On Thursday, as Multnomah County commissioners consider a strategic plan promoting workforce equity and trust with communities of color, the elephant in the room will be an explosive letter they received last week.
It’s from a top county manager calling for in-depth investigation of a “pattern and practice” of “systemic” racism in county government.
The letter, obtained by the Portland Tribune, describes how Multnomah County Public Health Director Tricia Tillman is being forced out of her job despite having received only positive feedback and good performance reviews. Tillman sent it to the county commissioners and Chair Deborah Kafoury on Sept. 7, asking for a severance payment that recognizes her track record.
“I ask that you and county leadership work with community leaders from diverse communities to immediately investigate and explore the pattern and practice of racist, unjust, unfair, disparate and negative treatment of leaders of color, particularly African-Americans, who have served Multnomah County, including reviewing past settlements and administrative remedies and identifying how pervasive this treatment is and how it is perpetuated,” Tillman wrote.
Read more at the Portland Tribune.