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    Portland Creep vs Clackamas Model

    Clackamas and Multnomah County might border each other, but their policies couldn’t be further apart. As the capital descended into chaos, Clackamas residents dutifully directed their government to reject the Portland model. The people spoke up, pushed back, and charted their own course instead of following the leader blindly.

    The resulting Clackamas Model has become a shining example for communities around Oregon looking to escape the shockwaves of Portland Creep. The difference between these modes of governance isn’t relegated to the realm of theory either. They have a direct impact on the quality of life for residents.

    Homelessness Rates

    Homelessness has afflicted Oregon communities for years, putting the most vulnerable people at risk. However, the problem isn’t equally severe across the state. Some strategies aimed at curbing the epidemic have had more success than others. And, that’s putting it lightly. Portland has an estimated homeless population of 6,297 individuals, representing .01% of the population. Conversely, Clackamas only counts 410 homeless individuals which is only .001% of the population. Portland Creep’s one-trick strategy of providing expensive housing while ignoring underlying causes has failed miserably as homelessness rates surge. In Clackamas, we’ve reduced our homeless population by 45% through a comprehensive strategy that addresses the root causes such as drug addiction and mental health.

    Police Funding

    Law enforcement funding represents a government’s commitment to the safety, security, and peace of mind of its citizens. Tragically, progressive ideology has politicized the law and order cornerstone of a functioning community. Anti-police rhetoric emanating from the capital is affecting communities around the state, leading to sharp reductions in funding. In 2020, Portland slashed the Portland Police Bureau’s budget by $15 million — a 6% cut within just a year. Instead of following suit, Clackamas County went in the opposite direction by ramping up police spending to stem the rising tide of crime. In fact, our police budget is on par with Portland’s despite having a fraction of its population. The capital’s diminishing budget sits at $227 million and Clackamas’ increasing budget recently hit $200 million. In total, 65% of the Clackamas County budget has been dedicated to public safety.

    Crime Rate

    On the back of the defund-the-police movement, Portland Creep has been the purveyor of inane soft-on-crime policies such as no cash bail and drug decriminalization. Passed in the name of equity, these disastrous actions exacerbate already high crime rates and jeopardize the safety of civilians. When the predictable consequences of these policies were evident, Clackamas County residents directed their leaders to support law enforcement efforts financially and rhetorically. As Portland is awash with crime, Clackamas is one of the safest counties in the state. Violent crime in the capital has hit a high of 7.49 per 1,000 residents with people escaping the city center out of fear. In comparison, Clackamas’ crime rate is over 60% lower at 2.86 per 1,000 residents.

    Population Growth

    People vote with their feet as the old saying goes. That’s why population growth is a reliable barometer of the popularity of public policies. In the context of Portland Creep vs the Clackamas Model, people strongly favor reason and results over ideology and wokism. Portland is in the midst of a severe decline in population with nearly 20,000  fleeing since the Coronavirus pandemic. Alternatively, Clackamas County has grown by over 1% during the same period. Between 2010 and 2022, its population expanded 11 out of the 12 years. Leaders might be tempted to shrug off population decay, but it’s an exponential process. Plus, lower populations have downstream consequences including less economic activity, fewer businesses, and lower government budgets.

    The Clackamas County Commission represents a broad range of ideas, backgrounds, and approaches, but we’re united in the pushback against Portland Creep and the pursuit of the Clackamas Way. By listening to what the people want and putting forth effective policies, our county has outperformed Multnomah in nearly every metric on the most pressing issues that face Oregonians. Now that we’ve proven the correct path, we need to continue down it until the job is done while keeping Portland Creep at bay.