As Oregon’s largest city, Portland has long since developed a reputation for being a little bit unusual. “Keep Portland Weird” became a popular slogan aimed at inviting artists, musicians and other like-minded people from all over to experience life in the city.

But things started changing over time. What began as a light-hearted attitude that began the popular show “Portlandia” ten years ago took a dark turn. And it hasn’t come back ever since.

The homeless problem began getting worse as housing became less affordable. Traffic went from a mild inconvenience to the kind of thing you have to plan your entire day around.

Then came the riots in the summer of 2020. One hundred consecutive days of protests, complete with the vandalism and destruction of downtown businesses, left a huge scar in that area. Despite the fact that this took place almost two years ago, Portland has still not recovered.

Political movements aimed at defunding the police have produced disastrous results. Car thefts are now rampant and the city keeps setting records for the number of shootings it’s now having. Garbage and graffiti are now common sights throughout Portland.

Recent studies and polling data show that tourists are unlikely to return, which is a huge hit for that sector of the economy. The long-term economic impacts have become apparent, along with the growing recognition that something different should be done.

Clackamas County has long lived in Portland’s shadow. Even though much of the county is rural, several of its cities happen to be Portland suburbs.

Due to that close proximity, this means that the problems and issues in Portland usually don’t take long to make their way into our neighborhoods here in Clackamas County. If the same policies that created those conditions in Portland are adopted in our county, that makes those problems much more likely to spread here.

Clackamas is the third-largest county in Oregon, behind Multnomah and Washington, which are the other two counties in the Portland metropolitan region. Many people move here for the quality of life they can find in our smaller cities and communities. But that quality of life is being threatened by growing traffic congestion, rising crime and other urban issues making their way over from Portland.

I’m running for Clackamas County Commissioner, Position 2, to help ensure that we don’t repeat those same mistakes or double down on them the way we’ve seen it done just north of us. I’ll support common sense policies on issues like housing and transportation and will vote to keep our sheriff’s office funded so our deputies can do their jobs and keep us safe.

Some candidates may think that Portland is a model to emulate, but I am not one of them. If anything, that city has become an example of what not to do. We can learn from the mistakes that have been made by Portland’s political leadership, and don’t have to follow that city as it continues its downward spiral.

*If you’d like to find out more about or support the Mark Johnson for Clackamas County Commission campaign, please check out our website at https://markjohnson22.com/