Two sudden vacancies on the Multnomah County Commission caused a rush of candidates. We’ve asked them all – Mike Darger, Jeff Cogen, Wes Soderback for chairmanship, and Paul van Orden, Chuck Currie, Gary Hansen, Karol Collymore, Loretta Smith, Tom Markgraf, Roberta Phillip, Maria C. Rubio for the #2 seat, representing N & NE Portland, to tell us their position on mental health issues.Chuck Currie – Candidate for Multnomah County Commissioner, seat #2
First, let me thank the Mental Health Association of Portland for your on-going advocacy. We face a broken and underfunded mental health system in Multnomah County and your organization has sometimes been a lonely voice calling out for change.
I’ve spent the last 25 years building partnerships with non-profits, religious organizations, businesses and local government to make our county a better place. Working with people suffering from mental illness – including chronic mental illness – has been part of that work as I’ve sought to address issues related to homelessness and housing. As the Chair of the Multnomah County Community Action Commission, I oversaw the shelter reconfiguration planning process that resulted in the opening of the Royal Palm.
As a Multnomah County Commissioner, I’ll be an advocate for the Crisis Assessment Treatment Center and will advocate for additional funding to stabilize and improve mental health services with the state of Oregon and our Congressional delegation. The lack of available services for people suffering from mental illness is one of the gravest problems we face. I know that because of my work as a pastor and an advocate – but also as part of a family that includes someone who needs these services.
Finally, as one of the clergy who conducted the memorial service for James Chasse, let me say that I’m angry with how the city has dealt with the issue (and still angry that Mr. Chasse was killed in the first place). I’ll continue to advocate for police accountability but also for improved services in Multnomah County. We have systemic problems that require permanent and meaningful solutions.
I look forward to working with the Mental Health Association in accomplishing these goals and invite your input to me as this campaign moves forward. Your voice needs to be heard.