Last year, Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared substance abuse addiction a public health crisis. Since then, Portland, Medford, Jackson County, and Klamath County have followed suit. Today Lane County joined in, but not without debate.
For Board Commissioner Jay Bozievich, passing resolutions is a misuse of county funds that could be better spent. He'd previously voted against a resolution declaring homelessness an emergency in Lane County.
The declaration that finally passed today, advocates for the continuum of care for addiction recovery. Bozievich says the process costs at a minimum $800 in staff time and resources
“This ought to be something that’s really just being sent to legislative committee so that we can actually work on real legislation to make changes versus just declaring good intentions. With that I’m going to be voting against this resolution,” Bozievich said.
In response, Commissioner Pete Sorenson suggested that resolutions help educate the public and build momentum for other actions.
The City of Eugene had previously considered a similar resolution, but it has since been tabled. Eugene Councilor Jennifer Yeh will introduce the declaration when it’s voted upon.