Salem, OR—Governor Tina Kotek today marked her 100th day in office by highlighting the progress made – and the investments that are needed this session – to deliver on her top three priorities: housing and homelessness, mental health and addiction, and early literacy.
“Our 100-day sprint has laid the foundation to improve the lives of all Oregonians,” Governor Kotek said. “We have an abundance of people in our state who are willing to try things they have never done before to solve our greatest challenges, all because they believe in Oregon’s potential.”
Governor Kotek praised the work legislators have done so far to support her executive order declaring a homelessness state of emergency, which aims to keep nearly 9,000 people from becoming homeless, move at least 1,200 people into permanent housing, and add at least 600 more shelter beds by the end of this year.
She called the Housing Emergency Response Package a “down payment on an investment that Oregonians are owed,” highlighted the work the state and local leaders are already doing to deliver specific outcomes and said “more must be done going forward.”
Specifically, the Governor is urging the Legislature to approve at least another $1.3 billion before this session is over: $1 billion in bonding to build and preserve more affordable housing, and at least $300 million in general funds to continue work on housing and homelessness.
Oregonians also need a stronger, more accessible behavioral health system. Governor Kotek reiterated her commitment to disrupt the harmful and expensive homelessness-jail-hospital pipeline, decrease preventable deaths related to a person’s substance use or mental health issue, and stabilize and support the behavioral health workforce.
On education, the Governor highlighted the progress on the Early Literacy Success Initiative outlined in House Bill 3198. The bill has bipartisan support to develop students’ reading and writing skills, with funding going to schools, community-based organizations, and Tribes to do this work. While her recommended budget targeted $120 million for this investment, today she said that Oregon’s early literacy rates are “intolerable,” and $120 million is the minimum that the state should invest this session.
Governor Kotek also spotlighted the direct conversations she is having with Oregonians across the state. She is visiting all 36 counties in Oregon during her first year in office as part of her One Oregon Listening Tour. She has visited six counties so far: Yamhill, Douglas, Columbia, Benton, Lincoln, and Polk.
“I’ve met with families in Yoncalla, educators in Vernonia and students in Philomath who are determined to build success in their communities,” she said. “I’ve heard from behavioral health providers in Newport and housing providers in Dallas who are dedicated to helping their most vulnerable neighbors in their time of greatest need.
“I take these stories home with me to Salem, to enrich and refine our shared vision for the Oregon we know is possible.”
You can read her full remarks here.