So with all the work you are doing around those issues of freedom and the NSA. It's not a given. Don't take this for granted with all this data mining and everything else. You could end up in Guantanamo Bay and nobody know where you are. Sen. Wyden keep up the good work. 

Now let me highlight a couple of important issues.

It’s 2014 but Portland’s African American community continues to struggle. Child poverty, high rates of unemployment, and continued discrimination in employment, housing, education and justice are keeping Black Portlanders from achieving full equality. Just take a look at this graph showing poverty for Black people is worse here in Multnomah County than in the rest of the country. Check out the full story in The Skanner – there is one at your table.

Mr. Mayor and elected officials: Having an office of equity or a diversity plan isn’t enough. We need specific action. The buck stops at the top, and we deserve results – results we can see and measure.   This is very important to my readers.

And while we’re talking: Can anyone tell me why Oregon should support the full cost of the Columbia River Crossing?

Our State Treasurer knows a thing or two about finances. If he’s worried about it, so am I, and so should you. I'd be more than happy to hear from anyone who can tell me why we should do this.

I want to thank the staff at the North Portland Multimedia Training Center. You can see some of them here, working as we speak along with Portland Community Media which is broadcasting this program. The center has just received grants to make our facilities more accessible, and to train young people with disabilities. That's something we're quite proud of.

I want to thank Denyse Peterson and all her volunteer staff, working here this morning. Finally, I want to thank my all my staff at The Skanner News. You might have noticed we have a new responsive design website. We feel like we’ve just traded in our old beat-up wreck for a racing car straight out of NASCAR. So Dr. Goldberg we understand a few things about website glitches. It took two years of hard work to get here. I can't imagine what you went through so keep up the good work. 

Keep making changes. Change is good. So somebody should have to go. 

Before we go, don’t forget that Ken Berry is holding the World Arts Foundation’s annual tribute to Dr King today from 11am- 6pm at the Anthem Convention Center, 3300 NE 172nd Place … Legacy Emanuel Hospital is holding a free flu shot clinic starting at 11 a.m. on North Gantenbein, and the Red Cross is holding its Martin Luther King blood drive this afternoon from 1:30pm-7:30pm at the Portland Donor Center on 3131 N. Vancouver, Ave.

We encourage you to support them.

Now let’s get out of here and make 2014 a year of positive change for Portland. See you all next year."

10:08 Emcee Bobbie Dore Foster introduced Pastor Emmett Wheatfall with the Benediction. 

The person with birthday closest to Dr. King's birthday, Jan 15, gets to take home the orchid table decorations.


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