Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I wanted to let you know what my office is doing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When I ran for office, I promised Multnomah County residents that I would prioritize audits of services affecting vulnerable populations. To that end, my office has been in the process of auditing how people obtain houseless and homeless services, as well as county jail conditions. My staff and I recognize that these programs face unique challenges right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And we are grateful to Multnomah County employees for all they are doing to serve county communities. 

Given the pandemic, on March 17 I put on hold our audit of housing and homeless services. We want county programs to be able to focus fully on serving community members without having to also respond to our requests. The team for that audit is preparing a brief report on what they learned during their preliminary work. We will continue our audit of jail conditions, but will focus on data analysis and other activities that will minimize disruptions for jail operations staff. 

Our follow-up audit report on Animal Services finances is near completion, as is our Good Government Hotline Annual Report. We will also continue our work on the financial condition report, as that should not be disruptive to essential employees’ work.

Because of COVID-19, my office will underspend its training budget due to cancelled training conferences. (We had planned a number of training trips to help us stay in compliance with County Charter requirements.) I’ve committed to underspend our current budget by $10,000 for fiscal year 2020 in order to make those funds available to the county to support efforts related to COVID-19, so that other programs that may need to rely on General Funds will have these funds. 

My office has offered our research, analytical, and accounting skills to county management. Several of my staff and I are on substitution lists for volunteering at county emergency shelters. One of my staff has a background in community behavioral health and is volunteering for the county’s emergency shelter at the Jupiter Hotel

Below are helpful links for our community:

  • If you would like information on how to stay healthy, slow the spread of coronavirus, or how to report any issues, please visit https://multco.us/novel-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Unfortunately, some communities have experienced acts of racism and xenophobia because of the myths surrounding COVID-19; this county site has information about how to report discrimination and find support. 

  • If you are at work and your employer does not seem to be following public health directives, you can report that to Oregon’s Occupational Safety and Health Division.

  • This page contains resources to support our communities as we experience the COVID-19 pandemic and get through this together.

 

Best,

Jennifer