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Governor Tina Kotek Announces Her First Actions to Address Housing and Homelessness Crisis in Inaugural Address

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Published: January 09, 2023

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Gov. Kotek Also Pledged to Increase Government Accountability, Issued a Call to Action for All Oregonians

[Salem, OR] Today Tina Kotek was sworn in as the 39th Governor of the State of Oregon.

After taking the oath of office, Governor Kotek delivered her inaugural address before a Joint Session of the Oregon Legislative Assembly.

In her remarks, Governor Kotek announced that tomorrow — on her first full day in office — she will move forward on two promises related to Oregon’s housing and homelessness crisis.

First, she will sign an executive order establishing an ambitious statewide housing production target of 36,000 new homes per year. That is an 80 percent increase over recent construction trends.

Second, she will declare a homelessness state of emergency.

“Our state’s response must meet the urgency of the humanitarian crisis we are facing,” she said.

To that end, Governor Kotek announced that she is proposing an urgent $130 million investment that will help at least another 1,200 Oregonians who are experiencing unsheltered homelessness move off the streets within a year. She urged the legislature to start the 2023 legislative session by taking up this investment package as quickly as possible, and to build upon it with a comprehensive housing and homelessness package by the end of the session.

Her remarks also focused on the Kotek Administration’s commitment to increase accountability and improve access to services for all Oregonians:

“Whether you’re going to the DMV, applying for a permit, or starting a new business — our job is to make things work as efficiently as possible. And when your community or your family is facing a crisis — our job is to provide the tools that you need — not barriers that make things harder.”

Finally, Governor Kotek issued a call to action, asking all Oregonians to help act as a force for positive change. This weekend, when Oregonians are commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Governor Kotek will be joining a community clean up, and urged all Oregonians to do what they can to build the Oregon they want to live in.

“I’d like to leave you with an idea of what this vision can add up to — with all of us working together to make things better.

“Imagine an Oregon where no one has to live in a tent on a sidewalk. Where Oregonians seeking help for a mental health concern or substance use issue can find and afford the support they need. 

“Imagine an Oregon where every child has a safe place to receive a high-quality public education, and every working family has access to affordable child care. 

“Imagine an Oregon where everyone has financial stability and pathways to greater opportunity. Where all Oregonians feel safe in their homes and communities.

“That’s an Oregon worth fighting for – and today is a new beginning. I’m eager to get to work. And I hope you will join me.”

The full text of Governor Kotek’s inaugural remarks is available here.