Peter Kirsanow blasts Portland's 'discriminatory' plan to give $2 million to 'artists of color'

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fairly difficult
U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow on Tuesday urged Portland to reconsider its decision to funnel millions in stimulus funding to "artists of color," warning that distributing federal dollars based on race violates civil-rights laws.
In a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, Mr. Kirsanow asked why a city determined to eradicate "systemic racism" would designate $2 million of $63.8 million received under American Rescue Plan Act to "Relief and Recovery for Artists of Color."

"The City's planned distribution of federal monies in a racially discriminatory manner raises serious concerns about Portland's ability to remain compliant with federal and state civil rights law," said Mr. Kirsanow in his letter. "Accordingly, I urge you to reconsider the implementation of the City Council's incipient plan."

The city council agreed last week on a plan for spending the federal dollars, the largest slice of which goes toward creating six homeless villages at a cost of $35.6 million, while a slim $1 million is directed to "community safety," as shown on a document posted by KGW-TV.

It was the $2 million for non-white artists that raised red flags with Mr. Kirsanow, who asked the city to "reconsider this deeply misguided distribution immediately."

"Where does one begin?" asked Mr. Kirsanow. "It is remarkably ironic…
Valerie Richardson
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