Washington County Chair Points to Progress on Homelessness

HILLSBOROUGH, Ore. — As Washington County’s population has grown to 600, 000 people, it’s had more of the big city problems, like homelessness and drugs move in as well. But in her State of the County address, Chair Catherine Harrington says, they’ve made progress.  When it comes to homelessness, “Workers and our partners have eliminated seven large and medium sized encampments that had grown in our county. Across the entire program, we’ve moved over 2000 formally houseless people into stable housing with wraparound services and rental assistance.”

And she says more help is on the way for those addicted to opioids, particularly fentanyl.

“In just over another year’s time, our new Center for Addiction Triage and Treatment will open to help those who struggle with addiction. It will be our first daily drop off center.”

But Harrington says the system that’s supposed to keep people safe in her community is, “In crisis. Even with the historic support for public safety , it’s become more and more challenging to deliver the services that hold offenders accountable.”

She says overall, the Washington County crime rates are below the state and national average, but there’s still been a 30%  growth rate in the last five years. And she’s especially worried about, “An alarming trend among juveniles, with more middle school aged youth committing more violent crimes. And we’re seeing more criminal referrals for aged 12 and under.”

She says due to staff shortages, the county’s keeping its jail at just 67% capacity.

 

 

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