Dear friends and neighbors,

There is never really a quiet time for my office. Every day, my staff and I are presented with new and complex issues to tackle as we work towards our long term vision for the County. But if there is a time of year where the work becomes particularly compressed, then this is definitely it.

Three weeks ago, I delivered the annual State of the County address, where I outlined my policy priorities for the coming year. Then last week, after many months of work with our budget team, I released my proposed budget to fund those policies.

If you know me, you won't be surprised by the values driving my decisions, but you may be interested to learn exactly how we plan to advance the mission of Multnomah County, including program and funding details.

Below, you'll be able to click on some links that will take you to those documents. As you explore the various County programs and policies, I hope that you'll recognize that these are not easy decisions, especially in times of scarce resources. They are decisions guided by my highest priorities: serving our most vulnerable communities and the communities long-overlooked by government.

It is a privilege to serve as your Multnomah County Chair, and I am excited for the work ahead.

Sincerely,

Deborah Kafoury

Mental health, family stability, worker rights top priorities in 2019 State of the County address

In her fifth State of the County address, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury announced the launch of the region’s first mental health resource center downtown, a re-envisioning of the family shelter system, and a commitment to fair pay and diversity on public construction projects.

“What the County does every day is face the most complex and confounding problems of our time, the issues that chew people up, leave people behind and have no easy solution,” Kafoury said Friday in her annual address. But, “we’re using our values, our lived experience and our tireless dedication to do what’s right.”

Kafoury outlined how the County has updated its infrastructure and modernized its systems. She also detailed the County’s work to improve public health and the commitments it has kept to lift up equity and opportunity. [Read her prepared remarks here]

She spoke at the City Club of Portland’s Friday Forum before a crowded ballroom that included County employees and community partners, advocates and elected officials.

Read more here.

Multnomah County Chair Kafoury releases 2020 Budget

Chair Deborah Kafoury recently presented her 2020 Budget to the Board of County Commissioners revealing her head-on strategy in the face of a growing structural deficit and revenue uncertainty.

The $2 billion annual budget makes calculated investments in mental health, public safety and equity, while maintaining the County’s commitment to homeless services, jail beds and SUN schools.

Read more here.

Elected leaders call for public conversation, more services to break the silence on suicide

Angela Perry, center, shares why finding her voice is part of her recovery.

Federal and local officials have joined with advocates and the media to raise awareness about Oregon’s startling suicide rates and the need for broad and accessible services to help those at risk.

“For much of my life, the answer has been not to talk about suicide, but that silence hasn’t worked,” Sen. Jeff Merkely, D-Ore., said Friday at the Multnomah County Health Department Headquarters, where people gathered to rally for awareness.

Read more here.

Multnomah County Elections assists voters with disabilities or voters who need help in their preferred language

Elections Voter Assistance Teams can help a voter in their home, at the facility they live in, or at an elections service location in SE Portland or Gresham.

Voters with disabilities can request help with voting from a friend, family member or someone else they know. If needed, voters can also call and request voting and elections-related help from Multnomah County Elections. Elections Voter Assistance Teams can help a voter in their home, at the facility they live in, or at an elections service location in SE Portland or Gresham.

This help is always free of charge.

Legally, employers or union representatives cannot provide assistance. Voters with limited English proficiency can also request assistance. Multnomah County Elections has staff who speak many languages. The Elections Division also can provide an interpreter, free of charge to anyone who needs help in voting or elections processes in a language other than English.

Read more here.

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