Skip to Content

Portland lawmaker proposes paying reparations to Black Oregonians

(Update: Frederick aide confirms $123,000 is total amount of annuity)

Central Oregon Black Assembly leader doesn't believe legislation will pass

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon state Sen. Lew Frederick, D-Portland, grew up near civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"He was the father of my playmate, so he was the dad the told me to 'quit running through the house,'" Frederick said Monday.

He said Dr. King was an influence on him growing up, and he was an active member of the civil rights movement.

Frederick has sponsored two bills, Senate Bill 619 in this year's upcoming legislative session, aimed at reparations for Black Oregonians.

He laid out some of the historical disparities among Black Oregonians.

"When you look around Bend, I would encourage you to take a look at a couple of the older land covenants, and you will probably find that the land covenants say that (if you are) non-white, you can not own land in certain sections of Bend," Frederick said.

Frederick explained that there are two bills addressing the issue.

"(Senate Bill) 618 really says is there a case to be made for reparations -- that's what 618 does," he said. "(Senate Bill) 619 says if there is a case to made, how will that be done."

The latter bill states: "The Department of Revenue shall establish a program to pay reparations to Black Oregonians who can demonstrate heritage in slavery and who submit an application to the department no later than December 31, 2022.

"The department shall pay to each eligible applicant the amount of $123,000 in the form of an annuity payable annually for the life of the applicant," it says.

Frederick's chief of staff, Nathan Soltz, clarified that the amount listed is a total of $123,000, paid in annual annuity installments. Though it's all open to negotiation, the legislation "provides for annual lifetime payments from an annuity with a principal of $123,000," he said.

But Frederick said the details are not set in stone.

"Part of governing, part of being in a situation like this is that you bring up issues, then you discover how you could resolve those issues," he said.

Riccardo Waites, founder of the Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly, said he doesn't think the bills will pass.

"Our country has supported reparations for almost everything --s except for slavery," Waites said.

He's also doubtful many will qualify.

"Who's going to have evidence of their slave history?" Waites said. "Our history has been erased, so who's going to have that knowledge?"

Waites said he does want to see reparations, but outlined a somewhat different idea.

"A small financial kickback," he said. "But more importantly, I want the government to give us reparations that allows generational wealth to happen. So let's do something like something that gives us leniency for purchasing a home."

He also would like to see more help with education for minorities.

Author Profile Photo

Blake Allen

Blake Allen is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.



  1. Soooo. Natives get reparations because thier land was taken. Why should blacks get reparations? Because one or more of their ancestors was a slave in the USA? Nobody alive today was a slave, nobody alive today has owned a slave. No black person alive in the us has experienced slavery. If anything the blacks today should be glad their ancestors were slaves. Not because of the slavery, because of where they might be today. If their ancestors weren’t brought to the US they may have very different lives in Africa. Maybe not have even been born, or killed in a revolution.

    1. Black people should get reparations because their homes and businesses were stolen from them — in Portland, in Tulsa, etc. After WW2 their ability to get home loans and educational loans under the GI bill was stolen from them. In these and other ways, their ability to accumulate and pass down generational wealth was cut off. One suggestion is to grant educational loans or mortgage down payments (not cold cash) to compensate for the wrongs mentioned above.

      1. Fine. You sound so bold and educated on the issue, then lead the charge and open your wallet. Until then stop trying to spend other people’s money to make you feel better about yourself.

    1. More like, Part of governing,part of being in a situation like this is that you, bring up issues , then discover how to resolve the issue . Or just throw some outlandish bull**** against the wall and see what sticks. Typical politician.

  2. “The department shall pay to each eligible applicant the amount of $123,000 … annually for the life of the applicant,”

    This guy can’t possibly be serious….$123,000 A YEAR for the rest of a claimants life. Step away from the pipe Sen. Lew Frederick.

      1. Unfortunately someone with less brain cells has announced they are going to propose it. Now maybe if he can find someone who can prove they, themselves, were a slave this could be debated.

        It is always interesting, and we never hear, how they come up with an actual number in this. How do they arive at 123,000?? What is so special about 15.00/hour for a minimum wage? Why not more, or less?

      1. Trump Improved our country Obama shredded our country and I certainly don’t want to pay him for the rest of his natural Born life but it’s one of those necessary evils.

    1. You can’t read, Scooter. That’s not what it says. I don’t agree with the legislation for other reasons, but please read it before saying something as stupid as what you just said.

  3. I have a better idea… How about Portland, pay the rest of us Oregonian’s, for being the laughing stock of the NW? You are all an disgrace to all of us.. This “reparation” discussion has no merit. How about paying reparations to Military Veterans? How about paying reparations to Teachers? How about paying reparations to……..

  4. I’m a happy democrat, and support equality, but this has to be the stupidest thing I’ve heard in a while. No! Giving them taxpayer dollars is not the answer. Right now, every taxpayer should get a kickback. People are being evicted, businesses are closing, employment is at a low. No special financial favors. Tax the rich, pay the poor.

      1. LOL. Even when they win they’re not happy!

        Maybe if they had a time machine to go back and re-write the history of the world. But that probably wouldn’t even be enough.

      2. The kind of garbage that spews from you? I doubt you’ve ever met any happy person of any group once they see you coming. Anything to say about the issue in question? Nope! Just whining like a little snowflake. Happy inauguration, buttercup!

      3. A complete history of slavery in Oregon

        November 1857 – the people of Oregon vote to prohibit slavery in the process of the state’s constitutional convention.

        February 1859 – Oregon officially becomes a state. Slavery is illegal in Oregon.

        Total number of slaves in Oregon’s history, zero.

        Total number of slave owners in Oregon’s history, zero.

        End of the history of slavery in Oregon.

    1. Who are the rich and who are the poor? Who gets to decide this, the government? I think what you meant to say is tax those that made good decisions in life and are successful and give it to those that did not.
      The government is never the answer. We should all take responsibility for ourselves and quit blaming others.

  5. I’m all for this only if the funds come from trust funders who’s funds can be traced back to slave trading or profits from slaves. There are likely a few here in Bend.

  6. Riccardo waites – making claims with no evidence yet again. Perhaps that was cut from his interview but based on his past history of baseless assertions doubt he even knows of reparations. When have reparations ever been supported?

    Of course people want to be paid $123k annually. But are there any black people who have a connection to slavery in Oregon? Of course not. Native Americans have a much better claim to reparations. However, free money isn’t going to make you rich or even necessarily middle class. If you don’t know how to mange money, you will never be financially free.

    1. If you don’t know how to mange money, you will never be financially free. – BINGO – no matter how much money it might be, if you can’t manage it when there is little you will never have a lot.

  7. Person A: “It’s hard to believe the inane crap some politicians propose. It’s like they can’t possibly get any more stupid!”

    Lew Frederick: “Hold my beer…”

    1. This idea is passed “hold my beer and watch this” stupid, it is more like “hold my bong while I scarf a mushroom” stupid. 10K a month for life on a false assumption that they will prove in a court of law they were slaves descendant and going back how many generations? Until they prove a family history of being captured and sold into slavery in Africa somewhere? I would vote against this issue but as Kate has proven, she will ignore the voters and follow her “moral” compass – no death penalty as prescribed by law, by the courts, and by a jury of Oregon citizens. Funny how she will pick and choose which voter mandate she follows.

  8. I think Tina Kotek would love this idea. Does this mean that black babies born after Dec 31, 2022 wouldn’t get their $123,000/yr for life even though they were descended from slaves? Sounds unfair. Why put a date on it. Let’s see. 80,000 blacks in Oregon times $123,000 each is only $10 billion per year. Does Lew say how he is going to pay for this?

  9. Sad face… Barney didn’t like my comment… Imagine that. Had to do with living in the now and all of us equal folks getting a job and contributing to society in the now.

  10. This is no solution, it would further stoke racial tensions. The facts are that Blacks do face unfair obstacles but most minorities as well as impoverished people do. Efforts should be more foundational like making sure that education is equally accessible including higher education and based on performance not so much on money or privileged bigotry. Access to voting should be equal to all not warped to favor one group over another. Chronic poverty needs to be addressed as wealth is more and more diverted to the wealthy (now that is entitlements). The law should not favor those that can afford it, but to all equally. There is so much better ways to handle things instead of some guilt write off that leaves others flailing about. Make the USA colorless fair.

  11. Wow… Reparations and a black national anthem all in one week. Both of these ideas
    are absolutely ridiculous. Why give $123,000 to blacks that were never actually involved
    in slavery ? They aren’t the ones that were forced to endure slavery for years…
    They should get absolutely nothing…

  12. I applaud Mr. Waites’observations and his positive efforts to date at COBLA.

    And we were spared having to hear from anyone at the “peacekeepers”, a true blessing.

  13. Again, stupid idea, but I read the summary as $123K over the life of the recipient, not $123K a year. Reparations remains an amazingly ridiculous idea.

  14. Wealth inequity has little to do with race. I never have purchased a slave. People asking for handouts today in Oregon couldn’t identify a sack of cotton. This is nothing more than panhandling on a larger scale.

  15. Not a fan of government give-aways…if they want to address “systemic racism”, how about addressing the fact that Portland sends the poor-performing teachers to the schools in the black neighborhoods because the contracts with the Teachers Union won’t allow them to be fired? Never mind, the bond between politicians and the Teachers Union lobby is too strong and there’s too much campaign money at stake…

    Growing up in the poor part of Portland myself, I was taught the only way to succeed was through an education and hard work, seems pretty basic but nowadays everyone wants to shortcut the process and get something for nothing.

  16. How are they going to “fact-check” all those family trees? You know as well as I do, it will be rampant with fraud.

    One hardly if ever does one see “Let’s honor the treaties we made with the Native Americans” Let’s give back the sacred tribal land we stole. Let’s give reparations to all the descendants of Native Americans killed because a bunch of greedy people.

    I can trace my Native American blood back to the late 16th century. I couldn’t just say that I was from the tribe. It had to be proven my families name was on those first tribal rolls.

  17. How about we restart The Homestead Act, for blacks only, since they didn’t get a shot at it the last time? Got plenty of federal land laying around here, open it up.

  18. Well, of course Lew will have his hand out, but he seems to think all whites held slaves and must pay, yet the northern half of the nation generally did not hold slaves. My ancestors were notherners and I never saw a slave owner in the entire bunch.

    1. Yep. Mine too. Even have Union commendations attesting to the fact. No one cares, sweetheart. Shhh. I’ll tell you a secret! There’s a lot of white people in this country whose ancestors immigrated after the Civil War. Guess what? They don’t get to be in a special Caucasian category of their own either! “But why?”, you wail, clutching at your pearls. “Surely, everything has been on an equal footing since that war!” Yep. No way that you or your illustrious family ever benefited from any racist policies in this country.

  19. “When you look around Bend, I would encourage you to take a look at a couple of the older land covenants, and you will probably find that the land covenants say that (if you are) non-white, you can not own land in certain sections of Bend,” Frederick said.

    First, Let’s see the land covenants. Am I the only Realtor in Central Oregon that has NEVER come across such a document?

    Second, I can count on one hand, how many persons of color, that were residing in Central Oregon forty years ago.

    Third, My ancestors didn’t own any slaves. Don’t touch my money.

    Fourth, If you can document who owned your relatives, you can find their descendants and, sue for your reparations.

    Fifth, Get this kook out of government office.

    1. ” If you can document who owned your relatives ”

      That’s not something that you read every day… My wifes mother passed away almost
      15 years ago, and a few months after she died, we started going through everything
      that was her moms.
      She had boxes and boxes of stuff, and a 30 year collection of very nice antiques.
      It took a long time to go through everything. I opened a box and it looked like it
      was mostly a lot of paperwork that she had saved, and there were also several
      paperback books inside too…

      When I got to the bottom of the box I found a small journal. I didn’t think much of it until I opened it, and then I realized what it was for: it was her great grandmothers slave journal. That certainly wasn’t what I expecting to find, and I think my wife
      just about went into shock… Each entry had the persons name, age, height and weight, where the person was bought, and how much they paid for them. It was certainly an eye opener, but it was a reminder of how different things were during that time period…

    1. I’m white, getting old, and I’m losing my hair… I can’t even begin to describe
      the stress that I deal with daily. I want a lot more than $123,000…

Leave a Reply

Skip to content