Letter to the Editor January 2023

To the Editor:

I have read and enjoyed your newspaper for many (20) years. Your homey and challenging articles help to bind our little collection of houses, apartments and businesses into an actual community. You help make SE Portland special. 

I write in support of State Representative Rob Nosse’s December 2022 column defending Oregon Ballot Measure 110, passed by the voters in 2020, which abolished criminal penalties for simple possession of small amounts of “hard” drugs (including the usual suspects we love to hate) and directed the police to treat drug use as a medical, not a criminal, problem. 

Nosse acknowledges that Measure 110 has had a rocky rollout, but then so has every other mental health initiative in this and every other state. He acknowledges that there has been a fentanyl epidemic and a homelessness epidemic, but those tragedies have nothing to do with Measure 110. He correctly criticizes those politicians who try to link Measure 110 to larger issues. 

Nosse has the wisdom to see the future and the courage to describe it like it is. This paragraph is really good:  

“Criminalizing addiction again and relying on law enforcement interaction is not going to get most people to change their addiction patterns and challenges. Treatment, housing, employment, purpose and human connection will. For me, it  boils down to this–we’ve already tried incarcerating ourselves out of this crisis for more than 50 years and that only made the problem worse.” 

Congratulations, Representative Nosse. You are one of the early, prescient leaders ushering Oregon into a better era when drug users will be treated as patients, not criminals; when the police will have more time to chase real criminals, because they will be spared the chore of hunting down folks wanting to get high; and when the cartels and street gangs will slowly abandon the drug trade, replaced by pharmacies and dispensaries. I am glad I voted for you. 

Mendel Rivers

Editor’s note: Letters to the Editor should be less than 300 words and The Southeast Examiner reserves the right to edit them for length or content.

Letter to the Editor January 2023

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