Our February 13th Voices of the Homeless event is a panel discussion by people who have experienced houselessness at some point in their lives. They will share their perspectives on how they responded and what civic strategies have been helpful in getting people back on their feet. If you have time to do some reading in advance, you might want to read The Residue Years, A Novel, by Mitchell S. Jackson (which takes place in Portland) and Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond. Both books have been “Everybody Reads” selections in years past.
If you don’t have time to read a book, you might want to watch the 40 minute video produced by Transition Projects about Surviving Sexual Violence on the Street, which focuses on the extra challenges confronting women who are houseless. League of Women Voters of Portland Co-President Doreen Binder worked at Transition Projects during the time this video was produced, and she will moderate our panel on February 13. The link to the video is: https://archive.org/details/FINALPRINT
Speakers: Damian Blakley, advocate and artist; Melissa Castor, Hazelnut Grove; DeWanna Harris, Transition Projects; Lisa Larson, Dignity Village.
This program is free and open to the public.
It’s fair to say that issues of homelessness have been among the most talked about topics in Portland for the past few years. We’ve heard from homeowners, city officials, business people, and non-profit organizations. Everyone, it seems, recognizes that having people unhoused on the streets of Portland is good for no one. The February League of Women Voters of Portland Civic Education program is dedicated to listening to people who have experienced houselessness.
The program will be recorded by Metro East Media for rebroadcast after the program, and will be available on the League of Women Voters website, lwvpdx.org. Funding for the recording is provided by the Multnomah Bar Foundation.
Parking is available on the street. Multnomah County Building is easily accessed by public transportation. Trimet options include bus lines 4, 6, 10, 14, 15 and the Portland Streetcar.
The League of Women Voters supports Ballot Measure 101. The League believes, “Every U.S. resident should have access to affordable, quality health care.” Because BM 101 involves a law that was passed by the Legislature, this is a referendum. In order to keep the law in place, a “yes” vote is needed.
A “yes” vote protects health care for one million Oregonians on the Oregon Health Plan, and lowers the cost of health insurance by $300 per year on average for 210,000 Oregonians buying coverage on the individual market. A “yes” vote ensures that Oregon maintains federal matching dollars for health care, potentially protecting nearly $5 billion in federal funds for Oregonians’ care.
Measure 101 raises between $210 million and $320 million for health care from the Oregon health care industry by increasing an assessment on large hospitals and reinstating a type of assessment on health insurance companies that had expired. Specifically, the measure adds 0.7 percent to the existing 5.3 percent hospital assessment. The measure also establishes a 1.5 percent assessment on health insurers, managed care companies including coordinated care organizations, and the Public Employees Benefit Board. The previous health insurance company assessment, which helped pay for health care in Oregon, expired in 2014.
Forty-nine states use the same types of assessments to fund health care. Provider assessments are a federally-approved way for states to pay for their share of Medicaid. Furthermore, the health care industry in Oregon generally supported this measure in the legislature because they would directly benefit from the increased federal dollars.
The League encourages your “yes” vote.
Remember to Vote!
January 23rd Special Election
 The information about the specifics of Ballot Measure 101 is supplied by the Oregon Center for Public Policy.
This recording of the League of Women Voters Measure 101 forum features speakers for and against Ballot Measure 101 and a neutral analysis by a health economist. View it by clicking on the link below and please remember to vote. Mail your ballot no later than January 19 or take it to a drop-off site, such as your local public library, before 8 PM on January 23.