There are too many unmet needs for sure, but if we do not preserve a functioning legal aid system, there will be nothing there. Like many other attorneys, I do a lot more pro bono work than I should reasonably do, mainly because it pains me to see people unable to get any help just because they are unable to afford a lawyer. But as a society, we cannot expect attorneys in private practice to meet the needs of the poor any more than we expect doctors and dentists to meet all the health care needs of the poor with pro bono work. If I don't limit my pro bono work, I won't be able to be in practice much longer.
Oregon desperately needs a solid, stable, and AMPLE funding stream for civil legal representation, one that doesn't tank when interest rates fluctuate (the way the interest-on-lawyer-trust-accounts revenue stream has) or impose punitive filing fees on people unlucky enough to have a case arise when the state is slashing funding for legal services.
We need to recognize legal aid as a kind of community public health resource, like a free vaccination clinic -- because when we ignore the legal needs of the poor, they don't just magically disappear, they get worse and become far more difficult and expensive to deal with. When society doesn't fund vaccines for the poor, it's not just the poor who suffer. Same with civil law. Sure we can shave a few bucks off the legal aid budget every year after year after year -- but then we wonder why we, to take just one example, have to spend so much more to try to educate kids who change schools five and six times in two years (because the parent's inability to defend themselves against an abusive debt collector caused wage garnishment and loss of housing, leading to a vicious downward spiral of unemployment and underemployment, which causes housing and food insecurity, which raises the likelihood of student failure, dropping out, and other social maladaptations).
The bottom line: Even if you think that you or anyone you love will never need good legal services through a publicly funded legal aid system, you are better off with an amply funded legal aid system, because your community will be far better off, and you will spend far less in taxes and social services.
Please, tell your elected representatives that you support full funding for legal aid programs in your community.