Sixth stop included visits to Dallas, Monmouth and Independence
Independence, OR—Today, Governor Tina Kotek visited communities in Polk County for the sixth stop of her One Oregon Listening Tour.
Governor Kotek traveled to Dallas, Monmouth and Independence to hear diverse perspectives on housing and homelessness, behavioral health, and economic development.
“I enjoyed connecting with local leaders in Polk County today,” Governor Kotek said. “In all of our conversations – whether it was about building more housing, improving student mental health, or supporting small businesses – there was a genuine commitment to work together to make our state an even better place for all Oregonians.”
The Governor started the day at Tater’s Cafe in Dallas for a breakfast meeting with Mayor Ken Woods and discussed transportation, housing, and other topics.
She then joined Polk Community Development Corporation for a tour of their Hart Land Apartment construction site, which will provide affordable housing for veterans, and participated in a roundtable discussion with local elected leaders and developers about housing and homelessness. Polk CDC serves low- and moderate-income residents of Polk County, providing housing and programs for families, children, seniors, persons with disabilities, and other special needs. Polk CDC has built 195 units to date, including the ones at the Hart Land Apartment site. During the recession, Polk CDC saved 800 families from losing their homes via a rapid response program and formed a collaborative effort to secure millions of dollars in resources from Business Oregon to provide essential home repairs for over 1,000 homes.
Next, the Governor traveled to Monmouth to tour the Student Health and Counseling Center at Western Oregon University (WOU), an 11,000-square-foot facility the public university recently opened to offer individual counseling, crisis counseling, group counseling, outreach programs, mental health prescriptions, couples counseling, and alcohol and drug counseling.
Following a tour of the facility, the Governor met with service providers on campus and local health officials for a conversation about student mental health. WOU is an asset to the region, for example providing students and interns during the COVID-19 pandemic to assist in two years of contract tracing. During the conversation, Rian Gayle, Interim Director Office of Disability Services, highlighted the growing number of students on campus that are prioritizing learning American Sign Language (ASL) to support fellow students. WOU has the largest population of students who are deaf or hard of hearing in the Pacific Northwest.
The Governor then headed to Independence for a lunch meeting with Representative Paul Evans (D-Independence), Polk County Commissioner Jeremy Gordon, and Mayor John McArdle to discuss economic development and regional coordination.
She concluded the day with a ride on the MI Trolley that connects Monmouth and Independence and a walk around downtown Independence where she visited small businesses with Rep. Evans, Commissioner Gordon, and Mayor McArdle.