Sources: Portlanders losing faith in city's future
The regional transportation funding measure poll released by Metro on Dec. 11 has bad news for some local elected leaders.
In addition to measuring voter reaction to various funding options, the FM3 Research poll also found Portlanders growing increasingly discouraged about the future of their city.
Between July 2016 and December 2019, the portion of residents who think the city is heading in the right direction fell from 46% to 34%. Those who think the city is on the wrong track increased from 43% to 48%.
Between June 2015 and December 2019, the favorability rating for all cities in the tricounty region fell from 57% to 49%. Favorability ratings for the three counties fell from 58% to 53% during that period. But they increased from 70% to 73% for TriMet and held steady at 51% for Metro, according to the poll.
Wapato back in play for homeless
The long-running saga of the never-opened Wapato Jail isn't over yet.
Owner Jordan Schnitzer now is working with Helping Hands Reentry Outreach to open it as a residential treatment facility for the homeless with mental health and addiction problems.
The nonprofit organization operates 11 facilities in four Oregon counties outside of the Portland region. Schnitzer has committed
$1 million to the proposal if the organization raises another $2 million to $3 million in private funds.
Schnitzer bought Wapato in 2017 for $5 million. Multnomah County built the 525-bed facility in 2004 for $58 million but never opened it. Schnitzer has obtained a demolition permit but will wait 30 to 60 days to see whether the organization can raise the additional funds.
City, county spar over police shooting
The fatal officer-involved shooting of a mentally ill man on Dec. 8 has exposed longstanding tensions between Portland and Multnomah County.
Koben Henriksen was shot and killed near Mall 205 after apparently confronting officers with two knives. It was the third time this year that officers had encountered Henriksen when he was having a mental health crisis. Both previous times, he was taken into the public mental health system administered by Multnomah County.
In an unusual move, both Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw suggested the county bears some responsibility for Henriksen's death.
"By the time shots were fired on Sunday there were already multiple system failures, in my opinion. I feel quite strongly that the mental health system failed Mr. Henriksen. I agree with Chief Outlaw on this point," Wheeler said on Dec. 13.
The county pushed back with a statement that said, "Multnomah County will wait for the official review on the death of Koben Henriksen to bear out the facts. Ultimately, anyone experiencing a mental health crisis should not have to face a violent death at the hands of law enforcement."
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