The Oregonian newspaper published an editorial lamenting the mass exodus from the coastal state, including the city of Portland, which had “previously been the darling of national media.”
“For decades, Oregon hasn’t had to sell itself as a destination. Who wouldn’t want to live in this state of trees and mountains, drink its award-winning craft beers and enjoy its laid-back culture?” The Oregonian’s editorial board asked hypothetically. “Turns out – thousands of now-former Oregonians.”
“Census figures show that about 16,000 more people left Oregon than moved in from July 2021 to July 2022. It’s the first decline for Oregon since the 1980s when the nation was engulfed in a recession, as The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Jamie Goldberg reported,” the editorial board wrote.
The Oregonian highlighted some significant problems that have plagued Oregon in recent years. “As much as Oregon has to offer, our housing unaffordability, homelessness, increasing taxation, drug addiction crisis, untreated mental illness, firearms violence, traffic deaths, and educational mediocrity are changing the calculus for many about where to live, raise a family or retire,” as stated in the paper.
According to the article, “Oregon’s massive housing shortage may be the biggest factor driving the population loss,” and fixing the problem “will take years to rectify.” The enormous problem of homelessness in Oregon’s and California’s major cities is one of the state’s top priorities.
“Such little progress on increasing housing and curbing unsanctioned camping is particularly frustrating, considering the state saw one of the biggest increases in its homeless population in the country from 2020 to 2022,” the editorial board wrote.
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“Letting people live in the elements – many of whom suffer from untreated mental illness or substance addiction – without access to services and at greater risk of homicidal violence isn’t compassionate.”
“Nor does it consider the justified frustration among residents over a declining sense of safety and weariness over the campers, tents, and trash that have taken over sidewalks, trails, and parks,” the report said. The publication also cautioned that the state’s lenient approach to drug criminality had backfired.
“The proliferation of drug use and increasing overdose deaths also demand a stronger response from law enforcement to shut down drug dealing and from the Oregon Health Authority to develop a more strategic approach,” The Oregonian wrote. “We cannot Narcan our way out of the opioid crisis.”