Rep. Diehl: DEI cost taxpayers millions

By Oregon State Representative Ed Diehl,

The State of Oregon is wasting millions of your tax dollars on DEI hires within all government entities. Meanwhile, ODOT is forced to cut down the amount of plowing and sanding it will do this winter, making Oregon’s highways less safe.

The state of Oregon has abandoned Merit, Fairness, and Equality, and replaced these time-tested standards with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, or DEI. It permeates every state agency.
The state spends at least $63,728,000 per year on DEI employees across all state agencies per an LFO survey from May 2023. These positions are either dedicated DEI positions, or positions where a substantial portion of their work is devoted to DEI. I say ‘at least’, because this price tag does not represent DEI related work that some employees may be doing on a part-time or rotational basis. It also doesn’t include 53 unfilled positions.

This list also doesn’t include the DEI positions at the public schools, government-funded nonprofits, and other organizations funded by our tax dollars. I estimate that Oregon taxpayers are spending in excess of $100 million a year on DEI related salaries alone.

There are a total of 309 DEI positions within the state agencies, 256 of which are filled. The average cost for these 256 employees is $248,938 which including salary, benefits, and burden (overhead).

As just one example, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Administrator 1” position is costing the state $451,148.
The Oregon Health Authority alone has 167 DEI employees, costing taxpayers over $40 million dollars annually.

With DEI, every outcome is measured in terms of racial disparity. Any racial disparity means that there must be bias in the system, and action must be taken to remove this ‘systemic racism’. It leads to some ridiculous policies.


For example, in education-

DEI in school disciplinary actions:

“When a student exhibits “continuous disruptive behavior,” the agreement says, school officials must develop a “support plan” for the student, which can include disciplinary measures such as detention. That plan “must take into consideration the impact of issues related to the student’s trauma, race, gender identity/presentation, sexual orientation … and restorative justice as appropriate for the student,” (link)

DEI in school grading standards:

“Equitable grading” practices that will require teachers to accept late work without penalty and refrain from giving students zeros, even if they are caught cheating.” (link)

DEI in school testing standards:

“Pausing or ending graduation requirements without proposing more effective and equitable alternatives “risks leading Oregonians to believe that our state is lowering expectations to artificially mask disparities” and reinforces false and prejudiced ideas that students’ demographics dictate their academic success.” (link)