Sharon Meieran

Multnomah County Commissioner, Position 1

I am an emergency room doctor, community health advocate, and mother of two children in Portland Public Schools. I was elected to the Multnomah County Commission in 2016 and am seeking a second term.

As an ER doctor I’ve seen firsthand how so many people fall through the cracks in our systems of care and end up in what is often the least effective and most expensive place to deal with their underlying issues. This is because those issues aren’t what we traditionally think of as “healthcare”. They are larger social factors such as homelessness; food insecurity; being a recent immigrant or refugee who does not know where else to go; and more. As a Commissioner, I am working to address upstream some of these larger issues, the root causes of poverty and disparity in our social systems.

My priorities include addressing homelessness and housing insecurity, behavioral health systems transformation, reproductive healthcare (including access to abortion services and reproductive justice), and the intersection of housing and healthcare with the criminal justice system, all with a view toward recognizing and addressing the historical inequities and systemic racism that still persist throughout our systems and institutions today.  I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I graduated from UC Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law. I practiced law for seven years, in the areas of general civil litigation and intellectual property law, and also volunteered in areas of children’s advocacy and family law. I then went back to medical school at UCSF in San Francisco, where I met my husband, Fred (a former professional musician). We did residency in Emergency Medicine together in Cincinnati, where our children Ella and Ben were born, and returned to the West Coast to raise our family. We live in Southwest Portland.

Two of my favorite quotes are: “Speak your mind, even when your voice shakes,” and “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

View Sharon's response to the Candidate-Platform Alignment Questionnaire:

Candidate comments (optional)

My stance on basic rights and justice go to the heart of why I ran for Multnomah County Commission four years ago, and why I am seeking re-election. Two of my top priorities are Housing and Access to Healthcare, and these are inextricably linked to our system of criminal justice, and to issues of inequity, historic and current discrimination, houselessness and poverty.

I strongly support a Single Payer universal healthcare system, informed by my work as an emergency physician working on the front line of healthcare. I sponsored Multnomah County’s resolution to support Healthcare for All Oregon’s proposal for state universal healthcare legislation, highlighting that access to healthcare is a basic human right for all.

As an ER doctor, I see people who fall through the cracks in our system of care and end up in often the least effective and most expensive place to deal with their underlying issues. Those issues include what are often termed the “social determinants of health,” such as homelessness and housing insecurity, food insecurity, immigrants and refugees who feel isolated and don’t know where to go for care, and many people traumatized by experiences, both historical and ongoing, of racial discrimination, discrimination based on sexual orientation, poverty and more. And I see where our systems intersect, and opportunities to holistically make things better for our community and particularly for those who are most vulnerable.

One of my top priorities during my first term as a Multnomah County Commissioner has been starting to address a dysfunctional system of behavioral healthcare. I sponsored a deep systems analysis of how mental health services are delivered and experienced by people in our community, and have convened a steering committee, including people with lived experience of the system, to address the issue of actually operationalizing a new and re-imagined system. But the fragmentation of our mental health system did not happen overnight – it took decades of disinvestment and neglect by political and agency leaders to get to the point we are today. In my second term I intend to pursue the systems reform I began during my first term, engage with community to ensure all voices are part of the conversation and the solution, especially those who have been traditionally marginalized, discriminated against and actively excluded, including people who are black, indigenous, persons of color, immigrants and refugees, LBTQ+, to collaboratively arrive at a system that is holistic, person-centered and effective in supporting people experiencing mental health issues, and enhances wellbeing not only of individuals but of the community.

I. Basic Rights
We call on our state legislators to pursue universal publicly funded health care for the state of Oregon.
We call for all members of Oregon’s Congressional Delegation to co-sponsor and actively work for the passage of expanded and improved Medicare.
We support the continuation and expansion of Medicaid.
Agree
We recognize that there is a housing crisis in our local communities and across the state. We direct Multnomah County and the City of Portland to develop affordable housing for individuals and families with zero to moderate incomes. Agree
We strongly support women’s rights to reproductive freedom of choice including unfettered access to reproductive health care services regardless of their ability to pay.
We oppose any legislation that would defund Planned Parenthood.
Agree
Comments (optional)

I strongly and enthusiastically agree with all of the statements put forth above regarding Basic Rights. These are three areas I have been deeply involved in throughout my work as an emergency physician, as Medical Director for the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health, and as a Multnomah County Commissioner, and which I continue to champion.

II: Natural Resources Protection and Recovery
We support passage of state legislation to change our goals for economy-wide reduction of Oregon’s Greenhouse Gas emissions to net zero by 2050 and at least 50% reduction by 2035. Agree
We support the development and passage of legislation to provide mandates and incentives to:

• Expand public transportation systems; Advance an early transition to electric and zero-emission vehicles;
• Advance weatherization and structural improvements in existing buildings; Support implementation of solar energy production;
• Advance new net-zero-energy buildings and methane-free new construction; Incentivize energy efficiency in Oregon’s industries;
• Improve tree canopy and rooftop plantings where possible in all urban areas to reduce heat island effect;
• Require that electricity be produced entirely by renewable sources by 2040 and require net zero carbon building codes by 2030.

Agree
We support the development and passage of a Forest Protection and Restoration Act that will:

• Eliminate clear-cut forestry on all publicly held and managed lands and maximize climate resilient management;
• Eliminate all tax incentives to industrial forests not employing climate resilient management practices that re-establish multi-species and multi-aged forests, including protecting riparian areas that will lower stream temperature for fish habitat, restore intact functioning watershed areas, reduce landslides, protect municipal water supplies, and restore floodplain functioning to Oregon’s rivers and streams;
• Maintain incentives and subsidize independent landholders who engage in these practices;
• Reduce roads in forests; Develop and implement treatments to restore healthy forest soils;
• Accelerate programs to reduce and eventually eliminate forest stream passage barriers in Oregon;
• And re-evaluate the property tax structure for Oregon’s commercial forests.

Agree
We support a ban for any new fossil fuel infrastructure. Agree
Comments (optional)

Although ideally strong climate legislation will happen at the state level (and of course the federal level), Multnomah County has been a leader in what can be done at the local level to address the devastating impacts of climate change.

In 2015 the County implemented a Climate Action Plan with the city of Portland, outlining bold objectives and goals to achieve by 2030 in regard to energy efficiency, waste management, transportation, urban forest canopy and more. The County has been taking actions and implementing strategies in furtherance of the plan since.

Additionally, I voted with my colleagues to commit to reaching a goal of 100% renewable energy use by 2050 in the County, with a plan that also recognizes the significant disparities experienced by people of color and individuals with low income due to climate change and supports economic opportunities that advance equity and community resiliency.

And I sponsored a resolution investigating how the County, in partnership with the city of Portland, could implement innovative solutions to potentially address climate and disaster preparedness issues existing as a result of the Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub located in my district, in Linnton.

 

III: Education
We call for legislation compelling large corporations to pay their fair share of taxes toward full funding to ensure the future of Oregon education Agree
We support public funding of a full-day, full-year, universal public preschool program for children age 3 to 4 in Multnomah County that is high quality, playbased, culturally responsive, and developmentally appropriate for young children. Agree
We recognize that poverty is a systemic problem embedded in society at large and believe that schools can be responsive in addressing poverty-related traumas, including the effects on highly mobile students. Therefore, we recommend that funding be invested in PreK-12 wrap-around services including mentoring, after-school programs, counselors, culturally relevant curriculum and instruction, and critical race theory initiatives, and other programs that have been proven effective in assuring student success. Agree
Comments (optional)
IV: Equity
We call for proactive educational programs for all law enforcement personnel and for all local, city, county, and state government personnel to safeguard black and brown lives and protect them from race-based law enforcement actions that far too often end in death. Agree
We demand equal pay for equal work for women from all employers in Multnomah County. Agree
Black Lives Matter. We call for legislation that provides meaningful protection for African Americans at all levels of the justice system Agree
Comments (optional)
V: Tribal Sovereignty
We call for universal, publicly funded health care to close health disparities exacerbated by Congress chronically under-funding Indian Health Service. Agree
We demand compliance with treaties between the United States and Tribal nations and hold the federal government to their trust responsibility. Agree
We support legislation that fully funds teams of investigators to work in consultation with Tribal authorities to respond to each murder and disappearance of Native American persons anywhere in Oregon. Agree
Comments (optional)
VI. Historical and Ongoing Anti-Blackness in Oregon
We call on the Oregon State Legislature to immediately assess the Black correctional populations at the county, city, and state levels.
We also demand that there be review of punishments (bail amounts, sentence lengths, amount of time served before parole) being levied at unfairly high levels on Black Oregonians. This is particularly important for disparities based on gender and race for similar crimes to other racial/ethnic groups.
We demand there be significant Criminal Justice reform in the form of investment into counseling, alternative sentencing, job training, and rehabilitation for Oregon’s over-incarcerated Black population.
Agree
We call on the Oregon State Legislature to authorize bank audits to expose patterns of racial discrimination in lending and require these banks to extend loans to Black businesses and Black institutions. Wells Fargo and Umpqua received bailout from taxpayers and owe a debt to all taxpayers regardless of race. Additionally, Wells Fargo has a long and storied history of using predatory schemes to extract wealth from Black communities. Increasing SBA loans to Black businesses would be an excellent way for banks to begin to redress the past harms they have inflicted on Black communities. Agree
The Oregon State Legislature must create a law that mandates public schools in the state teach students about America’s original sin of slavery and the Jim Crow era that followed, with an emphasis on the state of Oregon.
The legislation should also incentivize the training, hiring, and retention of Black American teachers to teach the aforementioned subject matters. This will help address the Black teacher shortage in Oregon.
Agree
Comments (optional)
VII. Justice
We call for the repeal of all mandatory minimum sentencing in Oregon, substituting Guidelines in its place, and allowing a judge to have discretion in all cases. Agree
We call on the State Legislature to pass pay equity legislation for Public Defenders and Prosecutors and their staffs. Agree
The Oregon Legislature should do away with cash bail, which discriminates against poor people, who are disproportionally people of color. Agree
We believe that the voters of Oregon should abolish the Death Penalty and life without parole sentencing. Agree
Comments (optional)
VIII. Election Integrity and Legislative Alignment
We demand campaign finance reform.
We demand that the state Attorney General challenge corporate personhood, and that state and federal legislators pass laws and a constitutional amendment clarifying that corporations are not people and money is not speech
Agree
We encourage voters to pass an Oregon constitutional amendment to allow the state to regulate political contributions and expenditures.
We call for Oregon state legislation to set limits on contributions by individuals, PACS, corporations, and unions to candidates, candidate committees, political party committees and any other political committee
Agree
We support legislation that requires voter-verifiable paper ballots in all elections, and tabulation software that is open source, non-proprietary, and available for public scrutiny and analysis with source code that is verified using a public method by qualified third parties independent of any political party or vendor, and that guarantees secure chains of custody so there can be no modifications after certification. Agree
Comments (optional)

I believe that the corrupting influence of money in politics is the single factor that has the most potential to destroy our democracy. I strongly advocated for the Multnomah County campaign finance reform measure 26-184 which passed overwhelmingly in 2016, and as a Commissioner championed efforts at the County to implement the measure and ensure we aggressively pursued legal strategies allowing for evaluation by the Oregon Supreme Court. This was done, and in a landmark ruling, the Oregon Supreme Court just overturned decades of findings that contribution limits were unconstitutional under the Oregon Constitution, and ruled that campaign contribution limits are in fact constitutional in Oregon. Work at the state level is only beginning, but I will continue to do everything in my power to fight for meaningful campaign finance reform.

IX. Media
We support a comprehensive net neutral public utility to provide state of the art internet access to serve all end users. Agree
We support the full funding of Public Broadcasting stations and networks, possibly supplemented by small donations from the public, to eliminate the inhibition of investigative reporting of sponsoring entities.
We support the development of ways to assure stable funding well-protected from political interference.
Agree
We support corporate responsibility with the management of our personal data. We demand internet media companies pay individuals for use of their personal data, and if there is a data breach to pay for all damages. Agree
Comments (optional)
X. Economy
We support breaking up monopolies, starting with barring Internet common carriers (i.e. Google, Facebook) from competing with businesses that use them. Agree
We support the creation of a public bank in Portland/Oregon Agree
We support the creation of either a cap-and-trade program or a carbon tax with dividend to recognize the need to eliminate fossil fuel use as one means to fight global warming. Agree
Comments (optional)
XI. Labor and Workers’ Rights
We call for the decriminalization of paid sexual acts between consenting adults and legislation allowing sex workers to organize. Agree
We oppose all legislation that diminishes workers’ rights to organize. Agree
We support legislation requiring retraining of displaced workers. We call for state and federal legislation to provide transition plans as technology and innovation change the workplace Agree
Comments (optional)
XII. Immigration
We call on the Federal Government to never take immigrant children away from their detained parents and to reunite families that have already been separated. Agree
We call on every member of the Oregon Congressional delegation to cosponsor and actively work for the passage of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM Act). Agree
We call on the State and local governments of Oregon to adopt policies that protect immigrants from unlawful enforcement of immigration laws. In addition, we call on the institutions to not participate in the enforcement of Federal immigration laws Agree
Comments (optional)

The Multnomah County Board has stood up and called out the gross injustices imposed by the federal government’s immigration policies, and the trauma and danger these policies cause to our immigrant and refugee community members. Multnomah County provides services for those who are most vulnerable, including health, housing and food services. As a Board we have unanimously stood against the federal administration’s dangerous policies, and have issued joint statements responding to the ICE raids and supporting our local families and reassuring them that our services will continue to be provided to our community members regardless of race, immigration status, or ability to pay.

XIII. Infrastructure
We support legislation to promote and implement high-speed rail or other high-speed technology, including monorail, within Oregon and along the West Coast. Agree
We support construction of renewable energy facilities or facilities that include carbon sequestration technology. Agree
We support public funding for electric vehicle infrastructure throughout Oregon. Agree
Comments (optional)
XIV. Abuse of Power
We support efforts to stipulate that corporations are not people, and money is not speech. Agree
We call for responding to drug addiction with treatment not imprisonment. Agree
We support legislation holding law enforcement personnel liable for inflicting harm through the use of excessive force. Agree
Comments (optional)