SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory - High Wind Watch - Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Gov. Brown and state Attorney General defend relief fund for Black Oregonians

The Oregon Cares Fund, which sets aside relief funds for Black businesses and families, is now the subject of a lawsuit.

Posted: Nov 12, 2020 1:15 PM
Updated: Nov 12, 2020 3:56 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown and Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum released a statement on Thursday, defending a fund set up by the state specifically to provide coronavirus relief funds for Black-owned businesses, Black-led nonprofits, Black families and individuals.

The Oregon Cares Fund recently became the subject of a lawsuit filed by a timber company, Great Northern Resources. The lawsuit, filed by attorneys representing the timber company in a Portland federal court on October 29, alleges that the fund is unconstitutional.

"Grants from the Fund are only available to individuals and business owners who 'self-identify as Black,'" the lawsuit states. "This express use of race in distributing government money is unprecedented and blatantly unconstitutional."

Based in the eastern Oregon town of John Day, Great Northern describes itself in the suit as a small, family-run logging company that has suffered major economic losses from the pandemic.

Separate from federal SBA coronavirus relief options, Oregon has offered — and continues to offer — emergency grants for small businesses regardless of race. However, Great Northern's lawsuit takes aim at the Oregon Cares Fund on the grounds that the company does not fit its requirements.

"The pandemic’s harm to Great Northern should qualify it to compete in any government-aid program for businesses that have been affected by Covid-19. And yet the company is ineligible to receive a grant from the Fund because its owner is not Black," the lawsuit states.

Governor Brown and Attorney General Rosenblum's statement on Thursday claims that the Great Northern lawsuit is being funded by an "out-of-state activist" — presumably a reference to controversial legal strategist Edward Blum, who the Oregonian/OregonLive reports has helped to bankroll the suit.

Blum is also the mastermind behind ongoing litigation against Harvard University for its affirmative action policies, rebuffed in a U.S. appeals court this week.

The full statement from Brown and Rosenblum is as follows:

"The state has been named in a lawsuit funded by an out-of-state activist who is known to use the courts to try to undermine civil rights legislation and public policy. The suit challenges an innovative program created by the Legislature that directs a portion of the state’s CARES Act funding to address the disparate impacts of COVID-19 faced by Black Oregonians."

"The data show that Black Oregonians are experiencing disproportionate harm from COVID-19. These harms, the result of long-standing systemic inequities, include higher rates of COVID-19 infection and a greater risk of adverse health impacts. Additionally, Black-owned businesses are less likely to have received federal aid, and are closing at a faster pace than other businesses.

"In July, the state legislature directed federal CARES Act funding to a range of communities and local industries, including a partnership with Black leadership across Oregon to stand up the Oregon Cares Fund. The fund provides narrow, timely, and targeted relief to Black-owned businesses, Black-led nonprofits and Black families that demonstrate financial adversity due to COVID-19.

"As a state, we have a duty to aid those in need. We must not allow pernicious and ideologically-motivated lawsuits to impede our efforts to deliver critical resources to Oregonians amid a devastating pandemic. On behalf of all Oregonians, we intend to actively defend this important program."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
Deschutes19577123
Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4812309

Reported Deaths: 70616
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147679126410
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3646344163
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871374
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
Out of CA00
Medford
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 45°
Brookings
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 46°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 45°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 29°
Winds pick up Tuesday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events