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Housing Leaders: Tina Kotek is the Only Candidate Ready to Take on Oregon’s Homelessness Crisis


Tina Fought to Make Progress and Has an Urgent Plan of Action, Johnson and Drazan Offer Only “Platitudes and Snarky Comments”

[Portland, OR] – Today at a virtual press briefing, housing leaders Ed Blackburn and State Representative Pam Marsh shared why Tina Kotek is the only candidate for governor with a proven track record and a plan that they trust to address Oregon’s homelessness crisis. 

Ed Blackburn, who led a nationally recognized nonprofit and was a health care and housing leader in Oregon for nearly 30 years, said in today’s briefing that he researched all three candidates’ positions on homelessness and saw major contrasts. While Tina fought to make progress as House Speaker and now has a comprehensive plan of action to address the crisis, Blackburn said that Republican Christine Drazan and conservative Betsy Johnson seem to offer only “platitudes and snarky comments.”

In response to a question about Drazan and Johnson’s attempts to attack Tina’s record on housing, Blackburn did not mince words: 

“This is serious and it’s not just about getting votes in November, it’s about doing something… It’s always easy to criticize people who have actually been doing something, but to blame them for the problem is a little nutso…. It’s like saying an emergency department physician and the nurses are responsible for the traffic accidents that are happening out there. ‘Let’s shut it down.’ It makes no sense.”

Rep. Marsh (D – Southern Jackson County) explained how Drazan and Johnson both opposed efforts to expand emergency shelter in the middle of the pandemic by converting vacant motels into shelter spaces. Rep. Marsh worked with Tina to overcome opposition from Republicans and Betsy Johnson, and they secured funding for the innovative project, known as “Project Turnkey,” which has been a huge success. Marsh said:

“I’ve been in the Oregon legislature since 2017, so I have had the chance to serve in the legislature with all three major candidates for Governor and out of that personal experience, I am very clear that Tina Kotek is the only one who has prioritized housing and homelessness. She is the only one with the track record, vision, and values to effectively solve this crisis as Oregon’s next Governor.

“Here’s my message to Oregonians this November: if you’re making your decision about who to vote for based on who will actually solve our homelessness and housing crisis, Tina is the only candidate who fits that bill. Drazan and Johnson not only failed to lead during their time in the legislature, they voted no and even tried to block the solutions that others identified.”

The full press briefing can be viewed here. More details on Tina’s plan of action to take on the homelessness crisis, as well as highlights of the progress she fought to make as Speaker, are available here.

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