Want public money? Play by the rules.

There was quite a flap this week about whether the City of Portland is going to dole out the $5 million or so it once promised to an outfit called "Reimagine Oregon" to promote "equity" by some unspecified means. The pledge was made back when we were all in a tizzy over the murder of George Floyd, but the "Reimaginers" and the city still have not gotten their acts together to get the money spent, after nearly three years.

The other day, city commissioner Mingus Mapps had a couple of his colleagues convinced that the grant should be yanked, but the resulting uproar was enough to convince spineless dandy Dan Ryan to change his mind and keep the money spigot open. Of course, the council's "equity" queen, Carmen "Chainsaw" Rubio, was screaming the loudest about how racist was the thought of not distributing the millions for burning.

I'm with Mapps. That money should not be handed out to Reimagine Oregon, at least not in its current condition. But my reasoning may be a bit different from his.

Here's my gripe: As far as anyone can tell, Reimagine Oregon doesn't even exist. It's not a corporation, limited partnership, or limited liability company registered with the Oregon Secretary of State. It's not a tax-exempt nonprofit organization registered with the IRS. It's not a charity registered with the Oregon Department of Justice. Look it up; you won't find it anywhere.

At best, it's an informal general partnership among some unnamed individuals or organizations. The general  public knows nothing about its finances, and as best I can tell, it's never disclosed anything about its income or spending to the IRS, the Oregon Department of Revenue, or the Oregon DOJ.

You see this all the time with the many, many flaky "organizations" (if you can even call them that) to which tax dollars are handed out in and around Portland. They don't even make an effort to cut square corners with the government, the way the rest of us are required to.

The City of Portland – and for that matter, the state, the counties, and all the unsupervised pots of money around here, like the Port, Tri-Met, Metro, OHSU, and the like – need to adopt and enforce the simple rule that in order to get grants, you have to be in full compliance with all the state and federal rules regarding nonprofit organizations. You need to form an actual entity, get it approved for tax exemption by the IRS, and file all required periodic reports with the federal and state governments. No compliance, no grant. 

It's not complicated. And it's not asking too much. 

If you ran your life the way these nonprofits play the public money game, you would be in prison.


  1. Clackamas County was smart enough to cut ties with them a year ago.


  2. Some of the demands from their website:

    -A $2.5 million fund for a Black-led community effort to rethink what public safety could look like in the State of Oregon

    -Defunding Multnomah County’s Homeless Outreach and Programs Engagement Team

    -Decriminalizing fare evasion in public transportation

    -Defunding transit police

    -Mandating restorative justice practices in Oregon public schools

    -Providing adequate funding for culturally specific charter schools

  3. I asked the AI about Reimagine Oregon. Even a chatbot that "lies with confidence" couldn't answer some basic questions.

    "Reimagine Oregon is a project born out of the 2020 protests against racial injustice. It is a group of Black-led organizations, community activists, and protest organizers that developed a two-year plan to begin dismantling systemic racism in Oregon. Their mission is to dismantle systemic racism in every single aspect of American society, including education, healthcare, socioeconomic status and wealth, housing, policing and carceral systems.

    "I couldn’t find any information about the owners or executive officers of Reimagine Oregon. The organization’s annual revenues and most significant accomplishments are also not available.

    "Is there anything else you would like to know?"

  4. Objective reporting on this doesn’t exist. Lots of street level conversations. But, no interest from the establishment media. Almost as though theses a fear of reprisals.

  5. If I were the City Attorney, unless I was never even asked, I might be getting ahold of the PLF just about now.

  6. There were a few years in the second Obama administration where I became tangentially acquainted with members of Portland's social and government-industrial complexes. Lots of parties with folks in the 25-35 range talking about all the cool conferences and galas they got to attend. They all had fun jobs with important titles and big missions. Yet there was no talk of ever doing anything on the front lines. Only talk of the next round of funding and their next big presentation in Nashville, or wherever.

    I think of that gang a decade later. Do they have mortgages? Kids? Big plans for vacation? Every time I see a big check being written, I think of how much will go to either the new generation of party kids and how much will go to their elders.

    "Sucks to hear that your sister is living on the street and stealing from Nordstrom to feed her pentanol habit. I'll see if I can't find her a bed in a few weeks, after I return from Bali. Here's a phone voucher so you can text her until I get back."

  7. My organization KidzRGreat is standing by for funding to support equitable access to everything under the sun for our underserved LGBTQ, kidz of color, poor, nearly poor, homeless, underhomed, and latchkey youth. $1.5 million should be enough to do the preliminary evaluations and find leadership and staff.

  8. Saint George died of a drug overdose. He was already in the back seat of the police car when he started screaming "I can't breathe". They then took him back outside and he expired.

    Equity is the cool new term for socialism. Dan Ryan needs to grow a pair. Not holding my breath.

    1. Glad to see you’re fine with police brutality. You have a white hood in the closet?

    2. A lot of opinions depend on the reading of autopsy reports.


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