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One of the most important function of a commissioner is to represent the interests of county residents. That’s especially true of whichever commissioner serves as chair of the board of commissioners.

As a longtime Clackamas County resident, I’m extremely familiar with the county’s communities and its residents’ needs. I’ve seen the area evolve over the years alongside the neighboring metropolis of Portland. And I feel it’s more important than ever that Clackamas County and its cities have their own unique identities that are independent of the state’s largest city.

Even though some of its cities are considered suburbs of Portland, the vast majority of Clackamas County is rural. I think we need to allow and encourage those communities to maintain and preserve their small town feels and rural characters.

As Portland has grown, so has the severity of its problems. We’ve seen increases of such urban issues as graffiti, traffic and homelessness. But worse yet, some of these social ills are starting to spread out to nearby communities, including some of the cities in Clackamas County.

That’s one of the most important reasons why we need to preserve the county’s autonomy and empower its residents to choose their own collective destiny.

For far too long, we’ve seen the county’s interests become subservient to Metro, the regional governing authority. I agree with the many county residents who feel that Metro is another costly level of government that undermines other, more local municipalities like cities.

In response to the loss of $11 million in revenue per month caused by the coronavirus crisis, Metro has laid off nearly half of its employees. It’s likely that more will be furloughed.

Before all of this, Metro was considering a multi-million-dollar tax measure in the name of funding services for the homeless. And even though thousands of Americans and Oregonians have lost their jobs, Metro is going ahead with its proposed tax measure.

If passed by voters, Clackamas residents and businesses would be surrendering themselves to the taxing authority of one of the worst managed cities in America. 

The idea of having the City of Portland collecting taxes from folks outside its jurisdiction, without the direct concurrence of Clackamas County residents, is simply wrong.  If we somehow got this question before Clackamas County voters asking if they want to have taxes collected from them by the City of Portland, I’m confident they would say no.

Current Clackamas County Commission Chair Jim Bernard has spent his entire political career doing the bidding of officials from Portland and Metro. By contrast, when I served as county commissioner from 2013 and 2017, I stood up to those urban interests and put my constituents first.

Portland’s problems are due largely to its officials’ lack of leadership and the chronic mismanagement of vast amounts of taxpayer dollars. Clackamas County residents should not be left holding the bag for the failures of politicians and bureaucrats from the City of Portland and Metro.

It’s time we had a county commissioner chair who was willing to stand up for our citizens’ interests instead of writing blank checks to bail Portland and Metro out for their failed policies. I’m proud of my track record of doing right by the citizens of Clackamas County, and it’s why I’m running for chair of its board of commissioners.

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