Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum issued a joint statement today on the Oregon Cares Fund:
"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."