In late June, Multnomah County was invited to participate in a new initiative led by the Reimagine Oregon Project — a newly formed group of Black-led organizations, leaders, activists and organizers — to convert the building momentum of the ongoing protests into tangible steps toward dismantling systemic racism in Oregon. The group convened jurisdictions throughout Oregon, including Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties, the City of Portland, the State of Oregon, and Metro, to craft a concrete plan of action to make real and lasting change, backed by the jurisdictions’ commitments to specific policy actions. Multnomah County’s policy commitments, as well as our progress toward delivering them, are outlined here.

*Updated September 2020; to be updated monthly

Status Key:
In Research: Assessing feasibility and best practices

In Discussion: Engaging stakeholders

In Progress: Implementation is underway

Complete: Commitment fulfilled

Police Divestments and Community Safety

Commitment Status Status Note

Defund $50 million from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office

Reimagine Oregon requested this divestment to help end the existing carceral state and move resources towards more community-centered efforts that support health and well-being.

In Progress

The Board of County Commissioners has not committed to reducing $50 million from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO). But the board voted in June 2020 to adopt a budget that decreased MCSO funding by $1.8 million. That has resulted in the closure of one jail dorm. Those dollars are currently being reinvested in programs that support diversion, re-entry and repairing the harm of jail system involvement.

Divert from Homeless Outreach and Program Engagement (HOPE) Team

MCSO’s Homeless Outreach and Programs Engagement (HOPE) team was established in 2017 to help connect houseless individuals to services and other community resources. Reimagine Oregon has requested divestment from this program out of concerns that regular contact with law enforcement furthers trauma for vulnerable individuals living outside.

In Research Multnomah County is currently gathering information to further understand the impact of the HOPE team in East County and exploring whether the model should continue in its current form.

Defund East Multnomah Juvenile Gang Enforcement Team

The East Multnomah Juvenile Gang Enforcement Team program was supported by state and federal funding, with Multnomah County serving as a “pass through.” The County supported its defunding.

Complete

The State Legislature removed funding in the summer of 2020.

Eliminate funding for School Resource Officer programs

Multnomah County provided half the funding for a School Resource Officer (SRO) in the Corbett School District. Reimagine Oregon recommended officers across multiple school districts be replaced with restorative justice practitioners who emphasize trauma-informed responses and mental health supports.

Complete

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners eliminated its half of funding for the resource officer in Corbett as part of the FY 2021 budget process. The Corbett School District is currently determining whether it will fully fund the position itself. MCSO also provides three School Resources Officers for the Reynolds School District who are fully funded by the school district. 

Ensure all MCSO personnel comply with sanctuary from Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency

Reimagine Oregon wants to ensure the Sheriff’s Office adheres to policies making Multnomah County a “sanctuary county.”

Complete The Sheriff’s Office adheres to Oregon law and court cases that prohibit the active sharing of information between deputies and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents.

Duty to intervene protocol to stop excessive force

Reimagine Oregon requested that multiple jurisdictions adopt a policy that requires law enforcement officers to intervene if they see a fellow officer using excessive force. The Oregon State Legislature took this up as part of their summer 2020 Special Session on Police Accountability. Multnomah County was in favor of this change.

Complete House Bill 4205 requires officers to intervene when they witness misconduct, which includes “unjustified or excessive force,” unless they cannot do it safely, and to report misconduct to a supervisor. Additionally, Multnomah County will hold a board briefing in October 2020 to learn more about the training programs within the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. We are analyzing use of force, trauma and bias training, among others.

Eliminate investment in and/or resource commitment to transit/TriMet policing program

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office receives funding from TriMet for nine officers to work with the transportation agency and provide a law enforcement presence and response along the system, including trains, buses, and facilities in the Metro area. The work includes bike patrols, drug enforcement, houseless outreach and investigating crimes committed on TriMet property. 

In Discussion

TriMet is putting together a Blue Ribbon Committee to re-examine their entire transit security program. They plan to hold a series of meetings this fall and develop recommendations. The County will then reconsider its current arrangement with TriMet.

Contribute funding to Black-led safety alternatives development effort

Reimagine Oregon has asked all participating jurisdictions to contribute a total of $2.5 million in funding for the establishment of an ongoing Black community-led workgroup that will develop community safety alternatives. Policy proposals will be developed and deliberated for the 2021 legislative session and beyond. 

In Progress

Staff in the Office of the Multnomah County Chair are working with finance and procurement offices to prepare a proposal for consideration by the Board of County Commissioners in October. 

Review County District Attorney’s Office policies and protocols

Mike Schmidt was appointed district attorney by Gov. Kate Brown to complete his predecessor’s term. His official term will start on January 1, 2021.

DA Schmidt’s transition team will review all policy areas within the first six months of finishing out the former DA’s term. Policy areas include, but are not limited to police accountability, decriminalizing houselessness, conviction integrity, ending mass incarceration and ending cash bail.

In Progress N/A

Housing

Commitment Status Status Note

Hold jurisdictions accountable to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

Reimagine Oregon is requesting that Multnomah County, its cities and Metro to be held accountable for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandate to “Affirmatively Further Fair Housing” by ending racial segregation from opportunity, providing community development and investment without displacement, and ending discrimination and fair housing violations through robust testing and enforcement by Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries.

In Progress

Multnomah County is currently in discussions with the City of Portland and the Fair Housing Council of Oregon (FHCO) to explore options for expanding the City of Portland’s fair housing testing contract with FHCO to include East Multnomah County.

In working with Home Forward to build new affordable housing in the City of Troutdale (funded by the County’s allocation from the Metro bond), the three jurisdictions will ensure the project complies with all applicable rules affirmatively furthering fair housing.

The County is also an existing member of the Portland Consortium, the local body responsible for submitting the “Analysis of Impediments” to HUD under the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provision of the Fair Housing Act.

Develop “Right to Stay in Place” policy for East County residents

Reimagine Oregon is requesting a “Right to Stay in Place” policy developed for East County residents to combat gentrification (First Right of Refusal, etc.), prioritizing households displaced from Northeast Portland.

In Discussion

Effectively protecting residents from involuntary displacement requires more than one policy. It requires a suite of protections to anticipate and counter the policy decisions and economic forces that drive communities from their historic neighborhoods. And because these factors that drive up the cost of living and rent are steeped in systemic racism, communities of color are often the first to experience displacement from their homes and neighborhoods. 

Under the guise of “urban renewal” and “revitalization,” Black Portlanders experienced decades of gentrification because local leaders failed to enact protections that would have countered the influx of higher-income, mostly white families that “urban renewal” attracted. As a result, at least 25 percent of Black Portlanders have been displaced from their homes and neighborhoods in North and Northeast Portland.

Portland has continued to experience rapid economic expansion, so much so that residents who were forced out of inner Portland toward East County may be displaced again by the same economic pressures. Before that pressure becomes overwhelming, we have an opportunity to implement protections that have proven to mitigate the detrimental impacts of gentrification.

Multnomah County does not have the legal authority to implement anti-displacement policies in the cities within county lines. However, Multnomah County has already commissioned a study to examine potential policies to help protect tenants, and help communities stay in place and thrive. We will begin exploring strategies with East County partners this fall.

Increase salaries for frontline workers in social service agencies

Reimagine Oregon requests increases in social service contract allocations to support living wage jobs. The request includes increased salaries for frontline housing caseworkers of 4 to 7 percent, plus a cost of living increase, and to start with organizations that have a track record of consistently serving Black families and/or organizations that have at least a 20 percent staff census of Black workers.

In Discussion

The Chair’s Office has launched a workgroup to begin reviewing County-wide contract and compensation requirements across all health and human services. The County is engaging with social service partners to prepare policy options to further address this issue. 

Stop all sweeps of camps that shelter houseless people

This proposal asks local governments to stop all sweeps of camps that shelter people who are houseless, expand sit-lie regulations and support a “Right to Rest” agenda that decriminalizes homelessness.

In Discussion

Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran is actively working with advocates, community-based organizations and other legislators to explore strategies to better support people experiencing unsheltered homelessness, with the goal of promoting stability, safety, public health and individual dignity. This includes, but is not limited to, consideration of new models of alternative shelter, models of sanctioned or organized camping and/or villages, and improved hygiene access. 

Invest in stronger Fair Housing Testing and enforcement

Reimagine Oregon is requesting that the County invest in stronger Fair Housing Testing in the private market and invest in enforcement mechanisms when fair housing laws are violated. 

In Discussion

Multnomah County is currently engaged in discussions with the City of Portland and the Fair Housing Council of Oregon to explore options for expanding the City of Portland’s existing contract to include East County.

Health and Well-being

Commitment Status Status Note

Invest in culturally specific mental health care healing centers

Reimagine Oregon requested support for organizations like the Avel Gordly Center for Healing with significant funding from public health agencies at the city and state level. 

In Discussion

Multnomah County will review our current contract with the Avel Gordly Center for Healing and look at opportunities to improve and expand our partnership.

Fund culturally appropriate maternal health programs

With health disparities disproportionately harming Black women, supporting Black community health workers and doula programs are critical to Black wellness. Reimagine Oregon requested increased funding for programs that include pregnancy health and prenatal care, birthing assistance, and family supports for new parents learning to care for infants.

In Progress

In the FY 2021 budget, Multnomah County restored full funding for our maternal and child health programs that specifically serve the Black community, using savings from public safety divestments. We are working with the program's parent and community advisory network to identify future needs and opportunities to continue, improve and expand upon this work. 

Economic Development

Commitment Status Status Note

Include First Source Hiring on all publicly funded/subsidized projects

Reimagine Oregon requests Public Benefits programs on all publicly funded or subsidized projects should include First Source hiring, and jobs on publicly funded projects must meet “high road” standards and provide a living wage.  

In Research

Multnomah County agrees that publicly funded programs should provide economic opportunities to communities that have historically been excluded from, or lacked access to, the construction trades. The County intends to continue our work with the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) and other partners to build project agreements that set high standards and result in jobs for people of color and minority-owned businesses. We are currently working on establishing thresholds for when project agreements will be implemented on our projects. 

In addition, the County adopted the Construction Career Pathways Project Framework (C2P2) in 2019 in order to advance a regional approach to building diversity in the construction trades. In 2018, the Board of County Commissioners voted to create the Construction Diversity and Equity Fund to set aside 1 percent of our construction funds to support building diversity through pre-apprenticeship support, workforce retention and technical assistance for small business. We are working with NAMC to develop further details on “First Source” and "High Roads” standards.

Education

Commitment Status Status Note

Mandate restorative justice practices and trainings for educators and students

Reimagine Oregon is promoting initiatives that would require restorative justice processes when a student or student's family identifies a racist incident or incident of prejudice. 

In Progress

Multnomah County already partners with Portland Public Schools (PPS) through after-school programs and supplemental supports, and we will advocate for mandating restorative justice practices. Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal is currently working on this effort in concert with PPS and state legislators.

Legislative Process

Commitment Status Status Note

Require racial impact statements

This commitment would require racial impact statements from chief sponsors of all legislative bills to analyze potential impacts to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Reimagine Oregon recommends jurisdictions consult with community-based organizations and/or experts for input and require a re-write and consultation with Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color if any policy that indicates negative impacts on their communities or could exacerbate racial disparities. 

In Research

Multnomah County includes an equity lens assessment as part of its review of legislative bills in the Office of Government Relations. The County is also reviewing the current practices and thresholds around the use of equity impact statements and assessments in County board-adopted legislation.

Require community advisory boards in rule-making processes

Legislative rulemaking processes often focus on nuanced technicalities. Reimagine Oregon asks jurisdictions to make more space for community advisory boards to provide insight that could inject new perspectives and voices into processes that have historically been inaccessible to public feedback.

Complete

When engaging in rulemaking (most recently in Public Health and Community Services), Multnomah County has engaged a community advisory board or community input process.

Establish equity advisors in all offices and bureaus

Similar to financial advisors in every office, Reimagine Oregon requested that all jurisdictions establish equity advisors in all office and bureau executive leadership teams.

Complete

All Multnomah County departments have an equity team and an equity and inclusion manager. Efforts are ongoing to improve support for equity and inclusion practitioners within the organization. Additionally, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office has an equity team and equity and inclusion manager. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office also convenes an equity team.