A little over a year after I took office, the world changed. The COVID 19 pandemic affected our county as has nothing else in my lifetime. The movement for racial justice, galvanized by the murder of George Floyd, sharpened our understanding of the deep, pervasive racism experienced by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color across all our systems.
I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that we use the lessons of the past year and a half to create the future we want for all our residents. What we do today creates our tomorrow.
In my time on the commission I have:
Throughout, I have been a champion for those who have been marginalized, left behind, and left out by our systems, insisting that they be seen, heard, and centered.
My priorities are:
Economic stability. The pandemic showed us what happens to people who are just hanging on, in minimum wage jobs and with no cushion to protect them from the smallest setbacks, let alone crisis.
We need to think beyond programs that help people survive to those that create true stability: asset building, debt reduction, home ownership, unconditional cash transfers. The County is ideally placed to begin this work.
Housing/Houselessness. We are in the first year of implementation of the Metro Supportive Housing Services Measure; I will focus on making sure that we have clear metrics for impact so that we are holding ourselves accountable and changing strategies as necessary in order to move people into housing. I will continue to advocate for shorter term strategies to address the immediate health and safety issues faced by people on the streets, including hygiene, sanitation, and physical and behavioral health care.
Community Safety. I’ll lead implementation of a County project I initiated, to develop place-based community coalitions that will work to create vibrant, safe, and thriving neighborhoods. I will continue to advocate for investments in changing the conditions that lead to violence.
Climate Change/Environment. I’ll continue to develop programs and strategies to ensure that all residents of Multnomah County breathe clean air and are protected from the impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather events.