Libra Forde: Paul Savas runs from his record on homeless services
You may see in my campaign for Clackamas County commissioner that I have raised some serious concerns about my opponent Paul Savas' ability to take action to solve the issues we are facing.
I'm not trying to be negative, but I'm worried about the current direction of our county, and I know we need leaders with fresh experience and perspectives to make progress.
This is why I was disappointed to see Savas' defense of himself, which claimed I was distorting the truth. But his record of opposing needed funds to address homelessness is well documented and publicly available. Savas is clearly trying to divert attention from his record because he knows it is indefensible.
I would bring to the county commission two decades of experience in executive leadership, including managing multimillion-dollar budgets. I can assure you, despite Savas' claims, that I have the experience needed to not just understand the county budget, but use it more effectively to the benefit of all Clackamas residents. With Savas, you will get more of the same.
Even as we faced a crisis last year, Savas overrode colleagues' objections to push pause on the use of regional funds for housing and services for the homeless. That move was criticized by 160 elected officials, businesses and community leaders who wrote the county urging them to reverse course. These events were reported last year by Pamplin Media Group.
But Savas ignored these calls, and as The Oregonian reported last month, this means 93% of the regional funds allocated to Clackamas went unspent, or as the newspaper reported, "just 7% of the $44.6 million that it collected through the new tri-county's homeless services tax during its first year. Despite the windfall, the county spent just $3.1 million to expand current homeless services programs. In comparison, Multnomah County spent 37% of the $94 million it received and Washington County spent 25% of its $63 million."
Savas commits to "passing structurally sound budgets." But the record shows he has simply voted against every budget in the past four years, except for 2021 when he skipped the vote altogether. Those votes opposed a total of $44.7 million for homeless and housing services.
• June 9, 2022: $8,769,922 for Community Development to provide supportive and affordable housing and another $8,817,311 for the Housing Support Program for permanent housing services.
• June 18, 2020: $8,024,146 for Community Development and $6,167,902 for the Housing Support Program.
• June 27, 2019: $6,651,207 for Community Development and $6,266,570 for the Housing Support Program.
Not a single one of Savas' colleagues, Democrat and Republican alike, joined him in opposing these budgets. Responsible budgeting is bringing people together to find solutions for our community. Savas has failed that test, which is why I am running to bring needed new leadership to the county commission. If you agree, I hope that I can earn your vote.
North Clackamas School Board Chair Libra Forde is seeking election to the Clackamas County Commission Position 2.
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