Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This week marked the Winter Solstice - the day with the shortest amount of daylight and the longest night. To me, this solstice was emblematic of 2020: a year that has felt like one long, dark night. I have found that cultivating gratitude is an excellent way to cast a proverbial light in the darkness. No matter what you celebrate this holiday season, if you celebrate anything, please know that I am grateful to be a part of the Multnomah County community.

I am also grateful to everyone in my office who have been working hard to audit the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For me and my staff, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that we had to adapt how we fulfill our accountability function for you. I believe that during unprecedented circumstances, we have been able to support government accountability while not impeding the county’s critical work to serve vulnerable communities. I look forward to providing our assessment to you next month. 

Read on to learn more about the 2021 redistricting process, how you can participate in local government by serving on the Charter Review Committee, and how to support winter warming shelters.

Best,

Jennifer


Redistricting 2021

Redistricting is the process of redrawing established County Commissioner district boundaries to account for changes in population following the U.S. Census, which occurs every ten years. County Charter requires the Auditor to prepare a plan to modify the district boundaries after the census if the population of any Commissioner district exceeds 103% of any other Commissioner district. 

On December 3rd, I spoke at the East County Issue Forum to explain the process of redistricting. You can watch my remarks here or read more about redistricting here.


Apply to Serve on the Charter Review Committee

Every six years, a Charter Review Committee convenes for the purpose of making a comprehensive study of the Multnomah County Home Rule Charter and, if the committee chooses, submitting to the people of Multnomah County amendments to the charter.

The charter is the local version of a constitution, essentially creating the structure of Multnomah County government. The charter addresses issues including the powers of county government, the responsibilities of the County Chair and commissioners, and the elections of county leaders.Past Charter Review Committees have proposed amendments on issues such as term limits of county commissioners, handling vacancies on the Board of County Commissioners, and salaries of elected officials. Serving on the Charter Review Committee is a powerful way to participate in local government.

If you’re interested in applying or would like to learn more, you can do so here.To be clear, my office does not manage the application process; this is done by the Office of Community Involvement. They will begin accepting applications on January 1, 2021, and applications are due Monday, March 1st by 11:59pm.

If you have questions, you can contact the Office of Community Involvement at community.involvement@multco.us or 503.988.3450.


Winter Warming Shelters

During severe weather events, Multnomah County opens up warming shelters. This year there will be 275 additional warming shelter beds, and shelters will be open 24 hours -- a first in Multnomah County.

Are you interested in supporting community members in need by helping out? You can volunteer at a shelter (training is provided) and/or donating warm clothes and toiletries. Learn more here


Helpful COVID-19 Links