The Crises of the 3rd District

Today we have three major crises that threaten the quality of life in the 3rd District:

Homelessness

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Inability to Thrive

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Climate Emergency

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Over the past several decades, the absence of leadership has allowed these crises to grow. We need decisive leaders who will address the real issues that our district faces. We need bold action and workable solutions; not incremental change. Twenty-two years of incrementalism has changed the district dramatically—and not for the better.

The Third District of Oregon

Of Oregon’s five congressional districts, the 3rd Congressional District is the most compact. The district covers much of Multnomah County, including Gresham, Troutdale, and most of Portland. It is bounded by the Columbia River to the north and reaches as far east as Bonneville on the Columbia River and Government Camp on Mt. Hood. The 3rd District includes the northern half of Clackamas County, omitting Oregon City, Milwaukie, and parts of Happy Valley, but including Damascus, Estacada, Eagle Creek, Sandy, and Zig Zag.

The 3rd District is an incredibly diverse area, which includes the prosperity and challenges of a large urban city and suburbs; the natural beauty of the forests of Mt. Hood and the Columbia River; and the rolling hills, farmlands, and vineyards.

Homelessness & Tent Cities

Homelessness & Tent Cities

There was a time when homelessness was mostly isolated to Portland’s city center. Today, it is rampant in every part of the district and affects the entire district and the entire State. Oregon has the second highest rate in the nation of unsheltered homeless people: A total of 14,476 homeless people on our streets today. That includes 1,108 homeless families and 1,363 homeless veterans.

Many of our homeless population suffer from drug addiction and are victims of the opioid crisis. Others face mental health challenges. Others have faced instability from domestic violence, job loss, evictions, health crises, and low wages. The population is diverse and includes families and children. Homelessness affects the quality of life for everyone in the 3rd District.

This is a humanitarian crisis—yet our current representative has done nothing to shed light on the issue, find solutions, or even leverage gain any support from our federal government to combat this crisis. We need new leadership that will focus on these pressing problems.

Inability to Thrive

Inability to Thrive

While some of our brothers and sisters face homelessness, many of us struggle to make ends meet. About half of us are renters, who may face annual rent hikes that cut deeper than any meager raise we may get. Each year we get further and further behind.

An Oregonian needs to make $21.26 per hour to afford a basic apartment. That’s 44% more than the current minimum wage, or about $44,220 per year; and, within the 3rd District, the cost of living is even higher than the state average. According to MIT, an Oregonian household with 2 adults and 2 kids needs an annual income of $72,312 to not fall behind. The US Census tells us the median household income in the state is $16,000 below that, roughly $56,000.

We have families in the 3rd District who move each year because they can’t afford the rent hikes. We have many folks here who are working more than one full-time job to make ends meet. And we have far too many folks here in the 3rd who are just one step away from being homeless. Our current leadership in the 3rd District has not experienced this struggle and does not know firsthand how very real and terrifying it is. We need leadership that understands this reality and will fight to resolve this crisis.

The Climate Emergency

We have only 8-12 years before our climate changes irreversibly. Here in Oregon, we’re already feeling the change. Our summer temperatures are so high that the City of Portland has set up cooling centers. Local news stations are reporting on the best type of face mask to purchase in order to protect our lungs from forest fire smoke.

A recent report states that we could be at the end of civilization in 30 years. This is an existential crisis. We do not have any more time to give our biggest polluters another 30-year pass. We don’t have any more time to continue to run oil trains into the 3rd District. We need to execute public transit plans that wean us off of our individual car habits. We need to end our use of fossil fuels and halt the subsidies, sweetheart deals, and exceptions that are offered in the name of the economy. We need leadership that will stop playing to the interests of the wealthy few. We need folks who don’t have conflicts of interest. It’s time for a change in the 3rd District.

Are you Registered to Vote as a Democrat?

Sadly, Oregon, and in particular the 3rd District, is effectively a one-party system. This means that leadership is decided by voting in the Democratic primary rather than in the general election. Democracy requires choice, and the true choice for Representative of the 3rd District takes place in the May 2020 primary. Check to see if you are registered to vote today.