When my wife Jessica and I got married, we sat down together to talk about our future goals. Like most families, ours were simple: own a home some day, have kids and give them a shot at a good education, stay healthy, but have a little set aside in case something goes wrong, and be able to retire without having to worry about making ends meet. These have always been solidly middle class goals. Yet these things that used to be the bedrock of the American dream have never seemed so difficult to achieve. For families with one income or none, for families that struggle with illness and injury, for families stuck in the cycle of poverty – these dreams can be impossible.
Throughout my life, I’ve been an optimist and an innovator. I believe we can mend the tears in the fabric of our community caused by homelessness and poverty, by addiction and mental illness, and by economic stagnation. I believe opportunity for all is possible. Where do we want to be as a community in ten years? Multnomah County is the hub at the center of the spokes and without it, the wheel doesn’t turn.