Multnomah County District 1 candidates talk public safety ahead of potential runoff election

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With public safety, mental health and addiction top of mind for those living in the Portland metro area, local election candidates are putting forth their platforms on addressing public safety ahead of potential runoffs in November.

KOIN 6 News spoke with Multnomah County Commission District 1 candidates to get their perspectives on these topics.

“How we have responded to this crisis over the last five years isn’t good enough,” said candidate Meghan Moyer. “But that doesn’t mean that Portland and Multnomah County wants to give up on helping people.”

“If you want to see change, which is what we’re doing here, we are asking for that change that we need for public safety, for the people living on our streets. I think that the voters will realize I am the candidate for that,” candidate Vadim Mozyrsky told KOIN 6 News.

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As Friday evening, Moyer is leading the District 1 race with roughly 46% of the vote compared to Mozrysky’s 39%.

Candidates vying for the District 1 seat spoke with KOIN 6 about how they plan to address the issues of addiction, homelessness, mental health and violence on public transit, three days after a man narrowly escaped with his life after being randomly shoved in front of a MAX train in the heart of downtown Portland.

“My opponent in this race has advocated to leave those people on the streets. She’s saying we should not expand civil commitments for people that sometimes don’t even realize that they have very serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia,” Mozyrsky said.

In response, Moyer told KOIN 6 she has never said she wants to leave people in crisis on the streets. “I want to make sure that there’s a safety net that connects people to services so that there aren’t people coming through, over and over and over again, at incredible cost to themselves and to taxpayers,”  she said.

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Their comments come as the suspect accused of shoving the man onto the tracks — who was saved thanks to the quick-thinking of a MAX operator — pleaded not guilty to attempted murder this week. Two months ago, a man was also charged with stabbing another passenger, Michael Brady, to death.

This follows a slew of other violent attacks on and around public transit in recent years. Authorities have characterized many of the suspects in these attacks as being in a behavioral health crisis

Administrative law judge candidate Mozyrsky said Multnomah County has failed to act. He is now calling for more outreach and the expansion of civil commitment statutes for people experiencing mental health crises.

“I’m very confident,” Mozyrsky said. “What we’ll see in the runoff is that we will have more attention to this race. We will have debates and things that have not happened in the past to allow people to understand the difference in this race. And the difference is my experience, my desire to change versus the status quo.”

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Candidate Moyer, the policy director for Disability Rights Oregon, said she feels civil commitments are a necessary — but temporary — fix for a problem that requires longer-term solutions such as activating Medicaid funding.

Right now, Moyer is leading the race that will likely result in a November runoff against Mozyrsky.

“I am so thrilled with the level of support I’ve gotten and to be ahead in this race by a comfortable margin,” Moyer said. “I think this primary really proves that people want to have a deeper conversation and are looking for real solutions and not just sound bites.”

In response to KOIN 6’s request for comment about public safety on TriMet, the agency issued the following statement:

At TriMet, our hearts go out to every victim of violence, whether on our system or elsewhere in our community. We are committed to the safety of our riders and employees. That is why we strongly support the efforts of state and regional leaders to address the societal issues affecting the livability of our region, including crime, drug use and addiction, houselessness and mental illness, which will, at times, extend onto our system. TriMet also has made important investments in safety and security. We have more than doubled the number of TriMet safety, security and customer service personnel dedicated to our transit system since 2022, and we’re continuing to add more. We have added a Safety Response Team to help those on and around our transit system connect with social services. We work closely with Transit Police and our law enforcement partners. And, while we always urge people to contact 911 or their TriMet operator for urgent or emergency issues, we expanded options for riders to report non-urgent security concerns directly to TriMet’s Security support team 24 hours a day. Riders can text or call 503-238-7433 (RIDE), or go through a security button on the homepage, to report those issues. We detail more of our safety and security efforts at

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