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Could Oregon See 25 Percent Unemployment? Rukaiyah Adams Is Watching the Markets.

In the short term? It doesn’t look great. But eventually, she says, Oregonians could benefit from upheaval.

This week, WW is launching "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.

Rukaiyah Adams thinks this pandemic could rearrange the economic playing field—if it doesn't obliterate that field first.

Adams spends a lot of time looking at the stock market as the chief investment officer for Meyer Memorial Trust, one of the state's largest philanthropic organizations. Wall Street is alarming to watch these days—and it can seem especially vexing if you're monitoring equities from a home office perpetually bathed in gauzy light, as Adams is.

"I spend most of my time in the hazy, bright room," Adams says, "trying to do the work. I have a room dedicated to working. Not eating more. Probably drinking a bit more wine."

Still, that gives Adams—who until recently also oversaw the state's $90 billion portfolio as the chair of the Oregon Investment Council—with a useful vantage to observe the trajectory of this state's economy. In the short term? It doesn't look great. But eventually, she says, Oregonians could benefit from upheaval. She also sees the potential to more fairly distribute power, something she's advocated for as the leader of Albina Vision.

We talked to her about that forecast, how she exercises when it's too crowded to run, and (of course) Tiger King.