PORTLAND, Ore. — More than 70 people signed up to speak, and another 150 offered written testimony.

“I’m here to talk to you about the toxic algae bloom. That originates in Ross Island Lagoon each summer.”

And many focused on that issue, as did Ray Thomas. “It is a great health hazard. A spread in a plume of this cyanobacteria down into the river, including in the marinas.  And the swim dock in front of OMSI. It stays there until fall.”

Others urged the Multnomah County Commissioners to fund programs that help the homeless, the housing insecure, and those addicted to drugs.

“Substance use disorder almost took everything for me. I was chronically homeless in and out of jail and estranged from my family,” said Sarah Barger.  “I’m testifying today to encourage Multnomah County to invest in recovery housing.”

Others are worried about refugees who end up in Multnomah County and on the streets. Barbara Prose is the Executive Director of the Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice. “Especially for families with children, because of a shared sacred and moral imperative to ensure that no child feels forgotten or is forced to sleep outside in our communities. I am moved beyond belief when an individual decides to donate $1,650 to house one family for one month. .I’ve also been troubled beyond belief because I know this is not the way we want to welcome newcomers to the state of Oregon.”

Commissioners in Oregon’s largest counties say they’re taking this testimony seriously as they come up with their final budget due June 6th.

 

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