CORVALLIS, Ore. – Corvallis city councilors unanimously approved a motion Monday to spend up to $150,000 on a response initiative to address hate and bias in and around the city.
The approval of the motion was applauded by the local chapter of the NAACP and members of the King Legacy Advisory Council who both played a large role in getting the motion adopted.
Jonathan Stoll, an NAACP and King Legacy Advisory Council member, started a petition on change.org a year ago to “implore the City of Corvallis to embrace this vision by prioritizing the funding allocation of $150,000 for bias response and diversity initiatives/services housed within the City of Corvallis’ Office of Community Development.”
The petition, with well over 3,000 signatures, calls for a full-time Bias Response and Equity Coordinator position to be created as well as additional programs and training.
Stoll said Tuesday he was surprised the council approved his full request of $150,000 because just days earlier it had seemed only a fraction of that request would be granted. However, the recent death of George Floyd may have played a role.
“This likely would not have happened if George Floyd was still breathing today,” Stoll said over the phone. “So, it wasn’t in response to that because we’ve been working on this for several years now. But that was the absolute change. That’s what changed a week ago.”
Angel Harris, president of the Corvallis/Albany Chapter of the NAACP, also was excited about the new funding.
“When you believe in something, you stick with it. It just feels really good. We needed this. It’s been really heavy times,” Harris said.
Stoll said details on exact job functions of the new position and the new programs still need to be worked out and will be collaborative effort between community stakeholders.