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Elderly Multnomah County residents often come to Ascension Catholic Church for mass and a hot, delicious lunch. Today, they also received a presentation about senior financial abuse.
According to the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, persons older than 50 control more than 70 percent of the nation’s wealth. And sadly, many older people are a prime target for financial scamsters because they struggle with disabilities, don’t know the value of their assets or aren’t as familiar with technology.
In 2012, Multnomah County Adult Protective Services investigated 562 cases of financial abuse.
As a champion for older men and women, Commissioner Smith is passionate about protecting them from the many elaborate scams and frauds that far too often rob them of their savings. She started hosting town halls on senior financial abuse this past spring to inform people about warning signs and how to connect with resources.
“The goal of these town hall meetings is to provide a space for seniors in the community to express their ideas and concerns,” Smith explained to a room of community elders. Several people spoke up about scammers who call them frequently.
One attendee shared her story about a call from somebody she believed to be her grandson. He claimed to be in a Mexican jail and needed funds to be released. Frantic, she asked her husband to go to the bank and withdraw the requested amount. A curious teller prodded for more details during the transaction and warned him that the request was actually a scam.
The woman later discovered it was indeed a scam.
To help answer questions about where to receive services or support, Commissioner Smith was joined by Portland Police Bureau Sergeant Tim Musgrave, Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Amanda Nadell, Adult Protective Services Investigator Holly Freewynn and Adult Protective Services Manager Wendy Hillman.
By the end of the event, older residents knew they could contact the Aging and Disability Resource Connection hotline at 503-988-3646 for information about services to address financial abuse and a variety of other resources for older adults and people with disabilities.
For more information about senior financial abuse, visit:
Multnomah County’s Board of Commissioners on Thursday declared August 2013 as National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in Multnomah County as a part of aproclamation sponsored by Commissioner Loretta Smith.
Community members and partners came together during the Aug. 15 board meeting to recognize the importance of breastfeeding to the health and wellness of mothers and their children.
Brittany Vuylsteke told the board that the birth of her son almost two years ago prompted her to experience many of the challenges mothers face when breastfeeding their children.
“We had a really rough start,” Vuylsteke said. “However, I received support through those challenges and it helped us to succeed in our breastfeeding, which I know will help him have the best possible start in life."
For mothers like Vuylsteke, the collective impact coordinator for the Breastfeeding Coalition of Oregon, breastfeeding has made all of the difference.
National Breastfeeding Awareness Month promotes research on the benefits of breastfeeding, which can reduce babies’ risk of diseases like asthma, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Breastfeeding also can help mothers fight postpartum depression, and lower their chances of ovarian cancer, and even breast cancer.
Presenters along with Vuylsteke included Louisa Kaplan, public health nurse for Nurse-Family Partnership; Harmony Paul, temporary office assistant with mental health and addiction services of Future Generations Collaborative; Shafia Monroe, president and CEO of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing; Shanta Johnson, breastfeeding counselor, doula and community health worker for Multnomah County Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC); and Denise Johnson, health education coordinator with CareOregon -- many of whom are or have previously been breastfeeding mothers.
Commissioner Smith praised all the presenters efforts to help mothers and their children.
"Every mother deserves information, guidance and support on this decision from her family, and her friends, the community where she lives, the health professionals she relies on and her employer,” Smith said.
“I am proud to say that Multnomah County has heeded this call,” Smith said, noting that breastfeeding initiation rates are some of the nation’s highest with 95.9 percent of all recent mothers initiating breastfeeding after the birth of their babies.
For breastfeeding information and resources near you, visit the Multnomah County Women Infants and Children Program website.
Commissioner Loretta Smith sponsored the Civil Rights Week proclamationapproved unanimously by the board at its Aug. 22 meeting. The board’s unanimous approval followed moving testimony from community leaders about the historic 1963 gathering in which 250,000 people on the National Mall heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, inspiring the country and moving national leaders to act for equality among all races.
“Jobs, education, equality and justice is demanded for all and we are here -- as the late Dr. King said, to cash a check that has been returned and stamped insufficient funds, a check today that still has not been completely honored as paid,” said Dr. T. Allen Bethel, pastor at Maranatha Church, co-chair of the March on Washington Committee and co- chair of the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice & Police Reform Steering Committee.
Commissioner Smith shared those feelings about the ongoing importlance of Dr. King’s dream of equality. “I wouldn’t be sitting here if I wasn’t standing on the shoulders of giants,” she said, “This is very personal to me. I want to be a voice for this community. I want to be someone people can be proud of. I work hard at that every single day. This is why I do what I do today.”
She added that despite tremendous civil rights gains in the last 50 years, “there is still more work to do.”
Today, African-Americans suffer from huge disparities in health, equality and education. One in four African-American males has encountered law enforcement in America. African-Americans are the racial and ethnic group most affected by HIV in the United States, according to the office of Minority Health, African-American women have the highest rates of obesity in the United States, and the American Diabetes Association reports that 4.9 million African-Americans age 20 or older have diabetes. Other speakers sharing their historical and personal perspectives about the March on Washington included Dr. Rev. Leroy Haynes, pastor at Allen Temple Church, co-chair, March on Washington Committee, and co-chair, Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice & Police Reform Steering Committee; Audrey Terrell, president, NAACP Portland Branch; Jeana Frazzini, executive director, Basic Rights Oregon; pastor W.J. Mark Knutson, Augustana Lutheran Church; and Jo Ann Hardesty, member of Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice & Police Reform Steering Committee, Portland Campaign to End the New Jim Crow.
This Saturday, August 24, residents of Portland and surrounding areas will come together 10 a.m. at Chapman Square in downtown Portland in a march to Waterfront Park to celebrate the anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington. Commissioner Smith and many others will present at the event this weekend.
For more information about the Aug. 24 event:http://ulpdx.org/news/march-to-commemorate-the-50th-anniversary-of-the-historic-march-on-washington/
Join Commissioner Loretta Smith to kick off Civil Rights Week and honor the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington with a proclamation for Civil Rights Week
Date: August 22, 2013
Time: 9:30 a.m.
Location: The Board Room at the Multnomah Building 501 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, Oregon
Refreshments will be served at the presentation.
SAVE THE DATE:
Please join U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith for a Health Care Town Hall!
Date: Monday, August 19, 2013
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (refreshments provided)
Location: Self Enhancement Inc. 3920 N. Kerby Avenue Portland, OR 97227
Representatives of Cover Oregon will be available to answer questions about enrollment in the new health care exchange.
To RSVP, call Commissioner Smith: 503-988-5219