New Directions with Reid Sund

This week is Salem’s Homeless Count, but a simple count fails to tell the story of each individual’s experiences that ultimately led them to a place without shelter.

Human trauma typically underscores these stories along with displacement. In recent conversations with the individuals in our community who lack a place to call home, I’ve learned many are not from our community – but have come south from Portland. In our reach for solutions, we must do more than “count” those on the street and connect them with the services we think they need. We must stop and listen and perhaps work with adjacent cities and communities to allow them to reconnect to the places they once called home.

New Solutions for Homelessness:

The City Council included this pressing situation among their agenda items. Unfortunately, they seem to have a new proposal each meeting.

This past week they made an emergency declaration, decided to discontinue the idea of providing temporary housing at Pringle Hall (thank you everyone who voted in my survey), and decided to move forward with “car camping.”

As I press on in my run for Council, it becomes apparent each meeting there is a need for real leadership and vision rather than reactionary solutions to a complex situation that has come perhaps due to decades of public policy that made housing in Oregon less affordable.

Prioritizing Your Money – The scoop on the new payroll tax headed your way

This past year City Council introduced a new payroll tax that will be on the ballot in May.

The tax is employee-paid and will generate $9 million for the city general fund.

When I asked the city how much of that will come from Salem residents, it was unclear but is estimated to be $3.5 million. What will the impact be on the Salem economy? Nobody is asking the question.

While there is a desire to dedicate the funds to public safety and improving our police and fire, unfortunately there is no guarantee it will happen.

It could very well be used to backfill other budget areas, including the PERS obligation, or other initiatives. In fact, the tax won’t be collected until at least 2023, when the budget may be in the hands of an entirely new council than today. This is the reality. I’d love to hear what you think of this new tax and whether you will support it on the May ballot!

Making Connections:

I visited over 100 homes this past week with my family, knocking on doors and getting to know Ward 7 residents. If I haven’t reached your neighborhood, let me know and I’ll get it on the schedule. Also, I’d love to meet your neighbors and friends – if you are up for hosting a neighborhood coffee in your home please let me know.