Canby Mayor Brian Hodson and other local elected officials and conservative candidates joined a roundtable discussion on homelessness, crime and the state’s drug crisis this week hosted by Republican legislative leaders and GOP gubernatorial candidate Christine Drazan, who also lives in the Canby area.
Oregon Republican Senate Leader Tim Knopp and House Republican Leader Vikki Breese-Iverson convened the October 24 session with Drazan, current and former law enforcement officials, and politicians.
“Democrats have had one-party control of Oregon and have failed to put a stop to the crime and homelessness problems,” Breese-Iverson said in a press release. “The problems that were once isolated to downtown Portland are now creeping into neighboring towns including Gresham, Milwaukie, Canby, Troutdale, Gladstone and beyond.”
Participants included Senator Bill Kennemer, House District 39 candidate Kori Haynes, HD 40 candidate Adam Baker, HD 49 candidate and Troutdale Mayor Randy Lauer, former state representative and HD 52 candidate Jeff Helfrich — all Republicans — along with Sandy Mayor Stan Pulliam, Gladstone Mayor Tammy Stempel and Hodson.
Republicans have sought to weaponize rising crime statistics in Oregon’s metro areas in recent years, blaming them on Democratic leaders including outgoing Governor Kate Brown.
Between 2019 and 2021, the homicide rate in Portland increased by 207%, and the city is on pace to meet or surpass last year’s record 92 killings and 1,327 shootings.
Car theft is also on the rise, with more than 9,000 reported stolen to the Portland Police Bureau last year, though more than 90% were eventually recovered.
GOP officials also criticized Democrats’ record on homelessness and drug abuse, which they claim was only exacerbated by Oregon voters passage of 2020’s Measure 110, which decriminalized a number of illegal substances and shifted other ways the state handles drugs and addicts.
“Oregonians are fed up and are aware by now that these issues are not being solved by the Democrat leaders in our state,” Knopp said in the release. “With a super majority in the state Legislature, Democrats have supported and cheered the passage of measures like 110, effectively legalizing meth, heroin, oxycodone and other hard drugs.”
Republicans said they have a plan for improving public safety in the state and communities, including re-criminalizing hard drugs and investing in law enforcement resources and training, but did not go into further detail.
“Legislative Republicans have a plan to work with law enforcement and local leaders to clean up Oregon and restore public safety,” said Republican State Leadership Committee spokesman Zach Kraft.
“Salem Democrats are only focused on political gymnastics to distort their radical agenda. Voters will see through Democrats’ charade and bring balance to Salem by electing Republicans on November 8.”
Hodson also attended a roundtable in August featuring U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and four Oregon GOP congressional candidates that focused on rising crime and homelessness in the Rose City, among other topics. He said at the time that he does not believe public safety is a political issue.
“I do see it as bigger than right vs. left, Democrats vs. Republicans,” Hodson told the Current this summer. “Across the board, having a safe place to live, work and play is crucial to all involved.
“I see this as an opportunity to share what we have done to keep Canby one of the top 10 safest cities in Oregon. I also see this as an opportunity to elevate increasing concerns to a federal level.”
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