By Portland Medium Staff
For a second time, the state of Oregon has come to terms to settle yet another lawsuit concerning their race-based COVID-19 relief fund program which is exclusive to the state’s Black business owners. This time, the Hispanic business owner who sued for excluding her from the program will be receiving a payoff.
Revolución Coffee House, which is located in Portland, is owned by the Hispanic business owner Maria Garcia. Garcia sued the state of Oregon for its Oregon Cares Fund which allotted $62 million coming from the federal CARES Act exclusively for Black Oregonians by the state legislature, deeming it unconstitutional due to racial bias.
Garcia took it to social media at the time posting on Facebook: “This lawsuit is not anti-Black or pro-Latino… but a lesson for our elected officials that the state has to be inclusive in all its decisions and offer equal opportunities to access funds.”
After a preliminary injunction request from Garcia’s legal counsel, The Oregonian reported that the state deposited more than $46, 000 to the court in December stating that the said maximum amount was what would be eligible for Garcia under the program had she been Black.
The Center for Individual Rights which represented Garcia said, “As there were no funds left in this program there wasn’t anything to do but settle this case. We will challenge any future efforts by Oregon to divide its citizens by race, which hopefully, everyone now understands is both unfair and illegal.”
In a case involving the Oregon Cares Fund, this is already the second settlement that the state of Oregon has made. It first occurred in March involving a White owner of Great Northern Resources, a timber salvage company, where the state agreed to settle and pay up of $230, 000.
The plaintiff, Edward Blum, who represented the case told Fox News before the settlement: “If the state of Oregon wants to target adversely impacted businesses, then fine, but help Hispanic businesses, Asian American businesses, Native American businesses and White businesses that have been adversely affected, not just Blacks’, that’s unconstitutional.”
Gov. Kate Brown, issued a statement in reaction to the first settlement and defended Oregon’s race-based program stating, “As a state, we have a duty to aid those in need, particularly Oregonians who suffer from systemic racism and are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The Oregon Cares Fund has been an enormous success, and has provided urgent relief to Black Oregonians, Black-led nonprofits, and Black-owned businesses, which are less likely to have access to federal aid.”
There is a long history in Oregon of Blacks being displaced, denied jobs, and were the victims of exclusion laws. There is concrete evidence that Blacks are in a special position to receive economic aid due to Oregon’s racist and exclusionary past.