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      Commonly Asked Questions

      Stopped Tolling

      How did you stop tolling from being implemented?

      This commission has been united on this issue. Our commission's actions led to the current 'pause' on tolling, and we are in the process of stopping it entirely. In addition to numerous direct actions taken, we worked extensively with the Clackamas County Department of Transportation and Development to draft a 36-page technical letter outlining the deficiencies with the I-205 Toll Project Environmental Assessment. Our letter received attention from state legislators and was instrumental in Governor Kotek's decision to pause tolling.

      Why do you oppose tolling Clackamas County?

      Tolling is a regressive tax on the working poor and vulnerable population that accomplishes nothing other than government control over residents’ movements. ODOT plans to toll Clackamas County before any other jurisdiction in Oregon at least by one year. The agency also intends to toll all lanes simultaneously, adding an additional layer of inequality and economic burden. No other jurisdiction in America has done that. This scheme will force traffic to divert onto local streets and roads, grid-locking Clackamas cities, and slow deliveries of goods and services. Diversion will also cause more air pollution as cars sit idle, waiting for congestion to clear.

      We simply can’t allow them to impose this destructive plan onto Clackamas County citizens.

      How are we stopping tolling for good?

      As a board, we will continue to fight tolling legally and politically. We just submitted to ODOT a 36-page answer to the 2,000-page environmental assessment that it published. If we do not receive a response to our demands, a lawsuit will be imminent.

      Also, we continue gaining momentum with our strong coalition of 16 Clackamas County cities who joined us in opposition. Our combined opposition is growing stronger each day. Our commission has yet to pose a question to the citizens on this issue because we are exhausting all other avenues of challenge. Although, I believe citizens would overwhelmingly support a vote against tolling.

      What can Clackamas County residents do to fight tolling?

      Residents can sign the IP-4 petition, which amends the Oregon state constitution and requires a citizen's vote on all tolls. This amendment puts the power back in the hands of Oregon residents, where it belongs.

      Fully Funded Police

      How did you successfully fight against the defund & vilify the police movement?

      This commission has stood united and strong against the destructive political pressure of the ‘defund & vilify the police’ movement that led to a massive surge in crime, homelessness, and dissolution of community trust in neighboring counties. The current commissioners proudly and unanimously support fully funding law enforcement. We understand that to have a safe county, we need a robust and well-funded police force. That is why in the 2023-2024 county budget, our commission guaranteed funding to keep every current boot-on-the-ground law enforcement officer and expedite hiring new officers.

      How have you supported the police since you became Chair of the Board of Clackamas County Commissioners?

      When I first became Chair of the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners, we referred a successful vote to increase the Sheriff's Office levy by 50% so the county could have more patrols protecting our streets. We understand that having more police leads to a safer county. And no, I didn't oppose the funding. I kept my promise to refer all tax increases out for a vote of the people, and those trying to claim otherwise simply aren't being honest.

      How do you plan on supporting law enforcement going forward?

      Public safety is our commission's top priority, and the 2023-2024 county budget reflects that. The budget allocates over 65%+ of general funds to public safety, and as a commission, we promise to supplement any budget revenue decline for the Sheriff's Office through general funds. We understand that a unified Public Safety force is not just uniformed deputies in cars but an entire defense system. That is why as commissioners, we voted to build a courthouse so the state would pay for more judges to prosecute criminals. We also allocated additional funds for high-speed software for body cams to the District Attorney's office. The linear flow of public safety is arrest, investigation, jail, trial, and prosecution, and all of these functions are necessary for swift justice and to keep our residents safe.

      As a commission, we have not, and will not, settle for anything less than a fully funded public safety effort.

      Reduced Homelessness

      How did you significantly reduce homelessness in Clackamas County?

      While neighboring counties have seen skyrocketing homeless, Clackamas County decreased our unsheltered homeless population by 45% in a year. We did this by focusing primarily on the core issues of addiction, mental health and directly addressing crime rather than the nearby failed (and continuing to fail) policies of aiding addicts with drug paraphernalia, safe injection sites, housing they are not ready for, and failure to prosecute crime. It is not compassionate to set up a system focused on giving addicts all the tools they need to die. This commission is focused on the humane treatment of individuals by providing each person a viable path to reintegrate and become a productive member of society.

      What are the core principles on homelessness that lead this commission?

      Our commission understands that mental illness and addiction are the root causes of this crisis and that much of this is intertwined. Even with affordable housing available, often, people experiencing homelessness choose to stay on the streets or end up back living on the streets due to mental illness and addiction. Even if someone did not become homeless due to mental illness or addiction, the risk for both increases the longer someone lives on the streets; that is why we are taking a recovery-oriented approach to homelessness in Clackamas County.

      What is your plan to reduce homelessness in Clackamas County?

      As a commission, we outlined a 3-step plan to improve community involvement in how the county addresses homelessness: Hold Homelessness Causation and Accountability Summits, convene a Blue-Ribbon Committee of thought leaders from the national, state, and local level, and bring a referral to the voters on whether the legislature should overturn Measure 110, which decriminalized hard drugs.

      In addition to our plan, we acquired a 40,000-square-foot building for a Mental Health Clinic that will have a treatment section, partnered for $5 million of the opioid federal settlement fund with a private nonprofit for a navigation center in Oregon City, and obtained $4 million for the Sheriff to establish a 23-hour stabilization center. As a board, we also approved spending one-time ARPA dollars worth $1.3 million to purchase a Teen and Adult Challenge Northwest women’s residential recovery center and the Canby Center for $640,000 for additional space.

      What was the reasoning for your final vote on Project Turnkey?

      We can all agree that there is undoubtedly a place for housing in any plan to solve homelessness, but we must implement it correctly. Clackamas County leads with solutions that focus on the core causes of homelessness first, with housing options available for those that are ready and willing to be helped. It is critical to have our community firmly behind us in this issue, and it will take all of us working together to solve this.

      I voted against Project Turnkey because it was simply not the right time, place, or project to get the job done. This community did not want a transitional housing project in a high-traffic business area while lacking many of the guarantees that would avoid a ‘Portland’ type housing project, and I understood their concern. Our decision as a commission prevented Clackamas County from becoming a scene from downtown Portland. From watching Portland’s attempts at addressing homelessness, we understand that just getting someone off the street does not solve the underlying issues that got them there. All of us on this commission are 100% committed to solving this problem, and we WILL get there.

      Reduced Crime

      How has Clackamas County avoided the massive spike in violent crime and homicide as we’ve seen in Portland?

      As a commission, public safety is our top priority. We will not follow Portland’s destructive policies that defunded & vilified police and allowed criminals to go unprosecuted. We will continue to ensure our law enforcement officers and services have the resources and funding they need to maintain law and order and keep our community safe. In our county, criminals are dealt with, the district attorney prosecutes, and our judges issue sentences.

      What have you done to ensure law enforcement is well equipped to handle crime in Clackamas County?

      Our commission just passed the largest budget for public safety in county history, and we ensured no law enforcement positions were cut in the process. We understand that to reduce crime, our county need boots on the ground to catch criminals.

      What was your reasoning for supporting the Replacement Courthouse project?

      The Oregon Justice Department recognized counties could not afford to build courthouses, so they set up a 50 percent matching grant fund through the Oregon legislature. Our Commission took advantage and voted to use a P3 model – a private-public partnership. This is the first partnership in the state that guarantees a price, a deadline, and maintenance for 30 years. With this partnership, we are able to build a new courthouse without raising taxes. The current courthouse was built almost a century ago to serve a population of 50,000 and is extremely unsafe for ongoing service. We desperately need a new courthouse that can handle the county's growing population, currently at 430,000, to maintain law and order and reduce the likelihood of repeat offenders. Our county needs this replacement courthouse to serve justice effectively and efficiently.

      Defended Property Rights

      What is your stance on the Metro council’s decision to do an urban growth boundary land exchange where Clackamas County’s growth boundary is decreased so that Washington County’s growth boundary can be extended?

      Metro has repeatedly favored Washington and Multnomah County at the expense of Clackamas County, and this decision is no different. I led the protest against Metro’s efforts to do a land exchange because it would not solve the underlying issue in our region; it only moves resources from one part of Metro to another while hindering development in Clackamas County.

      What is Metro?

      Metro is a regional government that includes portions of Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington County. It is the only directly elected regional government and metropolitan planning organization in the United States. It oversees the solid waste system, general land use, and transportation planning and maintains regional parks and natural areas.

      Do you feel that being in Metro, the elected regional government, is positive for Clackamas County?

      No, being governed by Metro is not in the best interest of Clackamas County. Metro has sacrificed our county’s growth and potential for other counties. Clackamas County is not Portland. We have very different needs, and we have chosen a different path of living that has proven far more successful than our neighbors. Being lumped together under one regional government will only increase the likelihood that the disastrous policies implemented in neighboring counties will make their way into Clackamas County.

      Improved Public Safety

      Is public safety a priority for you as you seek re-election for Chair?

      YES! As a commission, we have made public safety our top priority. Nothing is more important than ensuring our county is safe to live and do business.

      What have you done to improve public safety in Clackamas County?

      Our commitment to public safety is evident through our proposed budget, which keeps every law enforcement position, our promise to supplement potential revenue declines for the Sheriff’s Office with general funds, and our vote for the new County Courthouse. And the proof is in the results. While this commission has been in office, our record in Clackamas County speaks for itself. We have dramatically reduced homelessness, and violent crime in our county is dramatically lower than in our neighboring communities.

      Why was it so critical to have a new Clackamas County courthouse?

      As a commission, we voted for the new county courthouse because we need one that can handle our growing population, far exceeding the county population of 50,000 when the current courthouse was built. The new courthouse will ensure justice is served safely and efficiently while providing easy access to county resources, including Social Services, Behavioral Health, Public Health, Juvenile, Veterans Services, and A Safe Place Family Justice Center. Add to this a rare opportunity where the state has offered to provide up to half the funding, and this was a once-in-a-lifetime ability to get this done.

      Increased Public Accountability

      What have you done to ensure the county is not wasting taxpayer money?

      As a commission, we ensure that every single tax dollar is stretched to the max and in our recent budget deliberations, we asked that all departments be frugal and reduce costs where they can.

      What have you done to ensure the county budget is transparent?

      As a commission, we want full transparency for the public regarding the budget. That is why the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners implemented a new budget system requiring every department to submit a chart of accounts and reconcile their monthly budget. Clackamas County residents deserve full transparency on how the county spends money, which this system provides.

      Why did you call for an audit of the Sheriff’s Office?

      One of our primary responsibilities is to do all we can to spend every taxpayer dollar wisely, and this commission takes this seriously. We work with all department heads to ensure they have what they need and verify the appropriate use of funding. The audit was necessary after the Sheriff’s Office did not comply with the prescribed budget system. We aim to ensure that all tax dollars go towards their intended purpose to serve county residents best.

      Ended failed ‘Portland’ policies

      How has Clackamas County avoided so many of the issues we see in Portland?

      I promised you I would stop “Portland Creep” when I ran for office, and this commission has done exactly that. On the significant issues of crime, homelessness, drug addiction, land use, and law enforcement, we have made a concerted effort to listen to local voices, voices from around the country, and even outside our borders, and we are continually analyzing decisions and outcomes made by other leaders and governing bodies. And we have come together on the big issues and taken bold steps to make our own decisions that would benefit Clackamas County. On most of these issues, we have taken a very different path than Portland, and this commission's diligence has shown solid outcomes in our community. We have a LOT more to do, and there will be a lot of boisterous debates along the way to get it done, but this group of commissioners has been excellent at doing just that.

      How have you handled homelessness differently?

      While Portland’s homelessness has skyrocketed, Clackamas County has had a massive reduction in our homeless population. We’ve seen the policies of our neighbors fail miserably, from decriminalizing hard drugs, refusing to prosecute crime, allowing open-air drug use while providing drug paraphernalia, and encouraging more homeless camps at the cost of so many lives. The insistent refusal to accept that addiction and mental health are the driving forces of homelessness has made it all but impossible to achieve functional conversations focused on solutions.Watching our neighbors fail to handle homelessness made us realize we needed to do something different for our community. We outlined a 3-step plan to address the root causes of homelessness so people can get the help they need. We are on the right path, and we will solve this.

      How are you addressing the impacts from drug decriminalization from Measure 110?

      This is a big issue as our state, community, and residents have suffered homelessness, addiction, and crime increases due to Measure 110. As a county, we can only do so much, but we are putting a vote on the ballot to reform or repeal Measure 110, which decriminalized hard drugs, so voters can show how they feel about Measure 110. The flow of harmful drugs must stop, and recriminalizing drugs puts teeth back into treatment and puts dealers in jail. As a commission, we are actively exploring all possible legal paths to mitigate the damage from this measure.