Turns out that Oregon has a “Prosperity Initiative” and Cylvia Hayes, the governor’s lady, is in charge of it. I had never heard of this until Willamette Week reported that Hayes had given a talk about prosperity in Portland on Dec. 16, when she got a parking ticket for displaying a state police pass on the dash of her Prius. The governor’s office said it was OK because her talk was an official function.
The story sent me to the governor’s website, which explains that First Lady Cylvia Hayes is leading “the Oregon Prosperity Initiative, … a bold approach to creating a robust, thriving economy by removing barriers to overcoming poverty and empowering citizens to maximize their potential.”
The website says the initiative wants to do this by, among other things, supporting food banks, telling people about the crisis and cost of poverty, developing partnerships with various organizations, and “embedding poverty reduction strategies in the 10-year state budget plan and the governor’s education and health care transformation initiatives.” In other words, write more strategies, initiatives and policies. Give the policy wonks in Portland and Salem something to do and hope that poverty goes down as a result.
There has to be a better way, and quicker. Like what? Like being more aggressive and trying to revive industries making use of Oregon’s natural resources — such as timber, farm crops and minerals. Doing that might lead to growth in jobs that don’t require years of higher education and thus would actually help those who suffer from poverty most. (hh)