ROSEBURG, Ore. — On Friday, Governor Tina Kotek visited communities in Douglas County for the second stop of her “One Oregon Listening Tour,” marking the first tour stop since her inauguration.
Governor Kotek and First Lady Aimee Kotek Wilson participated in three group conversations with local community members to hear their perspectives on the governor’s top three priorities: education and early learning; mental health and recovery; and housing and homelessness.
“Today, I heard about communities getting big things done, despite big challenges,” Governor Kotek said. “I heard stories of collaboration, innovation, and resilience from parents, health care providers, and community helpers. The solutions to our challenges are homegrown, and if we work together, the Oregon we all imagine – where everyone belongs and has a place to call home no matter their zip code – is well within reach.”
The day started at Yoncalla Elementary School, where its Early Works preschool program started a community-driven educational model that has now been adopted district-wide. Governor Kotek toured the Early Works program space and hosted a discussion with program administrators and parents who shared how it is more than just a school and truly a focal point of the community, a place of healing and unity.
Early Works is a public preschool for 4-year-olds and other early learning programming at Yoncalla Elementary, including parenting classes, kindergarten readiness workshops, and other family-friendly activities.
Governor Kotek and the First Lady then traveled to Roseburg to tour the Gary Leif Navigation Center, which opened in June 2022 as a homeless outreach hub and housing option with 17 pods. The Navigation Center also offers walk-in services including referrals to local support agencies and more. Construction began last October to add another 30 beds inside the facility. The center is named after late state representative Gary Leif, who worked with Governor Kotek in 2021 while she was Speaker of the House to secure $1.5 million for the City of Roseburg to fund the center. Leif passed away in July 2021. Governor Kotek was joined by his wife, Carol, on the tour.
The Governor spent the afternoon at Aviva Health in Roseburg, which included a tour of the facility and a roundtable discussion about mental health and recovery. The facility provides primary medical, dental, and behavioral health services at eight locations throughout Douglas County with a sliding fee scale based on income and family size. Following a lunch meeting that focused on economic development and workforce development, Governor Kotek took a tour of UCAN Feeding Umpqua food bank and held a housing and homelessness discussion with local leaders.
The day concluded with a visit to Oakland for some antique shopping and a meeting with Mayor Bette Keehley at Turkey Hall.
Governor Kotek will visit every county in Oregon within her first year in office through the “One Oregon Listening Tour” in order to foster trust and build strong partnerships across the state to get results for Oregonians, with a focus on housing and homelessness, mental health and recovery, and early learning and education.