Chamber Forum discusses future of Measure 110

MEDFORD, Ore. — Local leaders discussed Measure 110 – how we got to where we are and the road ahead. Monday afternoon The Chamber of Medford and Jackson County hosted a forum to discuss the future of Measure 110 now that House Bill 4002 is on Governor Kotek’s desk.

Oregon has been ranked 50th in the country on addiction treatment access. With House Bill 4002 passing both House and Senate many are hopeful that ranking will improve. If signed by the governor, the bill will make many changes to Measure 110, but panelists say the message behind the measure remains the same.

The panel at the Chamber’s Forum on Measure 110 included community leaders who face Oregon’s addiction crisis on a daily basis. This included Stephanie Mendenhall, Executive Director & Founder of Reclaiming Lives/Recovery Cafe who said,

People who find recovery can gain civility and be amazing leaders in our society, but they have to have the support of our community in order to do that.

Other panel members were Brandon Orr the manager of the Reclaiming Lives/Recovery Cafe, Dwight Holton the CEO of Lines For Life and former U.S. Attorney, and Max Williams the former President & CEO of Oregon Community Foundation.

Williams says with addictions we have to think about intervention in a broad way, and that a misdemeanor might be the best way to prevent future felonies.

For a consequence to matter there has to be a place for somebody to go, or that consequence doesn’t actually make a difference, right?

And while Mendenhall agrees with the recriminalization in House Bill 4002, she wants to emphasize the importance of making treatment available.

The community is impacted when people get clean. The crime rate goes down, families are reunited, and health outcomes get better and so I really believe that the direction that we’re going with the new legislature is going to help reinforce that.

With the introduction of criminal charges in House Bill 4002 citizens are concerned with the amount of jail space they’ll need in their community. Williams says that’s one of the biggest issues each community will have to work out for itself.

Given the geographical differences and differences in jail bed availability and treatment bed availability, that’s going to look different by a county-by-county basis.

Williams also hopes that with more resources for treatment centers, jail space won’t be as dire.

If you had more detox beds, you would need fewer jail beds because you could use that relationship to get people into detox and then on
into treatment.

Holton says communities need to recognize that their jails are mental health facilities, and they need to treat them as such.

How many of you would sentence a person with diabetes to a jail that did not stock insulin? And everyones like ‘well, we would never do that’. You do it every day with opioid addiction when you sentence people to jails and don’t have the medication that we know works.

Panelists all seemed to agree that the proper amount of positive and negative reinforcement could really change the tides of Oregon’s addiction crisis.

“Is there hope? And the answer is emphatically yes, ” said Holton.

Williams added, “The more we can intervene early and get people into treatment and substance-addiction programs that are addressing that issue, the less likely we are that they’re going to suffer those later consequences.”

Orr, who announced he is nearly seven years clean says he’s just glad people are willing to help.

I’ve lost almost forty friends since 2020, so I’m just really glad that we have some people in this room that are ready to make a change. So thank you guys so very much.

William says he’s heard every legislator regardless of party say they’re not done with Measure 110. Panelists say a lot more work and tweaking is going to need to happen before people really start seeing the impacts.

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NBC5 News Reporter Lauren Pretto grew up in Livermore, California and attended University of California, Santa Cruz, graduating with a double major in Film/Digital Media and Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. Lauren is a lover of books, especially Agatha Christie and Gothic novels. When her nose isn't buried in a book, she knits, bakes, and writes.
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