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.
Karol Collymore, Multnomah County Commissioner Candidate
I am proud to live in and be an active part of the community in North and Northeast Portland. I’m running for Multnomah County Commissioner in District Two because Portland is my home, and as a Commissioner, I believe I can help us make our community a better place to live and work.
Of course, a passion to serve isn’t enough. Working under Commissioner Jeff Cogen for the past three years, I’ve learned the value of collaboration, the need to build consensus on tough issues, and above all the need to take the lead on issues that matter in District Two. That sounds like hard work, and sometimes it is. But the projects I’ve led — including laying the groundwork for a library in Kenton that opened on March 8, 2010 and helping to start a farmer’s market in St. Johns that opened summer 2009 — are rewarding beyond words. Those experiences, and the people I meet along the way, remind me why I am in the business of serving others.
I am running for District Two County Commissioner because this is my home. I am running because know I can do the job, and do it well. And I’m running because I really believe it is the most important and rewarding work I can do to support my community.
The county plays a large role in mental health services. Not only is it important for us to deliver services to patients who come into our clinics, it is vital that we enable our Corrections Health nurses and licensed clinical social workers to admit persons under arrest who are exhibiting mental health issues into our local hospitals. This is a step in insuring our community members get the services to which they clearly need. We can do this important work but the first step is stabilizing the county budget so that we are protecting and adding services, not taking them away. We start to stabilize our budget by ensuring the County has the ability to raise it’s own funds, starting with tobacco tax. By lifting the tax preemption on Multnomah County, we can ask for a tobacco tax here and start to fully fund services.