Oregon Governor Announces Task Force To Fix Portland

Oregon’s Governor has created a taskforce to fix Portland. The city is widely considered as the poster child of progressive policies.

In a Wednesday press release, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek said that her executive offices will work with the Oregon Business Council in order to form the Portland Central City Task Force. Kotek acknowledged that Portland has a bad reputation. However, she blamed the current state the city on “growing pains” as well as COVID.

Kotek said that it’s not a secret that Portland’s downtown has been hit by a number of challenges that have diminished some of its best qualities. Growing pains became crises, which was exacerbated further by the global pandemic. Now, concerns about Portland are a state-wide economic issue.

Kotek said that the PCCTF would be guided by social justice values, which will include collaborating with diverse voices to find “equitable” solutions.

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Five committees will be formed: Vision & Value; Clean Streets; Crime & Vandalism; Unsheltered Homelessness and Tax Competitiveness. The members have not yet been announced.

Kotek and Dan McMillan, President and CEOs of StanCorp Financial Company and Standard Insurance Company, will co-chair PCCTF. The PCCTF will meet once a week from August to October, before making recommendations at the Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit.

McMillan said in an October interview that despite the poor reputation of his company, it didn’t require relocation to Portland.

McMillan said, “Frankly the city’s reputation over the past two-and-a half years makes it very difficult to attract people here.”

Census data released in early this year showed that Portland’s population had shrunk for the first 30 years. Exodus costs the county more than $1 billion.

Portland crime statistics show that in 2022 there were almost 10,200 violent crimes committed against people. These included 9,300 assaults and 600 sexual offenses. There were also 100 homicides as well as 90 kidnappings and abductions. Nearly 59,900 property crimes were reported. Over 1,600 crimes were committed in relation to society, the vast majority of which involved drug offences and violations of weapon laws.

The latest crime data from January to June this year shows a slight decrease in rates compared to the same period last year. There were about 100 less violent crimes against individuals (about 4,800 as opposed 4,900), approximately 3,900 fewer crimes committed on property (about 26,600 as opposed 30,500), and several dozen fewer crimes committed by society (about 800 as compared 830).

The dangers in the city are constant, despite a slight drop in overall crime. Last week, an anonymous female doctor became viral for blaming a random assault that left her unconscious and bloodied on the city’s efforts to “defund” the police.

The public is also alerted to a suspected serial murderer — one of the over 1,000 prisoners whose sentences were commuted by former Oregon Governor Kate Brown in response to the pandemic.

The homeless population in Multnomah County increased by 20 percent between 2022 and 2023, or from 5,200 to 6,300 individuals. Portland is estimated to be home to half of the homeless population in Multnomah County.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced last fall that there would be a 50% increase in homeless people from 2019 to 2022. This resulted in 700 homeless camps. Wheeler announced last October that the encampments would be banned. A month later, the City Council voted in favor of the plan.

Local leadership does not appear to be planning on enforcing the ban any time soon. The ban was implemented last month but the mayor has said that he will not enforce it until the city has educated its homeless population about the new law.

There are still homeless camps and there have been more since.