Reimagine Oregon Project Works to Dismantle Systemic Racism


A newly-formed group of Black-led organizations, community activists, and protest organizers share a plan

PORTLAND – Hoping to leverage momentum gained from over two months of protests over racial injustice across the state and around the country, a newly-formed coalition just unveiled its “Reimagine Oregon” two-year plan – with support from elected leaders at every level of local government.

Reimagine Oregon includes leaders from Kairos PDX, the Urban League of Portland, the Coalition of Communities of Color, JOIN, and Stand For Children, as well as Oregon elected officials including Governor Kate Brown, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington, and Metro Councilor Juan Carlos Gonzalez.

“Oregon’s racist history still lives with us in so many ways,” says Gov. Brown. “But I believe in our ability to cultivate a new present and a better future. I am excited to work with Black community leaders to forge that path forward, hand in hand, across the entire state.” 

Several weeks ago, Katrina Holland, Executive Director of JOIN and the convener of Reimagine Oregon, pulled together a group of more than 100, made up of Black community members, Black-led organizations, protest organizers, local legislators, members and staff of the federal delegation, State legislators, Metro Regional Government, and staff of elected leaders. Together over video meetings, they discussed policy proposals including education, healthcare, reducing police, as well as housing and homelessness. Organizations and activists committed acting as leads in their respective policy areas.

Here, you can read the group’s proposals relating to:

Police & Prisons
Economic Development
The Legislative Process
Community Safety

Photos by Mercedes Mehling

But it’s not just about talk – Reimagine Oregon’s focus is on real, bold action. Elected officials and their staff met with the group for two hours almost every Friday since June 12th. During these conversations, for each of the policy proposals, the group discussed its PROGNOSIS (will this change happen, is it done, etc.), a TIMELINE (30-90 days, in upcoming lawmaking sessions, etc.), and LEGISLATIVE LEADS (which elected official’s office would take the lead in implementing this policy proposal). At the end, Reimagine Oregon asked the elected officials to outline a specific plan for how Black community members could engage in an iterative process to create and accomplish these goals.

You can sign up here for email updates from Reimagine Oregon.

About Author

Sam West is the speechwriter and executive assistant to Oregon Governor Kate Brown.

Comments are closed.