July 2019

Dear friends and neighbors,

Just like every city and county across the nation, Multnomah County is a community defined by people of various backgrounds, identities and histories. That should always be cause for celebration. 

Each person and each family brings their own unique story, and they are all a testament to the pain and heartache of leaving a home, or having your home taken from you. But woven through every single one of those stories is the lasting impact of hope and resilience passed on to future generations.

This is the America that I’ll be celebrating with my family on July 4th, because it is the America I see in my community, and it is the America I want my children to believe in.

For those of us whose relatives came to this country seeking a better life, we have a duty to honor their journeys by showing compassion to those who now seek the same opportunity or refuge.

My own great-grandfather immigrated from the Middle East at the turn of the 20th century. He settled in rural Idaho, started his own small business, and was eventually elected mayor. His story and belief that one determined person can make a difference was handed down to me and now to my own children.

But for some Americans, it is difficult to connect their own family's experiences with the ones we see at the southern border every day. 

It shouldn’t be that hard. 

Because when you take pride in the courage of your great-grandparents, you should also be able to recognize that same courage in the families who are currently seeking refuge. 

I am proud that Multnomah County is a Welcoming County, and I am proud that we embrace our immigrant and refugee communities. A diversity of cultures means a variety of perspectives and that can only be good for us all. More voices challenge outdated views and help us reaffirm our commitment to a more just community. But that can only happen if we welcome those voices with our arms open wide.

We owe it to those who came before us, and to those who come to us now. 

Happy Fourth of July.

Deborah Kafoury

County and Gresham leaders break ground on “Rockwood Rising”

Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann joined community members Thursday in celebrating the Supreme Court ruling to stop the Trump Administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census; a move federal oversight agencies estimate would deter participation for communities of color. 

Commissioner Lori Stegmann was joined by Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and reps from Unite Oregon, Latino Network, the Coalition of Communities of Color and more. 

“Let me be clear,” said Stegmann. “If the Trump administration thinks that the country is not watching, they are sorely mistaken.

Read more here.

Commissioner Stegmann, partners stress importance of participation in 2020 Census as U.S. Supreme Court blocks citizen question

Commissioner Lori Stegmann was joined by Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and reps from Unite Oregon, Latino Network, the Coalition of Communities of Color and more.

In just 13 months, an empty 5.5 acre lot in Rockwood ⁠ will transform into a bustling center featuring more than 100 housing units, a market hall, a public plaza, and an “Innovation Hub” offering job hunting assistance, technical training, and space for small business owners.

On June 12, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Commissioner Lori Stegmann joined the Gresham City Council and Roy Kim of RKm Development for the groundbreaking of the $70-million development, known as “Rockwood Rising.” 

Read more here 

With over a decade of success, SummerWorks strengthens region’s workforce

As SummerWorks enters its tenth year of placing Portland-area young adults in summer jobs and internships, a recent study conducted by EcoNW shows that program participants achieve greater academic and workforce success. 

Launched in 2009 in response to the youth unemployment crisis caused by the Great Recession, SummerWorks has placed over 7,000 young people, ages 16 to 24, in summer jobs.

Read more here.

Subscribe to Chair Kafoury's newsletter