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Jul-27-2009 01:35printcomments

State of Black Oregon Reveals Stark Disparities

75 percent of Oregon's black 10th graders did not meet benchmark standards for math in 2007-08.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Seven months after the inauguration of the first Black president, a statewide report on the condition of African Americans in Oregon reveals that black Oregonians remain at or near the bottom of every meaningful social and economic measure.

African Americans in Oregon have significantly higher infant mortality rates, are more likely to live in poverty, have higher levels of unemployment, are half as likely to own their own homes and are far more likely to die of diseases such as diabetes than their white counterparts.

The State of Black Oregon was published today by the Urban League of Portland for the first time in 17 years. The report contains a stark inventory of statistics that show a persistent gap in living standards between black and white Oregonians – a gap that is growing wider as a result of the current economic downturn.

"During the last eight years, the poverty gap in America and in this state has continued to grow," says Marcus C. Mundy, president and CEO of the Urban League of Portland. "If there's a poverty gap for Americans generally, the African-American poverty gap widens to chasm proportions. This flies in the face of the ideals our country stands for, and simply should not be acceptable here in Oregon or anywhere else."

Among the reports findings:

• Median income of households headed by blacks in Oregon is less than two thirds that of white households – showing virtually no improvement since this study was last compiled in 1990.

• 38 percent of Oregon's African-American children live in households with incomes below the poverty level; and 60 percent live in households with income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

• Black children born in Oregon are 50 percent more likely to suffer from low birth weight; and infant mortality in the state is 50 percent higher for children of black mothers.

• Drop out rate in Oregon high schools is about twice as high for African-American students, with drop-out rates approaching 7 percent for black students, vs. three percent for white students. Additionally, only 68 percent of black student graduate on time from Oregon high schools, compared to 85 percent of white students. Another alarming statistic: during the 2007-08 school year, black high school students were nearly twice as likely as white students to be expelled or suspended from Oregon schools.

• Although African Americans represent just seven percent of Portland's population, a disproportionate percentage of the city's homicide victims are black (45 percent compared to 35 percent of homicide victims that are white). Black Oregonians are also six times more likely to end up in jail than whites.

"This report is a wake up call to Oregon," concludes Mundy. "The statistics reflect a consistent trend over decades – a trend fueled by social and economic disparities that demonstrate a deeply-rooted, systemic disadvantage for its African-American citizens. Our hope is that this report can serve as call-to-action for addressing these disparities through policy proposals aimed at both the public and private sectors."

The report includes an action plan that calls for implementation of proven, effective tools to eliminate the state's gaps in income, wealth, health, social progress and educational attainment.

"Most importantly this is a ‘reality check' for those who may have thought that discrimination and disparity had been overcome. We still have much to do," said Mundy.

1. Additional findings include:

• The black male labor force participation rate is about 9 percent¬age points below proportionately that of white males.

• Black death rates by diabetes (73:100,000) are considerably higher for African Americans (73 per 100,000 vs. 29 per 100,000 for white Oregonians).

• 75 percent of Oregon's black 10th graders did not meet benchmark standards for math in 2007-08.

• African American borrowers were twice as likely to receive high cost, high interest loans as white borrowers – and more likely to have faced foreclosure in the current economic climate.

• Black children represent 7 percent of the children in foster care, although they are about 2% of the child population in the state. 2. The Urban League of Portland is one of the oldest civil rights and social service organizations in the state. Its mission is to empower African Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, economic security and quality of life. The State of Black Oregon is modeled on the National Urban League's annual State of Black America report.

3. The data collection was conducted by EcoNorthwest, the Northwest's largest economics consulting firm.

4. Contributors providing essays include: History - Dr. Darrell Millner, Professor, Department of Black Studies, Portland State University Economics - Sheila Holden, North/Northeast Economic Development Alliance; Dr. Karen Gibson, Associate Professor, Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University Education - Joyce Braden Harris, Co-chair, African American Alliance; Carolyn Leonard, Compliance Officer, Portland Public Schools; Dr. Algie Gatewood, President, Portland Community College, Cascade Campus Criminal Justice - Dr. Robert Thompson, Oregon State University, Department of Ethnic Studies Housing - Dr. Victor Merced, Director, Oregon Housing and Community Services; Maxine Fitzpatrick, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiative (PCRI). Health - Tricia Tillman, Multnomah County Health Department Environmental Justice - Kevin Odell, Organizing People and Activating Leaders (OPAL); Jill Fuglister, Coalition for a Livable Future Child Welfare - Angela Cause and Kory Murphy, Oregon Department of Human Services Civic Engagement - Senator Avel Gordly, Associate Professor, Department of Black Studies, Portland State University

5. Funders: Oregon Community Foundation (Northwest Area Oregon Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation), Northwest Health Foundation (Kaiser Permanente Fund at the Northwest Health Foundation), Oregon Community Foundation, (Janette G. Drew Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation), and the City of Portland, Office of Neighborhood Involvement, Diversity and Civic Leadership Program. To learn more, visit

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Anonymous August 1, 2009 2:54 pm (Pacific time)

Good article?! This was just a copy of the narrative out of the Oregonian. This site does not report crap other than marxist agenda crap. This is an anti-Caucasian juvenile. blog!

Editor:  This was a news release sent out many days before publishing under an embargo agreement. is a five-year old news Website with a Google ranking of 5 out of 10 known all over the world.  Fascist morons aren't very bright about media, I realize that.  For the record, we have more news background, published articles and broadcast awards, than you deserve to even know about. 

Be glad you can even look at, and better yet, go somewhere else..  Why do pansy's with names like Armentrout select such stupid made-up names anyway?  Your IP shows me the way you try to mask your identity.  At least you are in keeping with the rest of your herd; fraudulent and insincere.

"Skipper" Osborne July 28, 2009 10:57 pm (Pacific time)

A very, very, very good article! This comment is addressed to My2cents,you remind me of people that say "oh I am not prejudice, I have Black friends." The article was speaking on "State of Black Oregon Reveals Stark Disparities." If one is cognizant of racial disparities between Black and Whites, any one would know, or should have known, that a pre-1965 report would be a "tragedy for Oregon." You mentioned that "There are consequences regarding ones behavior, for example, the very high illegitimate birthrate in conjunction with the number of children." The number of children that one has irregardless of race, HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DICRIMINATION, RACISM AND THE ARTICLE. If you check out the statistics you will find that Whites' have a higher illegitimate birthrate than Blacks. Your statement 'If you do not apply yourself in school, and you drop out you are not going to have any employment skills and the casual labor jobs anymore are being filled by illegal immigrants." Check your history, when slavery was suppose to have been abolished in the 1800's, because of the influx of the "so called new freed slaves" who entered the job market (with much lower pay than Whites): Whites began to complain that Blacks were taking their jobs, and the Ku Klux Klan (a gang) started they diabolical attacks against Blacks and Jews: My2cents you are using 'illegal immagrants' as the problem, just as the KKK viewed 'Blacks' as the problem: I am a graduate of Jefferson High School, a graduatie of Lewis and Clark College, I am 2 classes shy of my paralegal degree, and I have 3 years under my belt towards a Masters of Divinity, at George Fox University. Another statement of yours ' Currently even those with marketable skills are being layed off, and seniority also plays a role in who is first to go. That's reality, and fair.' Blacks have long been the last hired and the first fired and many times have more seniority than some Whites, but employers have found ways to fire the Blacks: the reality and fairness that you speak of, is not reality and fair in this so called 'progressive Oregon.' You spoke of 'having a good credit report is how you get preferential rates' again you are wrong. The Federal Government had to step in appoximately 20 years ago, insurance companies and banks were using the 97211 zip code (predominently Black) and charging higher interest rates for car/home and general loans. I do not know of the 'endless cases of people of all races who have grown up in poverty and have done well,' there are 'some' but not 'endless.' The government had to meddle in people lives in the 60's {THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT?} in order to right a lot of the wrongs that a lot of Whites and corporations perpitrated against Blacks. Most Blacks are not 'felling sorry for themselves' they are just trying to make it on an "uneven playing field" which continues now. For you to say 'Life is unfair regardless of your race, you are correct. But to say 'deal with it and push forward; your African American friends have taught you 'nothin' and neither has the environment that you live concerning race relations. You see My2cents, you should never tell a race of people to 'deal with it and push forward' especially when hundreds of years of oppression has subjugated them: One should never tell a Jewish person to get over the Holocaust. Most Blacks are not blaming others for their behavior, our history have shown us and is still showing us that 'race matters in the United States of America.' I ask that you honestly and justly look in the mirror and examine your heart, on what role you play; or have played in the inequality of the races. Thank you for your thoughts, and please do not take this as an attack on you: the Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler coined the statement: "Faulty thinking and mistaken beliefs:" You have a lot of them. Thank you for your thoughts, and please do not take this as an attack on you. I respect you, but I am attacking your ideology. Thanks again.

Henry Ruark July 28, 2009 8:40 am (Pacific time)

Daniel: Yrs on diet appreciated, sir, and know from experience with kids in school how essential it is, lesson learned in Great Depression. Mine meant to emphasize the overall importance of major causes for learning failures, as reflected in report, far more prevalent and morally equivalent to massive mental manslaughter for anyone so intensely focused on learning process as I've had to become professionally. In 'world's richest nation" there is no reason why we cannot provide both essential nutritution guidance AND food source help to those caught in the inexorable human mill we know as capitalism, with its inherent flaws and failures.

Daniel July 27, 2009 9:55 pm (Pacific time)

Henry Diabetes and many other health problems come from eating crap not from what happened 200 yrs ago . The number of over weight young aa women is thru the roof . People are eating poison , i am out here in the streets i see what people of color eat . The American diet is bad and getting worse . The result is a new gereration of unhealthy children . You can come from the best backround and rapidly destroy yourself with a junk food diet . If you do not eat well starting as a child you have two strikes against you regradless of color or backround .A child developes from love or hate , good air or bad , good food or bad , good water or bad . Henry to overlook this important factor in peoples day to day lifes does not serve them .Children in the inner city injest lead from old paint in the lawns , breath more poisoned air and eat more sugar crap . All these factors lower IQ and make it harder to improve your life . I am sorry you do not see the connection . People have a choice of what goes into their mouths , too many are misinformed by advertising as to what is healthy . Again i state to start to solve the problem it is MOST important to educate young mothers and young children what the good choices in diet are .

Henry Ruark July 27, 2009 7:13 pm (Pacific time)

  Crap food and equall crap conspiracy theory re open borders is equally irrelevant, innocuous and--yes--"stupid":
as in "Lack of intellectual acuity."

  Each may present some difficulty but none in any way equal to 200 years of constant deprivation of equal and open opportunity.
  Can you contend that did NOT happen in a society we control by choice and vote ??
  Can you contend we DO NOT still do so by CHOICE, total of what we all do  or DO NOT do ?? !!

  We have problems galore but our main one is dealing with those who so reveal their lack of self-knowledge and ability to cogitate from obvious fact.

Black Economic Empowerment July 27, 2009 3:10 pm (Pacific time)

Law, Craig Robinson, is a basketball coach in his first year at Oregon State University after coaching at Brown University for two years. Black Economic Empowerment

Daniel July 27, 2009 12:16 pm (Pacific time)

Education in what to eat is one of the first steps in breaking this cycle . From childhood on there has become too much of a reliance on fast junk foods . The more people eat at mickey D and friends the more health problems . Children can not think as clearly and mothers have babies with health issues. The poor are often the target of the ads for this unhealthy fare . Feeding children this crap is child abuse . Too many in this country do not have proper knowledge of a good diet . They are educated by the mass media to buy food unfit for dogs to feed to their children as treats ! Beans,sprouted or cooked , whole rice and local pick fruits and veggies are much better than a lot of sugar and chemical coated fat . Soft drinks should be a rare treat not daily consumption .A child drinks a caffine laden soda and the teacher wonders why they cant sit still ! Also too many un or under supervised kids running around posioning the good kids . Fathers and Mothers please take care of your children . Junk food manufactures please stop pushing this crap down the childrens mouths !

Anonymous July 27, 2009 4:15 pm (Pacific time)

I posted almost 3 years ago, that as the borders are kept open, there would be problems with the blacks. obama keeps the borders open. That is the problem. Blacks were making headway, and were becoming a great part of the U.S. society. But, with the influx of illegal immigrants, all of the progress they were making went away. Not against hispanics, but the influx was too quick. The aggresive product of the elite wanting the NWO, and the NAU did not care what catastrophe it created. Addressing AA, does not change things. same ol same ol. talk talk talk, read the teleprompter. The only reason obama addresses the issue is to get more info on each individual, to continue the same ol. Its called control, at any cost. It is obvious if you research it. Our open borders have set back blacks 100 years. period. And it is continuing under the current admin. Address the root of the problem, dont pacify AA, and pretend you are doing something. All obama did this for, was to get more info, to get more control. He is just following his orders.

Henry Ruark July 27, 2009 3:43 pm (Pacific time)

My2C: Yours panders to still more racism by overlooking proven causative factors for which we all stand morally, religiously and economically responsible. Too-easy talk of individual responsibility falls flat from the generation still so fully factless it allows such evil to continue in the world. IF your father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, and others on back to 1700s had been subjected to the terrors, trials and tribulations now an implacable record in history, for all to see while we prat of Constitutional freedoms, perhaps you, too, might find yourself in similar plight and with the same pain and problems. For truth in depth, detail, dates, dangers, names and places, see CHESAPEAKE, published in 1978 by James A. Michener. OR review real American history decanted from the flask of freedom in numerous other award-and prestige-winning volumes. I list more than 29-such for anyone willing to seek, learn, and then share, free of easily detectable psychological denial denoted herein by some few who choose to remain not only UNinformed, but noise-machine MISinformed and malign both in spirit and behavior. Fact is checkable fact, so "see with own eyes" and then "evaluate with own mind", from indisputable, undenial, "been there, done that sources shown by Michener and others for more than three generations. Is it any wonder the world chuckles, then frowns and now turns away when we ramble on and stupidly about our great republican democracy and what it now stands for... ??? Damage to our foreign affairs around the world is massively multiplied by this awkward, inept, inane attempt to somehow magnify and manipulate this situation to disavow and disable our newly chosen President.

Allanya Guenther July 27, 2009 12:29 pm (Pacific time)

This data does not surprise me, but I think some of it is reflective of ongoing racism in our country --more African-Americans in prison, for instance--and some of it reflects the choices individual AA's make; i.e., early pregnancies; men not taking responsibility for the children they have fathered. I find it interesting that President Obama wasted no time in addressing these same issues and calling for members of the AA community to take more responsibility for their plight.

My 2cents July 27, 2009 12:02 pm (Pacific time)

It would be interesting to see the same data in this report compared to pre-1965. Also look at Portlands black school drop out rate compared with other urban area's and the national average. Portland blacks are doing far better. There are consequences regarding ones behavior, for example, the very high illegitimate birthrate in conjunction with the number of children. Having lived in Portland many many years ago and having many black friends who attended primarily Jefferson and Grant High Schools there has no doubt been an incredible increase in these above referenced negative measurements. When professional social scientists look for cause and effect variables they have considerable data from which to draw from in the Portland area. The true experts will reference earlier data, those with an agenda will ignore it. If you do not apply yourself in school, and you drop out you are not going to have any employment skills and the casual labor jobs anymore are being filled by illegal immigrants. Currently even those with marketable skills are being layed off, and seniority also plays a role in who is first to go. That's reality, and fair. When you engage in risky behavior there will be dire consequences which could include out of wedlock births (coupled with poor nutrition and low birthrate babies), then of course poverty, criminal behavior and many other negative aspects. Having a good credit report is how you get preferential rates, otherwise you will pay a higher % rate. Look what happened in the subprime real estate market, and the unemployment rate was at 4 1/2% when these defaults began in earnest. You have endless cases of people of all races who have grown up in poverty and have done well. Since the mid 1960's there has been a continuing government meddling in peoples lives that has just made things worse. One should read the African Baseline Studies that some people in Portland tried to introduce into school lesson plans, then you can get a better idea on the current leadership and why things have been getting worse for Oregon's African-American community. Personal responsibility is not a made-up term, it is what provides a guideline to run your life by. Sure you can pick out some negative influences, but that just allows you to feel sorry for yourself. Far more people overcome adversity than those who don't. Life is unfair regardless of your race, deal with it and push forward. Don't be a slacker, in school? Study hard, be responsible and quit blaming others for your behavior.

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