Dear Friends and neighbors,

I hope you are enjoying our beautiful Oregon summer.

The Oregon Legislature adjourned last week after passing nearly all of Multnomah County's top priorities, including legislation that will make our community more secure, our kids healthier and our seniors more stable.

One of our biggest victories this session was passing legislation that will keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of kids.

In April, Multnomah County was the first jurisdiction in Oregon to ban the sale of e-cigarettes and vape pens to kids. Thanks to the tenacity and hard work of Representative Kathleen Taylor and Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward our ordinance is now a statewide policy.

The county also played a lead role in making it easier for seniors to stay in their own homes. Previous legislatures made changes to Oregon's senior property tax deferral program which forced many seniors out of the program. Our bill, which passed unanimously, allows low-income seniors to stay in their homes, aging with dignity.

Working to ensure that everyone has a stable home is my top priority, so I'm excited that the legislature dedicated $62.5 million for affordable housing statewide, with $20 million set aside for housing specifically for people with mental illness.

The legislature also invested $28 million for mental health services, including jail diversion, crisis services and rental assistance for those with severe mental illness.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge and thank the legislature for their continued partnership in building a new, safe central courthouse in Multnomah County. With the strong support of Speaker Tina Kotek and Representative Jennifer Williamson, the legislature approved an additional $17.4 million for the project.

Together these new investments and reforms will make our county safer, protect our kids from e-cigarettes and ensure more people have a stable home to call their own.


Deborah Kafoury

Chair Kafoury in the news…

County works to house all homeless vets by 2016 by Katherine Cook | KGW

Straight Talk with Laural Porter | KGW

Your Voice Your Vote with Steve Dunn | KATU

Painting for peace

Members of the Lents neighborhood joined with Multnomah County's STRYVE program (Striving to Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere) to create a street mural at the intersection of S.E. 86th and Glenwood Avenue.

Chair Kafoury dedicated a peace pole in the front yard of Lents resident and civic activist Kate Mytron's 105-year-old home. It read "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in eight different languages, epitomizing the message behind the event.

"Unless we come together, everybody lives in isolation. Events like this bring together people across so many different communities," says Rebecca Stavenjord, former STRYVE coordinator and current community liaison in the county's Office of Government Relations. "These relationships start with getting together and putting some paint on the street."

Read full story here.

Multnomah County, City of Portland approve Climate Action Plan update

Amid an unusually early summer heat wave, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners approved a City of Portland/Multnomah County update of the 2015 Climate Action Plan.

First adopted in 2009, the plan is updated every five years to review practices, data and goals and remain accurate and current. At its core, the action plan asks Multnomah County and the City of Portland to commit to lowering carbon emissions and maintaining more efficient infrastructure. The plan also calls for the governments to be conscious of how the changes impact human rights, keeping economic status, race and age in mind as they achieve their goals.

Mayor Charlie Hales appeared before the Board of Multnomah County Commissioners when the plan was considered on Thursday, June 25.

"What we commit here will be watched not only by our own citizens who are passionately concerned about these issues, but watched by the world and that's a little bit of a scary opportunity, but it's also an opportunity to make a difference," the mayor said.

Read full story here.

Meet my new staff

Anna Allen
Anna Allen

Anna Allen

Community Engagement Advisor

Anna grew up in many different parts of Washington before finally making Oregon her home. She is the middle child with two brothers born into the Shoshone-Bannock tribe. Utilizing her connection to the Native American community, Anna became a Youth Advocate for the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA).

While at the county, Anna plans to use her established relationships and experiences to shape authentic community engagement opportunities and build new relationships with Multnomah County's many vibrant and diverse communities.

Christian Gaston
Christian Gaston

Christian Gaston

Policy and Research Director

Christian Gaston is a native Oregonian. He was born in north Portland, but has lived in a handful of areas within the Portland-metro area. He graduated from Sandy High School and attended Portland State University to study English.

Currently, Christian is the policy and research director for Chair Kafoury's staff. His job entails gathering information on systems and policies and suggesting improvements based on the evidence.

Read Christian's full bio here.

Kimberly Melton
Kimberly Melton

Kimberly Melton

Policy Advisor

Kim Melton first came to the West Coast when she was 18-years-old. She had just graduated from Rosati-Kain High School in St. Louis Mo. and was about to embark on her next adventure: Stanford University.

In her role as policy advisor for Chair Kafoury's office, Kim focuses largely on issues concerning children and equity. More specifically, she is involved with efforts including Early Learning Multnomah, the Portland Children's Levy, and the SUN Service System.

Read Kim's full bio here.

Be a part of the solution to end homelessness in Multnomah County

A Home for Everyone Coordinating Board is looking for new members who are interested in helping reduce homelessness in Multnomah County.

The Coordinating Board of A Home for Everyone was chartered by Multnomah County, the City of Portland, The City of Gresham, and Home Forward. Its members are appointed for two year terms by the Executive Committee of the Board to oversee and advise the Executive Committee on the ongoing implementation of our community's strategic plan to end homelessness.

If you are interested, please submit the completed interest form included below to Carrie Young, no later than 5 p.m. Monday, August 3rd, 2015. For questions, please email Marc Jolin,, or call 503-789-1953.

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