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Think Out Loud

Food Access

Pete Springer/OPB

In his last State of the City address, Portland Mayor Sam Adams mentioned that about 40 percent of the city’s residents live a mile or more from a grocery store. He wants to “make grocery stores financially feasible in underserved areas,” and mentioned a city initiative to bring more grocery stores to those areas. Adams said that access to food is part of what makes a neighborhood healthy and connected.

Multnomah County has been working with the city on this issue for years now as part of the Food Policy Council. The Council’s first governing principle is:

Every City and County resident has the right to an adequate supply of nutritious, affordable and culturally appropriate food

Of course, access to fresh and nutritous food is not simply an urban concern. Large distances and low population density in rural areas create their own challenges.

Do you live in a so-called “food desert” in Portland or another urban area? Do you live in rural Oregon? How far do you have to go to shop for food? How does this affect your daily life?

What role — if any — should local or county governments take to change or improve our access to food?


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