September 15, 2014

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As we head into fall, the back-to-school season is in full swing. My oldest son, Alex begins his first year of high school and I think I'm more anxious about it than he is. Nevertheless, the changing of the seasons brings about new opportunities and challenges for a high school freshman and the Multnomah County Chair alike.

I'm happy to report that we've got quite a few exciting things happening here at Multnomah County. Ten new SUN schools have opened their doors this fall, raising the total number to eighty. That's the most the county has ever seen. From providing after school programming, to helping feed hungry kids and their families (and even summer camps), SUN Schools work to give our kids the tools they need to be successful.

To learn even more about what's happening around the county, I encourage you to read on.


Deborah Kafoury


Finding 'A Home for Everyone'

A Home for Everyone Logo

As part of our ongoing efforts to end homelessness, the Multnomah County Housing Team has been meeting to coordinate services that move people into housing and provide support to keep them housed. These programs will be aligned with the community's "A Home for Everyone" plan.

The next "A Home for Everyone" Executive Committee meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 30 and will include participation from Bill Block, Housing and Urban Development regional administrator; Eileen Devine, homeless coordinator for the Veteran's Administration; and Katy Miller, regional coordinator from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

We've also launched our "Housing and Homelessness" webpage to help the public track our progress as we undertake a shared governance of homeless programs in the county. The website provides pertinent news, along with essential resources for those in need of housing. The new page is a result of Chair Kafoury's efforts to alleviate homelessness in our region.

This useful tool lists contact information for many critical services, including assistance lines for homeless families, homeless youth and domestic violence survivors.

Chair Kafoury supports school supply giveaway

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury visited Rosemary Anderson High School's East County campus on Aug. 27 to support the "We Got Your Back!" campaign.

Hundreds of families and children showed up at the event which was organized by the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center (POIC) and the high school. Students and their families received backpacks filled with school supplies. Office Depot/Office Max and The Boeing Company, along with others, donated enough backpacks and supplies to help 1,500 children from all grades.

Rosemary Anderson High School/POIC "knows what struggling families need," Chair Kafoury said. "Parents right now are worried that their kids won't have the necessary school supplies to start the year off on the right foot. POIC's event will improve children's readiness to learn which gives a big boost to our community." Read more

Chair Kafoury connecting with our communities

(Left) Chair Kafoury at the 13th Annual Asian Community Health Fair. (Right) The Hands of Wonder Garden makes a visit to the Multnomah Building.

The Multnomah County Health Department and the Multnomah County Library joined more than 35 health providers at the Asian Health and Services Center's 13th Annual Asian Community Health Fair. Free services provided included flu shots and cholesterol screenings. Staff were on-hand to provide information about navigating the healthcare system and disease prevention. For more information about Asian Health and Services and to learn about future events visit the AHSC website.

The Courtyard Cafe Culinary Arts Youth Program and Hands of Wonder Garden Program have created a partnership that emphasizes the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice's commitment to restorative justice practices.

Young people who participate in the program learn important skill-sets that carry into the culinary world. Youth not only learn where food comes from but are actively involved in designing, planting, growing, maintaining, harvesting, selling, and creating healthy meals from the organic produce.


Multnomah County gears up for the Bike Commute Challenge

Chair Kafoury put the rubber to the road this month, supporting Multnomah County employees in the 2014 Bike Commute Challenge. This annual, community-wide competition by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) pits workplace against workplace to see which can attain the highest level of bike commuting during the month of September. The Bike Commute Challenge is a great way to make friends, explore your surroundings and squeeze in some extra exercise -- all while getting yourself to and from work.


The Multnomah County Library is turning 150

In honor of its 150th anniversary, Multnomah County Library will host a free outdoor community celebration at the Central Library on Saturday, Sept. 27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature music, dance, tours and library programs for people of all ages.

Inside the library, the day's proceedings kick off early. Enjoy Symphony Storytime with the Oregon Symphony at 10:15 a.m., and Central Library and eco-roof tours beginning at 10:30 a.m. Hands-on activities for kids begin at 11 a.m., and storytimes in English, Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese and Chinese begin at 11:30 a.m. A Cafe Banned conversation about censorship takes place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tour the John Wilson Collections throughout the day.

Outside, SW Taylor Street is closed for our block party. The LoveBomb Go-Go Marching Band will get the fun started, followed by brief remarks from Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke, and poet/author Matthew Dickman. As the day unfolds, the outdoor stage will feature performances from Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Opera, Bollywood Dreams Entertainment, Aaron Nigel Smith and the Bobby Torres Ensemble.


Brush up on your knowledge of the past with the Oregon Historical Society

Beginning this month, the Oregon Encyclopedia will host a nine-month series, Oregon History 101, designed to give Oregonians a basic understanding of the state's significant people, places and events. The series will emphasize Oregon's connection to historical themes in American history, including Native history, early exploration, western expansion, race, gender, social justice, and the post-industrial economy. All these community outreach programs are free and open to the public, and many are recorded and made available on the internet. Visit this link for a full Oregon History 101 schedule.

Looking to get involved at Multnomah County?

Do you have some free time? Do you want to learn more about the good work at Multnomah County? Volunteer!

Multnomah County residents can get involved by serving on policy advisory boards and commissions such as the Citizen Budget Advisory Committees (CBACs). There are also volunteer programs seeking volunteers to provide services to the Library, Sheriff's Office and Animal Services. Between 2013 and 2014, volunteers provided services to the county valued at $3,335,760.

Click on this link to fill out your volunteer application and learn about current opportunities.


Oregon Tradeswomen presents...

“My Walk Has Never Been Average" is a multi-media presentation based on the lives of women whose stories are never told.

Adapted for the stage from in-depth, first-person interviews with 15 black women in trades, labor, and crafts, these stories reveal great inner strength and accomplishment in the face of the multiple oppressions facing black working class women in America.

These are stories of families and communities, of fighting for survival and achieving success, and of relationship dynamics when women move into nontraditional roles.

"My Walk Has Never Been Average" is presented as part of Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.'s annual Tradeswomen Leadership Institute. For more information, please visit or call 503-335-8299 x 21.

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