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Governor Declares Emergency Over Fentanyl Crisis

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Clear Facts

  • Oregon’s Democrat governor declares a 90-day state of emergency in Portland due to the fentanyl problem.
  • A command center will be established to coordinate strategies and response efforts.
  • Oregon was the first state to decriminalize drug use in 2020, but overdoses have continued to rise since then.

Oregon’s Democrat governor, Tina Kotek, has declared a 90-day state of emergency in Portland because of the magnitude of the fentanyl problem in the city. Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have also declared an emergency.

In her declaration, Governor Kotek wrote, “Development of a system to efficiently track and coordinate existing resources to assist people impacted by fentanyl use should be completed in not more than 90 days.” She added that a command center will be set up in the central city where state, county, and city employees will convene to coordinate strategies and response efforts.

The Command Center will serve to refocus existing resources. It will also share and publicly report data on the impacts of fentanyl in downtown, use data to identify and respond to acute needs and gaps in service, identify any specific resources necessary to address gaps, and establish a system to coordinate that can be sustained beyond the 90-day startup period.

Oregon passed Measure 110 in 2020, becoming the first state in the nation to decriminalize drug use. However, Washington County district attorney Kevin Barton stated, “We’ve had three years of this law that has not delivered on the promise that voters thought they were getting.” According to CBS News, overdoses in the state have continued to rise since 2020.

Haven Wheelock, the harm reduction manager of the medical and youth care nonprofit center Outside In, said, “This is a crisis that has been developing for decades. And if this is what it’s going to take to get the attention and the care and the funding and the coordination that this tragic issue deserves, then I’m going to remain hopeful about that.”

Jesse Cornett, the policy director for the recovery organization Oregon Recovers, pointed out the lack of resources for those in crisis, saying, “If you talk to any police officer in the metro area, in Portland specifically, they don’t even have anywhere to take anyone that’s in the crisis right now. So there are some immediate first steps including a sobering center that should be taken.”

Clear Thoughts (op-ed)

The state of emergency declared in Portland, Oregon, due to the fentanyl epidemic exposes the disastrous consequences of the liberal drug policies enacted by the state’s Democrats. Oregon became the first state to decriminalize drug use in 2020, and now they’re facing an overdose crisis.

This should come as no surprise. Decriminalization was supposed to reduce overdoses, but instead, it has only emboldened drug users and dealers, leading to a surge in fentanyl-related deaths.

The establishment of a command center to coordinate strategies and response efforts is too little, too late. Oregon’s Democrat leaders, including Governor Tina Kotek, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, must take responsibility for the failed experiment that is drug decriminalization.

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It’s time for a return to common-sense policies that prioritize public safety and hold drug users and dealers accountable for their actions. Only then can we begin to tackle the fentanyl crisis and protect our communities from the devastating effects of drug abuse.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Navy Bob

    February 9, 2024 at 7:13 am

    I find it ironic that a state that prided itself on lawlessness is now in a state of emergency over laws being ignored. Oregon in general, and Portland specifically, have spent the last 7 years complaining about laws and refusing to abide by civilized behavior (“CHOP” anyone?). They ignored immigration laws because it’s the “progressive” thing to do. Well to paraphrase Rev Jeremiah Wright, I guess their chickens have come home to roost. I feel for the good people of Oregon, but you voted for these folks.

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