Lawmakers tackle domestic violence, addiction issues, westside bypass at Beaverton town hall
New revenue — that was the message heard over and over again Thursday night at Beaverton High School, as almost a dozen suburban lawmakers showed up to hear from constituents.
While topics ranged widely — from music in the schools, to support for caregivers, to cannabis sales — the refrain remained the same: Oregon needs new sources of revenue, preferably higher corporate taxes.
Pedro Garcia of Beaverton told the lawmakers about playing tuba in high school, and urged them to fully support arts in the schools.
For Rose Hart of Southwest Portland, the issue was housing, health care and mental health support for survivors of domestic violence. "I want you to really consider the people in the community who are the most vulnerable," she told legislators.
Amanda Palacios of Forest Grove asked the legislators to continue to allow patients on the Oregon Health Plan to receive health care services from Planned Parenthood. She listed a vast array of treatments given at the clinics.
Cody Roberts of Portland is a recovering heroin addict and came to urge full funding for addiction and mental health treatment. With his tattoos and full bushy beard, he at first appeared to stand out from the suburban crowd that usually attend such town hall events. But he turned to the estimated 150 people in the school cafeteria and asked, "How many people in this room have been affected, directly or indirectly, by addiction?"
Approximately half of the hands went up.
Roberts turned back to the lawmakers and added, "That's what I'm saying."
Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten attended the event to urge lawmakers not to back a bill — co-sponsored by Republican Richard Vial, also in attendance — to create a special district for the purpose of constructing a so-called Westside Bypass highway through Washington County.
Sen. Chuck Riley of Hillsboro was the only attendee from the Legislature's upper chamber. The lawmakers who came the farthest were Rep. Brad Witt of Columbia County and Rep. Ron Noble of Yamhill. All other lawmakers on hand were House members from Washington County, including Reps. Sheri Malstrom of Beaverton, Margaret Doherty of Tigard, Ken Helm of Beaverton, Richard Vial of Scholls, Janeen Sollman of Hillsboro and Susan McLain of Hillsboro.