03-20-2019  3:56 am      •     
Seth Underwood, Portland
Published: 30 August 2006

Let's just tell it like it is. The Portland Development Commission operates under different standards for different people. For instance, if you are a White developer with a questionable credit past, you can receive millions of dollars in funding and other assistance to make your business dreams come true.
Yes, PDC plays the race card. The lack of African Americans both within the organization and as business beneficiaries are few and far between. Top African Americans have been forced or fired from lucrative positions over the past four years. In fact, PDC has faced more lawsuits and discrimination claims involving African Americans than any other city agency in a 12-month period.
PDC continues with bureaucratic idle promises of African American inclusion and outreach by walking through Northeast Portland neighborhoods for documented photo opportunities. While PDC called for a stakeholders' meeting to help fill one job, the agency's new executive director hired numerous top staffers without any fanfare or publicity.
Whether it be affordable housing programs, small business loans or employment and contract opportunities, PDC continues to show that it is intentionally taking one step forward and three steps backwards.
The mayor, City Council and other citizens should be embarrassed by these acts of disregard. The promise of "we'll do better" is not good enough.
There are great, qualified African American talent and expertise and resources within this city. Does PDC really want to make a difference, or does it want to face a no-confidence vote by the community and have all future decisions challenged or questioned?

Seth Underwood

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