Mary Nolen – candidate for Portland City Council, position 1

Question: In your future elected position, what will you do to assure the community tragedies such as James Chasse, Brad Morgan, Kendra James, Anthony McDowell, and Jack Collins, are prevented from happening again?

There are three key components to preventing these tragedies that deeply affect the individuals and their families and diminish the humanity of the whole community. As a State Representative, I’ve supported parity for mental health care in insurance, strengthened the state’s emphasis on mental health services, expanded funding for mental health and worked to improve the front-door and back-door at the State Hospital.

Mary Nolen

Mary Nolen

As a City Commissioner, I’ll push for:

  • Making prevention a core value as a matter of policy throughout the City’s public safety services. Chief Reese has made important early movement in this direction within the Police Bureau, and I will support further improvement there as well as with the Fire Bureau and the Bureau of Emergency Communications.
  • Initial and ongoing training that gives responders the best opportunity to protect the safety of Portland residents and the officers themselves.
  • Effective coordination with County human services to bring expertise in both high-intensity confrontations and more routine encounters.

Question: Homelessness has increased statewide despite millions of dollars spent on providing housing. Why? What would you do to end homelessness?

Since there is no single, simple reason that people live on the streets, there is no single, simple explanation, nor a single, simple solution. As a City Commissioner, I would start with two key changes:

  • Make sure there is predictability in City policies on housing funding, regulatory framework and permit issuance (both turn-around and cost).
  • Achieve clarity on how much the City can realistically take on from a budget perspective, then effectively target implementation of those priorities.
  • Improve the support services for small local employers who are key to broad-based economic recovery.

See – Mary Nolen for City Council

On January 27 the Mental Health Association of Portland sent questions to all Oregon political candidates. This is one response. This post is not a political endorsement but an opportunity to speak out about mental illness. Minor changes may have been made to the text for clarity.