From Rep. Tina Kotek HD44
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope many of you had the chance to enjoy the great summer weather this week at the many National Night Out parties around the district. Knowing our neighbors - and watching out for each other - is an important part of keeping our community safe.
On August 31st, I will be hosting a town hall on the foreclosure crisis in St. Johns. I hope you'll be able to join us.
I've also been busy working on budget issues since I last wrote, so there's a quick update below. Lastly, my ever-helpful legislative assistant, Alex Berke, has scheduled some office hours at New Columbia for greater access to my office out in the community. We are always open to offers of public space for these community office hours.
Foreclosure Town Hall
The foreclosure crisis still has a strong grip on our nation and our neighborhoods. Many of us know people struggling to hold on to their homes. It might even be you. The foreclosure storm is ongoing, and Portland in particular is experiencing a late wave as home prices continue to stagnate or decline. Today, there are 164 properties in foreclosure just in my zip code alone.
I hope you will join me on August 31st at the St. Johns Community Center to share your stories and learn about resources to help people keep their homes. We will also have local experts on hand to discuss available resources. We will have plenty of time to hear your stories and hear your thoughts on what people need right now.
Foreclosure Town Hall
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
St. Johns Community Center
8427 N. Central
State Budget Update
Many of you have contacted me with your concerns about the budget. Thank you for writing or calling. You have expressed the hope that any budget cuts that have to be taken are mindful of the future and protect vulnerable people as much as possible. I completely agree and will do my best to honor those wishes. We have some tough months ahead, and your feedback will be important.
I sit on the Emergency Board, a group of 10 House members and 10 Senate members who handle budget issues when we are not in session. The Emergency Board (or E-Board, as it's commonly called) convened on July 22nd to address some of the most urgent and serious cuts in the Department of Human Services (DHS). We were able to restore $17 million in reductions to programs that help seniors and people with disabilities and individuals facing mental health crises. This was about 10% of the overall cut that DHS needs to take under the Governor's across-the-board cut to balance the budget. To read more about what we did, please see this memo from the Legislative Fiscal Office.
It is very likely the E-Board will meet again in September, especially in light of possible new federal dollars coming to the state for K-12 education and health care services. We must be careful in how we prioritize these emergency funds because we still face major challenges next year when we write the 2011-13 budget. I am also urging state agencies to think differently about how they do their work. How can we do our job more efficiently so we can continue to serve people in these tough economic times? If dollars are limited, how does our business model need to change to keep up with the need? For me, these are the most important questions to ask ourselves right now.
Office Hours at New Columbia
My legislative assistant, Alex Berke, will be holding office hours at New Columbia on Monday, August 16th and Monday, August 30th, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on both days.
She will be available in the Housing Authority of Portland office at New Columbia (4605 N. Trenton) during those times. Our office often helps constituents with a variety of issues related to state agencies. We can help you navigate the system or help track down answers to your questions.
So, please drop by and say hello to Alex. We are here to serve you.
It's an honor to serve you in the Legislature. Please contact my legislative assistant Alex Berke at our district office, by phone, 503-286-0558, or email, if we can be of any assistance to you.
Rep. Tina Kotek | 900 Court St. NE H-281 | Salem | OR | 97301