Portland Oregon’s historically black Albina District would be better off with a more Scandinavian or Western European social safety net. Which would, of course, require a more progressive tax system reflecting genuine concern for the common good.
Absent Europe’s political values, and stuck with the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” individualism so deeply engrained in the (dis)United States, Allbina’s residents are left with the generosity of Oregon’s favorite plutocrat, Phil Knight, Nike’s 85 year old founder.
After reading Shoe Dog, the story of Nike’s founding, I’m a Phil Knight fan. In fact, he would probably be my first pick in a draft of billionaires.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Señor Swoosh is investing $400m to revitalize education, housing, and the arts in Albina. That’s less than 1% of Knight’s $47.2 billion estimated net worth.
That’s not meant to be disparaging especially given this:
“The Knights’ donations to the University of Oregon have funded professorships, expanded the main library and built numerous lavish sports facilities. The Knights have given $1 billion in the past seven years alone to launch and expand the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact.
They have given $500 million to cancer research at Portland-based Oregon Health & Science University. Mr. Knight also has given hundreds of millions to Stanford University, where he earned an M.B.A. in 1962.”
It’s dumbfounding how much you and I have enriched Knight through our shoe and other sporting good purchases.
I’m glad he has a social conscience and is using some of the money we gave his company to improve the quality of life in a section of inner North and Northeast Portland.