PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – On the heels of approving Multnomah County’s spending plan to address homelessness, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek marked her first 100 days in office with a press conference Wednesday morning.

At the beginning of the conference, the governor highlighted “Oregon’s potential” to face challenges, as the state grapples with a homelessness and housing crisis.

“In government, we often talk a lot about resources. We talk a lot about not having enough money, trade workers, supports. We talk about scarcity and we talk about shortcomings,” Kotek said.

“But in my first hundred days as your governor, I have seen something else: potential. We have an abundance of people in our state who are willing to try things, things they have never done before, to solve our greatest challenges, drop what they’re doing big things and small, all because they believe in Oregon’s potential.”

She continued to say “the challenges facing Oregon didn’t arrive overnight and they will not be solved overnight, or in 100 days. But our 100-day sprint has laid the foundation to improve the lives of all Oregonians.”

Homelessness and affordable housing

On her first day in office, Kotek signed three executive orders to address Oregon’s homelessness and affordable housing crises.

During the press conference, the governor said she set “aggressive” goals to address homelessness — including keeping 9,000 Oregonians from becoming homeless, moving at least 1,200 people into permanent housing, adding at least 600 shelter beds and building at least 36,000 housing units per year.

The governor said these goals “originate from a place of optimism and possibility.”

In the coming weeks, Kotek said, funding from her homelessness emergency declaration will be distributed to help reduce unsheltered homelessness.

“It’s historic that we’re making this kind of significant investment so quickly and with such specific outcomes tied to that funding. We are doing this because a crisis of this scale demands bold action and innovation, and more must be done going forward,” Kotek said.

The press conference comes after the governor approved $18.2 million in emergency homeless funding for Multnomah County on Monday after previously announcing she would withhold the funds, claiming a lack of transparency.

The governor also recalled the passage of the $200 million “downpayment” Affordable Housing & Emergency Homelessness Response Package, which in part funded her emergency declaration. The package aims to shelter and prevent homelessness and boost housing production — including for middle-income earners.

During the press conference, Kotek called on the Oregon legislature to approve at least another $1.3 billion in the 2023 legislative session to address homelessness — including $1 billion in bonding to build and preserve affordable housing and $300 million to continue addressing the crisis and ensure “we do not lose ground at this critical juncture.”

While speaking on homelessness, the governor emphasized the ties between behavioral health care and housing.

“The overlay between behavioral health and housing stability is as clear as day. This is not a conversation about one or the other. It’s a conversation about ‘Yes, and,'” Kotek said. “Oregonians need a stronger, more accessible behavioral health system that meets them where they are and matches them with the appropriate level of care that they need.”

She also said the “homelessness, to jail, to hospital pipeline” needs to be addressed and called for stabilization of the behavioral health workforce.


Kotek highlighted the Early Literacy Success Initiative to support children’s ability to read and write. The governor pointed to bipartisan HB 3198 and says the $121 million she directed to the literacy effort should be the minimum the state invests during this session.

“Our early literacy rates in Oregon are intolerable. Change is coming. If passed and adequately funded, the bill will be a first step toward a long-term approach to improve how we support our student’s development inside and outside the classroom,” Kotek said.

“A status quo budget, or worse, a cut budget, is completely unacceptable for the next two years ahead of us. Oregon’s reserve funds stand strong at $2 billion thanks to over a decade of prudent leadership.”

She added, “at 100 days, I’m reaffirming the commitments I made on day one; to listen, to dig into the details, to develop solutions together and to advocate for better results at every level of government.”

Watch the full press conference below.

The press conference follows the governor’s signing last week of the $210 million Oregon CHIPS Act which aims to lure chip and semiconductor manufacturers to the state — allocating funding to help businesses get federal funding and investing in school tech programs. The act also allows the governor to expand land outside of the urban growth boundary for tech businesses.

Her time in office has also seen leadership shake-ups at the Oregon Health Authority after Kotek called for more focus on behavioral health — and at the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission after an investigation found top OLCC officials directed high-end bourbon to themselves.

The governor previously told KOIN 6 News that within her first year in office, she’s going to visit every Oregon county and wants to hear her constituents’ concerns in hopes of working through issues together as a state.

Stay with KOIN 6 News as this story develops.