It was recently announced that Multnomah County will be taken off of the state’s COVID-19 watch list. Multnomah County had been on it since July 30, meaning that its businesses and residents faced additional restrictions for about a month.
While it’s good for Multnomah County that it’s being taken off of the watch list, the fact that it was ever on there is very detrimental to those of us here in Washington County. That’s because Governor Brown decided to group all three Metro counties together.
I disagreed with that decision at the time it was made, and I still do. It’s my opinion that this approach represents a failure of leadership. All this does is leave our county and its residents at the mercy of failing political decision-making beyond Washington County’s boundaries which in essence means, our businesses and prosperity of our citizens are at the mercy of other counties. This is unacceptable.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak hit Oregon in March, the businesses, people and families of Washington County have struggled mightily. Being held at the mercy of Multnomah County has only intensified that struggle.
Multnomah County has no plans to enter Phase 2 any time soon. If Washington County is tied to Multnomah County, that will not bode well for us either.
As it is, both Washington and Clackamas counties have petitioned Governor Brown to be decoupled from Multnomah County. That would give us the ability to enter Phase 2 when we hit state benchmarks, even if Multnomah County wasn’t. I think that continuing to insist that we be decoupled is the right approach.
The fact of the matter is, Washington County has a great public health department. Our officials have planned and prepared for our eventual opening. Yet despite their best efforts, we are essentially held hostage by a neighboring county not being as prepared as we are.
I think it’s good to focus our attention on our own county, community and neighborhood. Washington County is the greatest county in the state bar none, with the lowest unemployment rate, lowest crime rate, highest median income and the lowest poverty rate of any county in Oregon. Having lived and grown up here, I say that with confidence and optimism.
When this pandemic begins to ebb, and it will, we will be left with how to build back the greatness of our community that has suffered through this economic downturn. And I am willing to help lead those efforts.
Remember, we are a resilient community and these difficult issues will pass and your future leadership will be left with how to support this County.
We have true public health experts that work for Washington County who will continue to mitigate the problems our community faces regarding COVID-19 and will brief your elected leaders on how best to move forward. I hope to be part of that group if you elect me to represent you in November.