Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The start of the school year is a time of transition. The weather begins to change and children and their parents have to adjust to new routines. For my family, this year marks the first time my three children are in three different schools - elementary, middle and high school. Whew!

For children starting Kindergarten, September marks a major milestone in their life.

Making sure that kids are ready to learn on the first day of school helps both with the transition and increases their academic performance. That is why Multnomah County along with school districts and early learning partners started the Early Kindergarten Transition program.

Through our SUN Community schools, we offer up to three weeks of summer classroom time for kids and help for parents ahead of the school year so their kids start the year confident and prepared.

This year Multnomah County invested an additional $85,000 to expand our early kindergarten transition program to nine new SUN schools, with 41 sites throughout the county participating.

As part of this year's program, Multnomah County library staff visited each site to encourage parents to read with their children and to connect them with library resources. The children's Book Bank collected and distributed 4,500 books, so that each child participating in early Kindergarten transition could keep at least five books and build their own library at home.

Although my daughter is long past needing me to read to her, we still look forward to our nightly bedtime reading ritual. I can only hope that I'm helping spark the joy of reading that will last a lifetime.


Deborah Kafoury 

Annual Stand Down honors veterans, offers service

Chris Warner came for a haircut. Anthony Goodson wants to learn a new trade. Loren Dalbert is looking to update his resume. And each of them needs a place to live.

They joined hundreds of other veterans today for the eighth-annual Veterans Stand Down - a day-long event that pairs servicemen and women with local services and a chance to meet potential employers.

"You served in wartime. You served in peacetime. And it's our turn now to serve you," Chair Kafoury said to a growing crowd of veterans at Portland's Memorial Coliseum. "So we're hitting the streets to find apartments."

The Stand Down launches an effort to register any veteran in need of housing.

As veterans filled the room, volunteers served Starbucks coffee and croissants. Banfield Animal Hospital staff trimmed the nails and cleaned the ears of veterans' service dogs. Multnomah County Librarian Kate Schwab signed visitors up for new library cards and talked about computer classes and job searching help.

During the next week volunteers will go to day shelters and free meal sites to find qualifying men and women who haven't yet been included in a registry of homeless veterans. A team will then work to find stable housing for the people on that registry.

Meanwhile, county and city officials are offering incentives to encourage more property managers and homeowners to rent to veterans.

"No one should sleep on the street...But we do not have enough places for veterans to call home," pleaded Kafoury.

"We need the public's help. If you know a landlord with an available apartment, please let us know about it."

If you are a landlord or property manager in the Multnomah County/Portland region, join our community-wide effort to house all veterans.

County, city and partners gather for 100 day kick-off to end Veterans homelessness

Multnomah County, the City of Portland and the many partners involved in the "A Home for Every Veteran" initiative announced a final push to end Veteran homelessness in Portland and Multnomah County.

Tremendous progress is being made housing an estimated 690 local homeless Veterans but local leaders reiterated the need for more private rental units to fulfill the promise.

"We have the resources and capacity to end Veteran homelessness. Already this year we've housed 430 vets," said Chair Kafoury.

"What we don't have is apartments. Over the last year demand for rental housing has skyrocketed in the Portland Region. Only 2.4 percent of rental units are vacant. And this shortage is driving up costs.

Despite the challenges many local landlords and property management companies have answered the call to give a homeless Veteran a first shot at a vacant unit.

A Home for Every Veteran aims to house the remaining 260 homeless Veterans by the end of this year. Achieving the goal means there are no Veterans sleeping on the streets and that every Veteran who becomes homeless will have access to permanent housing by the end of December 2015.

"With your help we can reach our goal by the end of this year," said Chair Kafoury. "And when we do, we can apply the lessons we've learned in housing Veterans to housing families and children."

Invitation to the 2015 Aging Well Conference

2015 Aging Well Conference Flyer

I'd like to personally invite you to attend the 2015 Aging Well Conference on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 in Portland. I'm so proud that last month, Multnomah County became the first county in Oregon to be named an Age Friendly Community by the World Health Organization and AARP Networks for Age-Friendly Communities.

Now neighbors, families and elders can attend a free- and fascinating- conference on how older adults can thrive in our area. You can hear how volunteering can actually help your brain stay healthy; how to make your home a safe place to age, and sound financial advice.

The conference is free, breakfast will be provided, and attendees will be invited to conclude the day with a walk across the Tilikum Crossing Bridge. I sincerely hope you will attend and help us spread the word.

2015 Aging Well Conference

Saturday, October 3, 2015


OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences Building, 2730 S.W. Moody Avenue, at the foot of Tilikum Crossing



Multnomah County honors minority entrepreneurs, celebrates Minority Enterprise Development Week

County Purchasing's Lee Fleming talks to the board about Minority Enterprise Development Week at Thursday's board meeting.

Multnomah County is honoring minority-owned businesses after the Board of Commissioners proclaimed Sept. 28 through Oct. 2 as Minority Enterprise Development Week.

The Business Diversity Institute is also celebrating Minority Enterprise Development Week by inviting entrepreneurs to attend a series of events beginning Tuesday, Sept. 29 with an evening reception, followed by a series of workshops and an awards luncheon.

The county's purchasing team will be on hand to talk about contracting with the county and opportunities to bid for jobs on the $250 million Central Courthouse project.

Business owners interested in finding out more about subcontracting on the courthouse project can visit with project managers, designers and construction managers Oct. 9 during an information session for minority entrepreneurs.

"I am really excited about the central courthouse project and the amount of outreach we are doing," Chair Kafoury said during the Sept. 10 proclamation presentation. "Having a diverse workforce is not only good for the industry, to have new voices and creative ideas but we know how important it is to our economy for people in our community to have jobs that are living wage jobs."

Read the full article here.

Central Courthouse Project: Contractor meet-and-greet

When: Friday, Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon

Who: Minority entrepreneurs and representatives of SRG Partnership and Hoffman Construction

Where: Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs Center, 731 N. Hayden Dr., Portland

For more information: Contact Lee Fleming at 503-988-7540 or

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