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Latino contributions in Oregon

Over the past decade, Oregon’s population has grown by 419,000 residents and Latinos account for 43.7% of that growth (US Census). Latino-owned businesses are the fastest growing sector of the U.S economy, creating jobs and economic growth across the country. According to the most recent census report in 2007 Hispanic-owned businesses generated $345.2 billion in sales an increase of 55.5% compared with 2002. The Latino Business Alliance (LBA) is passionate about helping Latino business owners succeed and thereby improving the quality of life of the Latino community.

Our Latino business community is increasing; therefore, it is important for our Latino businesses to have the resources and support needed to be successful. As the LBA founders started working with Latino entrepreneurs, they noticed a disturbing trend. Many had never filed business taxes, they lacked an understanding of employment law, and they didn’t know about resources available to help them grow their businesses. These knowledge gaps not only put Latino small business owners in a vulnerable position but threatened the future health and prosperity of the Latino community. Since its inception, the LBA has worked tirelessly to empower Latino small business owners and close those gaps.



1850s: Mexican Mule Packers

Mexican mule packers supply the Second Regiment Oregon Mounted Volunteers during the Rogue River War who fought against Oregon’s native peoples defending their territory.

1869: Mexican Vaqueros

Mexican vaqueros bring up large herds of cattle driven from California to eastern Oregon.

1910-1925: Mexican Workers

Mexican workers are contracted to work in sugar beets and on railroads in Portland, eastern Oregon, and in other parts of the state. The first Mexican families settle permanently in the state.

1942-1947: Bracero Workers

More than 15,000 bracero workers come to the state to work in agriculture. Additional workers were employed on railroads.

1950s: Tejano Families

Mexicano and Mexican-American Tejano families settle in several areas of the state.

1955: Migrant Ministry

Portland Catholic Archdiocese establishes a Migrant Ministry to serve the Mexican population.

1964: Migrant Ministry

The name changes to Oregon Friends of Migrants.

1964: Fiesta Mexicana

The first Fiesta Mexicana is held by the Mexican committee Pro Fiestas Mexicanas in Woodburn, Oregon.

1964: Valley Migrant

The Valley Migrant is formed. It was later known as Oregon Rural Opportunities (ORO) and ended in 1979.

1971: Commission for Chicano Affairs

The Commission for Chicano Affairs is established. In 1983, the group was renamed the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs.

1973: Colegio César Chávez

Colegio César Chávez, the first Latino four-year college in the U.S. is created on the former campus of Mt. Angel College in Silverton, Oregon. It closed in 1983.

1977: Willamette Valley Immigration Project

The Willamette Valley Immigration Project opens in Portland and then moves to Woodburn to protect and represent undocumented workers.

1979: Salud de la Familia Medical Clinic

The Salud de la Familia Medical Clinic is established in Woodburn, Oregon.

1981: El Hispanic News

El Hispanic News begins publication.

1985: PCUN

Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN, Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United) forms as Oregon’s only farmworker union.

1995: Chicano/Latino Studies

The Chicano/Latino Studies Program is established at Portland State University.

1996: CAUSA

CAUSA, Oregon Immigrant Rights Coalition is formed. The organization dissolved in 2022.

2005: U.S. Census

Latinos are registered by the U.S. Census as 9.9 percent of the state’s population and Paul J. De Muniz is the first Latino Chief of Justice in the Oregon Supreme Court.

Stephen, Lynn and Marcela Mendoza. 2008. Oregon. In Mark Overmyer-Velazquez (ed.) Latino America, A State-by-State Encyclopedia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, page 667-668.