Commissioner Vega Pederson's July 2017 Newsletter

Commissioner Vega Pederson

Dear friends and neighbors,

Great news! Much needed safety improvements are coming to outer Powell Boulevard, along with increased transit service in East Portland, a low-income TriMet fare and additional funding for the Safe Routes to School program. 

These huge victories were my top priorities for the statewide transportation bill that the Oregon legislature passed earlier this month.
For outer Powell, the bill will expand the improvements that have been made, making the now dangerous stretch between I-205 and Gresham safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. When I was a legislator, I fought for funding to improve the stretch between 122nd and 136th and I am thrilled to see that similar safety improvements will be made to all of outer Powell.
The bill also provides funding for expanded transit service and a low income fare. TriMet is still determining the frequency and operating hours for the north-south lines in East Portland. The Rosewood Initiative has put together a poll to help inform TriMet of the need for frequent buses and long operating hours on 158th/162nd. I highly encourage those who might use the new route to complete the poll, which can be found here. We need better service!
As for the low income fare program, the current plan would reduce fares by 50 percent for anyone earning 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level, a much needed improvement for those struggling to get from one place to another on a fixed income.
The bill also provides $10 million annually for the Safe Routes to School program, which connects neighborhoods to schools and makes routes safer for our children. The funding will increase to $15 million annually in 2023.
The bill will provide local governments with much needed funding for maintenance and safety improvements. It will also help ease congestion and allow for our region to explore congestion pricing.
This is a huge victory for our state, and while we will need to do more locally to give our region the multimodal, 21st century transportation system we need, this is a great start.



New Solar Array in SE PDX

JVP at Mazamas
Mazamas HQ Solar Array

Last week, I spoke at the unveiling of a new solar array atop the headquarters of the Mazamas, a recreational climbing organization with deep roots in our community. After nearly 10 years of effort, Mazamas has taken a step into the future by installing a state-of-the-art solar array on its roof. The array will provide two-thirds of the energy their headquarters consumes each year and represents the kind of forward-thinking innovation we are going to need if we are going to achieve the County's #100By50 renewable energy commitments.

Promoting HIV Prevention 

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Everyone should have access to quality HIV prevention and treatment services regardless of their income, race, sexual orientation, or gender expression. Public health interventions like pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, are key to preventing Oregonians from contracting HIV in their lifetimes.
On a recent tour of the Cascade AIDS Project’s Prism Health Center, a primary health care center that is helping to remove barriers and improve access to healthcare for all LGBTQ+ individuals, I learned about the need for greater PrEP awareness, particularly for disproportionately impacted communities, such as low-income and communities of color, those without access to regular and affordable primary care, and young people.
So on July 13, 2017, I introduced a proclamation that the the Board unanimously passed declaring July 2017 PrEP Awareness Month.
PrEP is a medication, available by prescription, that helps prevent the contraction of HIV. The medicine has been found to be 99 percent effective. The county has a dedicated PrEP clinic in the STD Prevention Program to reach individuals at highest risk and provides residents access to PrEP through our Neighborhood Primary Care Clinics as well.
PrEP Awareness Month aims to reduce the stigma, discrimination, and shame that drive individuals to avoid the health care system and expand awareness of Multnomah County’s HIV prevention services that are affordable, accessible, and available to all who call Multnomah County home.

Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge


As you’ve read in my newsletter before, Multnomah County is working to provide our community with a reliable Willamette River crossing on the Burnside regional lifeline route after a major earthquake. Last week we released a video simulation of what would likely happen to the bridge in a major seismic event, as well as opened up a survey to obtain your thoughts, ideas and feedback. Please take a moment and complete the survey when you can.

Newest Member of Our Family

This weekend my family adopted a kitten that we’ve named Marie Curie from the Multnomah County animal shelter. Marie is an energetic, loving eight week old who has made fast friends everywhere she’s gone. You can find out more information about the wonderful work being done at our animal shelter (and find information about adopting a pet of your own!) here.

Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Seeks At-Large Member

The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee is seeking a new at-large member. The eight-member volunteer committee, appointed by the governor, acts as a liaison between the public and the Oregon Department of Transportation. Interest forms are available here.

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