Breathe deeply, neighbor, and smell that fresh air. No doubt that is a key contributor to a recent declaration of Clackamas County as one of the healthiest counties in Oregon, second only to neighboring Washington County.
This is a measurement of the population, not any other measure such as financially healthy, spiritually healthy or industrially/commercially healthy. Air quality, no doubt, is part of it. But the sociological and physical issues are only part of it, according to a recent study by the non-profit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Another reason may be that 90 percent of us in Clackamas County are covered by health insurance, thank you to the Oregon Health Plan. This might be one reason we have one of the lowest premature death rates in the country.
A quick glance at the map in the OPB report shows the rural counties, especially those most rural and most once-timber dependent, the ones with the least income per capita, are also the unhealthiest. Klamath County is at the bottom.
In terms of preventative care, while we still score well, there are clear areas for improvement. For example: 21 per cent of us engage in excessive drinking and 34 per cent of all driving fatalities are alcohol related. Too, 40 per cent of women over age 65 are not getting a mammogram at least once every two years,
Back to the fresh air. Oops, our air pollution exposure from particulate matter is more than 30 per cent above the state average. This could be caused in part by the fact that 77 percent of us drive alone when commuting to work. An additional 30 per cent or so not only drive alone but commute for more than 30 minutes.
Violent crime in the county continues to trend down and has since 2004, although you won’t know it if you regularly watch Fox networks or believe Attorney General Jeff Beauregard Sessions’ gross misstatement that sanctuary cities have more crime. Downright false.
While we graduate 79 percent from high school, the best national high performer graduates 95 percent of students, so we have considerable room for improvement.
Not mentioned are things like the recently opened Clackamas Women’s Services or the changes in handling drug offenders as people who are ill rather than just throwing them behind bars and forgetting.
And, while we are the third largest county in the state, the growth, success and activity of our county’s Democratic Party is unmatched as we remain committed to enhancing the health, education, and quality of life for all Clackamas County residents.