An Oregon county commission has voted to disband its DEI office, which had a budget near $1 million.
Despite containing portions of Portland, Oregon – one of the most liberal cities in America – the Clackamas County commission voted to disband its Equity and Inclusion Office, effective Feb. 5, Fox News reported.
The Equity and Inclusion Office had previously promoted a “racial equity support line,” LGBT support groups, and a land acknowledgement statement regarding the Native American communities with historical connections to Clackamas.
After the closure, its two full-time employees will be reassigned to other offices.
Ben West, the county commissioner who led the charge against DEI, said the county is choosing instead to value “merit” and “diversity of ideas.”
“[Your immutable traits] are not the things that make you unique and special. The Clackamas County thinks that it’s the individual spark inside you that does, that makes you a person,” West told Fox News. “It [DEI] has just become at times a distraction and we didn’t want that in our county We are no longer investing in that ideology.”
Fellow commissioner Mark Shull supported West, calling the office an “unnecessary expense” that “only foments friction.”
The annual budget for the Equity and Inclusion office was $830,000.
West, who is married to a man and has an adopted African American son, began criticizing DEI ideology last summer.
“I love this country and I’m proud to be a gay man raising a family in the best country in human history,” West said during a budget meeting in 2023. “I don’t want to live in an America where my son is told that his father victimizes him because of the color of his skin, because of some type of privilege.”
“As I begin to look at the outcomes that [DEI is] creating in my county, I have concerns because I see some negative outcomes from that really cause division and have caused us to pit people against one another based on their immutable traits,” West explained to Fox News last June.
DEI is facing pushback in many other spheres of public life – from medicine to higher education.
States such as Florida, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma are scrubbing the ideology from their university systems. Even former DEI executives are turning their backs on the divisive agenda, accusing it of being toxic and hateful.