Tardif: Exploring opioid abuse solutions, ADUs, timber economy
In October, Mike Paul, the county's director of public health, and I headed to Bend to participate in the Rural Health Conference. The focus of this conference was on opioid use and the opioid epidemic that is sweeping our county, state and nation.
We were able to collaborate with other agencies, share our story about what is happening in Columbia County, and look at opportunities to further combat this dangerous situation. Our efforts tie in closely with the work of our Local Public Safety Coordinating Council. Together, we want to find the intersection between criminal justice and behavioral health in hopes of reducing recidivism.
With statistical data and evidence, we will be able to make better informed decisions about how, where and why we expend resources and to measure outcomes for success or failure.
Something of importance to note this month is the county auxiliary dwelling unit (ADU) ordinance. The board held its first public meeting in October to solicit input and feedback on the draft ordinance. There was a follow up work session on Nov. 7, where the board vetted and asked for some changes. If you would like a copy of the draft ordinance, please contact the county's Land Development Services or check our website. The hearing closes Wednesday, Nov. 28. If you would like to comment or provide written testimony, please have it in by 10 a.m. on Nov. 28; otherwise, you are welcome to speak at the meeting starting at or after 10 a.m. This is an important ordinance that will help alleviate our housing crisis, and your voice matters.
After my last letter, I received some very useful feedback from Paul Nys out of the Rainier area. Paul had some great suggestions on small woodland farmers, as well as on seniors and our aging population. I'm looking forward to meeting Paul at the end of November to further vet these ideas and see how the county can better meet the needs of those populations within our community.
Timber is an integral part of our economy in Columbia County and we need to find better solutions to support that economy, while balancing our environmental needs. Look for a follow up next month on this topic.
As I sign off, I'd like to thank all of our veterans for their service and sacrifice. I am grateful for all that you have done. I also want to take a moment to wish you all a safe, happy and joyous Thanksgiving with family and friends. This time of year is a solid reminder to show gratitude and count our blessings.
I am blessed to serve Columbia County, and I look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions.
Make it a great day!