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      Putting Public Safety First

      In Clackamas County, public safety isn’t just a talking point thrown around to win cheap political points – it’s a priority. This commission has remained steadfast in its commitment to end the importation of disastrous policies of Portland Creep.

      This is evident in the tangible steps we’ve taken to ensure the security and well-being of our community, distinguishing us as a county that doesn’t just speak of safety but actively fosters it. While our neighbors grapple with rising crime and thwarted law enforcement, Clackamas stands apart as a model of safety. The difference is ideas, not geography.

      Let’s revisit some effective policies that have successfully turned Clackamas County around.

      Supporting and fully funding the police.

      Amid the “Defund the Police” movement, Oregon counties across the state implemented a slew of radical soft-on-crime policies in the name of equity, racial justice, and other ultra-progressive policies. Instead of succumbing to peer pressure and political trends, the Clackamas County Commission put the public’s safety first.

      We doubled down on our commitment to fully fund the police force in terms of finances and resources. Our 2023-2024 police budget is 88% of Multnomah’s budget despite the significant population disparity. That means we’re spending more per citizen on public safety which translates to quicker response times, sufficient resources for police, and a safer community overall.

      In total, 65% of Clackamas’ general funds are going towards public safety in the 2023-2024 county budget, underscoring our acknowledgment of a fully funded police force as the cornerstone of public safety. Law and order matters, and we’re not apologetic about that.

      Reviving the old courthouse.

      A courthouse is a vital component of a smoothly operating criminal justice system. It ensures timely trials for the accused, efficient use of taxpayer dollars, and improved safety for the public. When this current commission took the reigns, the nearly-a-century-old Clackamas Courthouse was on the verge of being condemned.

      While previous leaders flirted with the idea of funding through a public bond, we stood resolute in our promise to deliver a new courthouse without raising taxes. After securing nearly $100 million from the state, we pioneered a groundbreaking public-private partnership which was the first of its kind in Oregon.

      Right out of the gate, we saved tens of millions of dollars without assuming any of the financial risk. The new 215,000-square-foot courthouse will have the capacity to handle the county’s criminal justice needs now and well into the future to ensure the safety and protect the rights of all citizens.

      Addressing the root causes of homelessness.

      The state’s homelessness epidemic wasn’t caused by Clackamas County, but we are handling this crisis with more success than most counties. We’ve put an end to the doomed-to-fail and cost-prohibitive housing projects that incorrectly blame the cost of living for the steep rise in homelessness.

      Instead of chasing trends, we’re focusing on the root causes of homelessness such as drug addiction and mental health. That’s why we’ve been able to reduce the unsheltered homeless population by 45% while surrounding counties see uncontrollable spikes. By focusing on recovery and treatment, Clackamas has effectively helped nearly half of its homeless get their lives back.

      In the end, this proactive and effective approach has increased public safety by reducing homeless-related crime and improving addiction recovery programs. While other counties might rest on their laurels, we’re pushing ahead to the next challenge to public safety: Measure 110.

      Pushing for the repeal of Measure 110.

      Controversial from the outset, Measure 110’s decriminalization of killer drugs was sold to the public under the guise of compassion, equity, and – most absurdly – public safety. The extreme legislation not only failed miserably on all accounts but managed to increase the crime and addiction rates to new highs and erode public trust in the competency of leadership.

      While surrounding counties search for excuses or call for band-aid “fixes”, the Clackamas County Commission is unequivocally demanding a complete repeal of Measure 110. We see through the smoke-and-mirror show put on by the “Drug Addiction and Recovery Act” advocates. This legislation is a death sentence for addicts and victims of violent crime.

      Instead of putting blind faith in lifetime politicians or “so-called” experts, we’re putting the power back in the hands of the people. Clackamas County Commissioners voted unanimously to put the fate of Measure 110 up to a popular vote in the May 2024 primary election. This bold move has inspired similar action from over a dozen counties and municipalities throughout Oregon.