Some of the topics of conversation and questions I hear when out and about in our community along with thoughts about each.

Q: How have things changed in Clackamas County since you took over as chair of the board of commissioners?

A: I think the most important thing is that we’ve gotten the county’s budget back on track. As a lifelong county resident, I was appalled a few years ago when I saw how top-heavy and wasteful the budget had become. People kept telling me how concerned they were that their property taxes were being raised without services getting any better. I’m glad that we’ve managed to keep essential services funded without further burdening the people of this county with higher taxes.

Q: Will county residents end up being charged tolls for driving on existing roads?

A: Not if I can help it. I am absolutely opposed to this idea of people paying to continue taking the same roads they’ve always driven to get to their jobs. ODOT needs to use their own fairness and equity standards in not tolling all lanes at the same time, and not toll I-205 before I-5. That is wrong and will kill all businesses along the I-205 corridor. This plan will also divert traffic to county and city roads not built to handle the volume.  The plan is a mess!

Q: Why are county residents still being charged a vehicle registration fee?

A: I raised this issue before my fellow commissioners in the hopes that they would agree to repeal the fee to voters. At the very least, I was hoping they would let voters decide on the issue, but a majority of the board wanted to maintain the status quo and keep the fee in place. I was very disappointed. I lost that vote 3-2.

Q: Are there going to be efforts made to de-fund the police in Clackamas County?

A: No. A radical organization called Reimagine Oregon claimed to be working with the county to de-fund its sheriff’s office. When I found out about this, not only did I stop it in its tracks, I made a motion to end association with this Portland far-leftish group. My board voted 3-1-1 with me.

Q: How have you been holding Metro accountable as chair of the board of county commissioners?

A: I discovered that Metro was overcharging residents for some of the services it was supposed to be providing them and lead the efforts to make that agency accountable for it.

Q: How have you stood up for county employees?

A: During the COVID pandemic, many of our brave frontline employees were threatened with termination by the State because they tried to exercise their medical freedom. Even though the unions representing those employees actively campaigned against me when I ran for commissioner, I had to do what was right and defended their right to maintain bodily autonomy.  I offered up religious exemptions for vaccines for all county employees. And I would happily do the same thing all over again if I had to. Today, I still do not know who has been vaccinated or who has taken the religious exemption as that is private information.  No county employee lost their job under my watch.

Q: Is the county going to be getting a new courthouse facility?

A: Yes.

Q: Are property taxes going to be raised to fund that project?
A: No. The county will be receiving $95 million in state funds to help cover those costs. Those were passed during the 2022 short legislative session.

Q: How was that project originally going to be funded?

A: Under the previous board of commissioners and chair, it would have been paid through a property tax increase of 17 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The owner of a home valued at $350,000 would have paid around $600 per year in additional property taxes. Under my watch we will cut out the FLUFF, Financial Luxuries that Undo Fiscal Fitness, by right sizing the budget. And make payments on the remaining debt from the general fund, which is funded through taxpayer property taxes, not an increase.

Q: What is the county doing to address homeless issues?

A: The county will also be receiving $2 million in state funds for shelter services and infrastructure, hygiene, and homeless outreach. Metro’s SHS measure passed by voters will give Clackamas County $24 million in wrap-around services to get people off the streets and into jobs. We are also removing abandoned RVs from county roads and protecting our north border with Portland with enhanced Sheriff patrols and arrests.