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DHS news release

May 2, 2006


Lonn Hoklin (503) 378-6169

Anna Richter Taylor (503) 378-6496

Tom Towslee, Oregon DHS (503) 947-5207

Governor announces forums on services to aging Oregonians

The Governor's Commission on Senior Services will hold community and video forums in 18 cities throughout the state in May and June to get public input on whether Oregon is ready to deal with big increases in the aging population and long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities, Governor Ted Kulongoski announced Monday.

"Within the next decade, 15 percent of Oregon's total population will be over the age of 65, compared with 12 percent just last year," the Governor said. "By 2025 that number will grow to nearly 20 percent--that's one person in every five." Also, statistics indicate that the number of Oregonians who need long-term care will grow from nearly 200,000 in 2005 to more than 265,000 in 2015, and more than 374,000 in 2025, the Governor said.

"The time to prepare for this situation is now," the Governor said. "I want to ensure that the public receives ample opportunity to express its concerns about this issue. That's why the Commission will travel throughout the state and hold forums. We need to make certain everyone has a chance to be heard."

Commission chairman John Helm of Scappoose said there's no question about whether Oregon's population is aging. "The question is whether we're prepared to deal with this demographic tsunami on an individual, local, state and federal level," Helm said.

During each of the community forums participants will receive demographic information about Oregon's aging population, both locally and statewide. Armed with this information, participants will offer their opinions about the future of publicly provided services for seniors and people with disabilities.

At the same time, civic leaders and government officials will hear firsthand about population changes in their communities and what must happen in such areas as housing, transportation and public accommodation.

"The first Baby Boomer turned 60 this year," Helm said. "That is all the warning we need to begin a statewide dialogue about the issues related to the public services necessary for seniors and people with disabilities."

Helm said that many adults don't think they are financially prepared for life after work. Also, local governments must begin thinking about changes in public services. The state and federal government must prepare for the demands that an expanding population of aging citizens will present to government at all levels.

The Governor's Commission on Senior Services will use the demographic information, along with input from participants in the forums, to develop a report to the Governor, Legislature, and other state and local officials. The report will determine how to meet the needs of an aging population.

"Public input is vital to this process," Helm said. "We are all getting older, and we all have a stake in how our communities respond to that reality."

Community Forums

(All forums begin at 9 a.m. and end at noon, unless otherwise noted.)

  • Newport on May 24 at the Visual Arts Center, 777 N.W. Beach Dr.
  • Eugene on May 25 at Valley River Inn, 1000 Valley River Way.
  • Hillsboro on June 1 at the Hillsboro Civic Auditorium, 150 East Main.
  • Oregon City on June 1 at Gregory Forum, Clackamas Community College, 19600 S. Molalla Ave. (Note: time is 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Pendleton on June 6 at the Pendleton Convention Center, 1601 Westgate.
  • Portland on June 7 at Multnomah County Board Room, 501 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.
  • Medford on June 13 at the Smullin Center, Rogue Valley Medical Center, 2825 E. Barnett Rd.
  • Bend on June 21 at the County Building Conference Room, 1300 N.W. Wall St.
  • Salem/Keizer on June 22 at the DHS Conference Room, 3420 Cherry Ave. N.E., Keizer. (Note: time is 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.)

Video Forums

On May 31 from 9 a.m. to noon in:

  • Astoria at the Department of Human Services, 450 Marine Dr.
  • Burns at Harney Behavioral Health, 348 West Adams.
  • La Grande at the Seniors and People with Disabilities office, 1607 Gekeler Lane.
  • Ontario at Lifeways, Inc. 702 Sunset Dr.
  • The Dalles at Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, 400 East Scenic Dr.

On June 27 from 9 a.m. to noon in:

  • Coos Bay at the Newmark Center, Southwestern Oregon Community College, 2110 Newmark Ave.
  • Gold Beach at the Department of Human Services, 94145 W. 5th Place.
  • Portland at the Department of Human Services, 30 N. Webster, Suite A.
  • Redmond at the Department of Human Services, 1135 S.W. Highland Ave.
  • Roseburg at the Department of Human Services, 1937 W. Harvard Blvd.

All requests for reasonable accommodations need to be made five days in advance by calling 1 (800) 358-3117 (V/TTY).