Seniors share growing issues at People’s Forum

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Baby Boomer generation is getting older, and a lot of them are moving into the Portland area. That influx is causing a strain on the system.

Local seniors gathered with state and city officials Tuesday morning at the Southeast Multicultural Center for the People’s Forum to talk about growing issues Portland’s seniors are facing.

If current trends hold, between 2010 and 2025, the population of people over 60 will explode by 57 percent in Multnomah County. Many seniors are already feeling the strain on the system.

“We have no options,” said Jacqui Jackson. “I would love to get a job, but nobody’s going to hire an old lady who can’t stand for eight hours.”

With rising housing costs, government benefit cuts and lengthening program wait times, all of the seniors KOIN 6 spoke with said they felt left behind.

“We spend millions on bike paths and street dividers, but when I take my wife to the senior center on Wednesday, I don’t see no seniors that came up riding a bike,” one senior said.

We asked state and local leaders on hand what they felt needed to be done. They said the problem was layered, but it begins with housing.

“There’s no one silver bullet to fix it,” said District 23 Senator Michael Dembrow. “We need to put more money into affordable housing. We need to look into protection for tenants and particularly, I would say, for seniors.”

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