The City of Portland, Oregon, last week reaffirmed its commitment to giving a $5 million grant to an "anti-racist" group that won't say what it plans to do with the money.
The city in 2020 agreed to fund the progressive advocacy group Reimagine Oregon to the tune of $1.9 million a year, with no end date specified. At the time, Portland mayor Ted Wheeler (D.) called the grant the "centerpiece" of his budget proposal. Three years later, the organization has not said what it plans to do with the grant money. Nor has it spent a penny of the nearly $5 million in taxpayer funds, which are now sitting, untouched, in city coffers.
Formed by black activists in 2020, Reimagine Oregon outlines policy ideas to "dismantle systemic racism" through policies such as defunding the police and redistributing wealth. Last week, Portland city commissioner Mingus Mapps (D.) proposed terminating the grant and redirecting the money to other causes. But after fierce blowback from local black activists, the commission and mayor tanked his amendment on Wednesday.
Mapps, the only black member of the Portland city commission, told the Washington Free Beacon he was disappointed by the opposition to his proposal.
"I was trying to push these dollars out to African-Americans," Mapps said. "We have to be more competent at the basics of government."
Portland lawmakers’ recommitment to Reimagine Oregon comes after high-profile "anti-racist" and equity groups have come under fire for their murky finances and shoddy track records. One co-founder of Black Lives Matter Global Network, the umbrella group for the grassroots movement, secretly bought a $6 million house with the group’s funds. Another BLM executive allegedly stole $10 million for his own use.
Commissioner Carmen Rubio blamed the city for preventing Reimagine Oregon from accessing the funds and claimed that a city agency will submit a plan for the grant money in May. "That’s when we will all learn" how the group intends to spend $5 million, Rubio said.
Reimagine Oregon does not appear in the IRS directory of tax-exempt organizations and boasts just one staff member: Justice Rajee, a podcaster who is also running this year for a local school district board seat. The group was reportedly organized under the umbrella of a few nonprofits, including Urban League Portland and the Coalition of Communities of Color.
Urban League Portland and Reimagine Oregon did not respond to a query about its legal status.
They vote poorly.