Thank you to Judge McKnight, to Russellville for hosting, to my friends from Mt. Hood Early Head Start and to my colleagues, family and friends.
On a recent visit to Mt. Hood Early Head Start, which is a tenant at Russellville, I decided this was the place I wanted to begin my fourth term on the City Council. First, it provides an opportunity to be surrounded by young children and seniors—two groups I care very much about and have dedicated my public career to ensure both groups have a good quality of life. Second, it provides a fitting location as perhaps the first successful, well-designed, transit-friendly development in East Portland and in Gateway.
Though it’s been a mixed-bag to date, I am committed to realizing the vision of Opportunity Gateway as a town center with more jobs, well designed housing and recreation access, as well as to increasing public safety and pedestrian safety. The same is true for my commitment for East Portland as a whole. With active engagement of its residents and business leaders—who are not shy—I will continue to work for more city services and improvements that are commensurate with the needs of a growing population and an outdated infrastructure. Third and finally, this location is emblematic of two of my proudest achievements.
First is the Portland Children’s Levy. Thanks to Portland voters, we invest $12 million per year in proven, cost-effective programs to provide early childhood education to ensure all children arrive at school ready to learn; to afterschool and mentoring programs to ensure young people stay in school and graduate; to child abuse prevention/intervention programs to ensure children grow in an environment free of trauma; and to programs that ensure young people in foster care can lead successful lives.
Since its creation in 2002, we have invested more than $90 million in programs that make a difference in children’s lives. We serve over 15,000 children per year and one such program is the Mt. Hood Early Head Start program.
The second emblematic achievement is the Gateway Center for Domestic Violence Services, directly across East Burnside from where we stand. It is a one-stop convenient location for victims to find help from the District Attorney and law enforcement, to economic self-sufficiency services and social services. Each person is assigned to a navigator trained to help them get what is needed. It also provides the only location outside of the downtown county courthouse to obtain a restraining order via live two way video connections with a Judge. Opened in September of last year, to date over 500 people have made over 1000 visits to the Center.
I dedicate my new term to focusing as I have in the past three terms: on meeting the needs of our children and our seniors, on putting Portlanders back to work, and on keeping a sharp eye on the bottom-line of City government.
I close by thanking the voters for electing me to a fourth term. Thanks to my family. A special thanks to my staff, who make my dreams a reality. Thank you all for joining me.