Another blister on the heel

With two members of the Multnomah County commission actually talking sense, we're just one seat away from getting somewhere on the horrible tragedy playing out on the streets of Portland and Gresham. But alas, there are still three bobbleheads gumming up the works.

Take the supposed "state of emergency" on fentanyl. Commissioners Sharon Meieran and Julia Brim-Edwards say it's just a bunch of PowerPoint slides with no real content, and they want to kick some tail to get some competent action taken. But no, they're voted down.

And by whom? I've written ad nauseam about the county chair, Jessica Chevy Vega (pictured left), who is giving the Mean Girls a run for their money in the contest for worst commissioner ever. And the kid who stepped in hand-picked by Sushi Jayapal so that she can try to hang with her sister in the House lunch room in D.C., Jesse Beason, is literally moonlighting from a $200K-or-so gig as a nonprofit "executive." From that guy, taxpayers can expect nothing but SSS (second salary suction).

But today I want to focus on a third empty suit, Lori Stegmann (right). You rarely see her name mentioned in the lazy local media as she votes with Vega on anything important. It's time that her free pass gets called in.

Here's what she tells us about herself:

Lori Stegmann grew up in the Rockwood neighborhood in West Gresham after being adopted as an infant from an orphanage in South Korea. Lori put herself through college, attended Mt. Hood Community College and received her bachelor's degree in business from Portland State University....

Commissioner Stegmann represents District 4 which begins in East Portland at 148th Avenue and ends at the Hood River County line near the Bonneville Dam. District 4 encompasses East Portland and the cities of Fairview, Gresham, Troutdale and Wood Village, as well as the unincorporated areas of Corbett, Dodson, Latourell and Warrendale.

She was a Republican until 2018. But that was then, and this is now. 

Here she is patting D.A. Mikey on the back for the fine job he's doing. Here she is hissing at the City of Portland, whose collaboration with the county on homeless issues has been like a rejected Laurel & Hardy script. Here she is spouting about how the answer to everything lies in more apartments (and taking a shot at people who don't live in poverty). 

And here's some word salad she served up when she ran unsuccessfully for county chair:

We can choose to over invest in just one form of housing like emergency shelter that cost $17 to 40K a year per person or we could more appropriately invest our limited funds that includes rapid rehousing and master leases that are one-time only costs and are 50-75% less than shelter....

In 2019 Multnomah County purchased the Bushong & Co building located at 333 SW Park Ave. This site will serve as our new Behavioral Health Resource Center in downtown Portland and is slated to open later this year. The center will prioritize services for people with mental health illness who are experiencing homelessness.

This comprehensive resource center will serve as a low barrier day space, mental health shelter, and transitional housing site for homeless individuals living with behavioral health issues. The day center will include access to showers, laundry, peer counseling, housing, medical care, and food. Other services will include resource connections for housing, employment and education, and culturally specific services.

A disproportionate percentage of people experiencing homelessness are people of color. By offering these resources to our most marginalized community members we can provide more accessible and equitable services.

This first location is just the beginning. My goal is to have a resource center like this in each of the four quadrants of the County....

One model I want to adopt is Portugal’s approach. They treat possession or use of any drug as a health issue, not a crime. But drug dealers are still jailed. If you have less than a 10-day supply you get mandatory medical treatment. They have found this approach to be less expensive than incarceration. And their drug induced death rate has plummeted to five times lower than the European average.

It's hard to name a single instance of Stegmann leading anything, much less voting to shake up the county's blatantly failed approach to life and death on the streets. Fortunately, I believe, she is term-limited out at the end of this year, but then again so is Meieran. The people of East County owe us somebody better. Please, give us a person who wants to get something done besides talk. I don't care what boxes they do or do not check. The filing deadline is March 12.


  1. Lowest Common Denominators or “LCD” as my 5th grad teacher used to say.
    But who with any brains or talent or even common sense would run for any office anywhere these days!

  2. Empty suits are expert at offering word salad for their sycophants in the media. The print media editors and the TV producers are satisfied with the insipid pablum.


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