Dear friends & neighbors,
It’s rare that local elections provide perfect clarity around the direction the citizenry wants leaders to go. But I feel like this month’s election did just that.
On the ballot were issues dealing with housing, clean energy, reproductive rights, and immigration. There were candidates appealing to our better instincts and others trying to divide, mislead, and tear institutions down for their own gain.
In each case, the core values of Multnomah County voters shined through: we are willing to reach into our own pockets to help provide additional affordable housing for those in our community; we recognize climate change as a fundamental threat to humanity and understand the urgency of acting now to combat it; we understand the importance of a woman’s right to choose and how barbaric it would be to take away such rights, particularly for low income women; and we want to remain a welcoming community, understanding that immigrants are our neighbors, co-workers, friends and family, and that to profile them is wrong and unjust.
This election was a confirmation that the investments we’ve made at Multnomah County - for permanent supportive housing and homelessness services, for a clean energy future, for reproductive health equity and for the defense of immigrants - align with the will of our citizens.
I am proud to represent you and your values, for they are mine as well.
Investing in Our Children
This week, I attended the Association of Oregon Counties’ annual conference in Eugene where I was able to connect with leaders from other counties across Oregon and discuss issues that are affecting all our communities, urban and rural, such as housing and homelessness, economic development, mental health and addiction treatment services.
I also had the opportunity to speak on a panel with the Oregon Community Foundation and Commissioner George Murdock from Umatilla County about the importance of investing in our children earlier in order to close the achievement gap.
You can learn more about the Preschool for All Task Force focused on this issue in Multnomah County.
Fighting for Environmental Justice
When I took office in January 2017, one of the very first proposals I wanted to pursue was the adoption of an environmental justice resolution.
Environmental justice is the equitable distribution of the benefits and burdens of environmental policies. The history of our nation is a story of repeated environmental injustices - where communities, primarily low-income and communities of color, were forced to bear the brunt of negative environmental impacts. For over a year, my office and the Office of Sustainability worked to develop the Multnomah County Environmental Justice Resolution, which commits the County to acting under the principles of environmental justice, and directs the County to develop recommendations to further advance those values in Multnomah County.
This effort is one piece of our broader institution-wide effort to make Multnomah County a more equitable government and employer. This resolution was passed unanimously on November 8th, and I am looking forward to the work ahead. You can read more about this resolution.
The Local Public Safety Coordinating Council (LPSCC) is currently accepting applications for one community representative and one representatives of community-based nonprofit organizations providing services for crime victims. LPSCC coordinates local criminal justice policy among affected criminal justice entities. The Council is co-chaired by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and holds monthly meetings. This appointment is a two-year commitment.
More information can be found here.