A 20-year nutrition assistant who started as a client and found a career. A budget analyst who worked under nine different department directors over 25 years. A Health Department office assistant who helped the County transition to electronic health records during her 30-year tenure.
These were some of the 270 employees recognized at Multnomah County’s 2018 Years of Service Ceremony on Thursday. The annual celebration honors Multnomah County employees who have served the community for 15 years and beyond.
“Each year we set aside time to celebrate employees who reach milestone anniversaries,” said Human Resources Director Travis Graves. “The Multnomah County Service Awards are just one way of thanking our employees for making Multnomah County an excellent place to work, as well as an outstanding service provider.”
Everyone honored was presented with certificates of recognition. Collectively, those who accepted certificates have contributed more than 2,500 years of service to the County. The longest-serving employees honored have been with the County for 35 years: Eugene Lam, a library clerk, and Jeanne Ramsten, a library assistant. They both began at the county within months of each other in 1983.
Each commissioner honored an employee by order of years of service. The highlighted employees have contributed between 15 and 30 years of service in different departments.
Rocio Lopez began receiving services at the Health Department more than 20 years ago. After her first visit, she said to herself, “One day, I’m going to work here.” In 1998, she found a position working for the Health Department as an office assistant and quickly moved into a bilingual, bicultural nutritional assistant position with the Women, Infants and Children program. She’s been promoting health and wellness among low-income mothers and families ever since.
“Ms. Lopez, we appreciate you, we thank you for the work you do today and what you will do tomorrow, and we congratulate you on 20 years of service to vulnerable children and families in Multnomah County,” Commissioner Loretta Smith told Lopez. “Thank you for your service.”
Martha Lillie started at the Central Library as a page more than 30 years ago while she was an undergraduate at Portland State University. In 1999, she moved into her dream job in what is now the Every Child Initiative. Every day since, she’s shared her love of books with children, parents and their caregivers.
“Martha has been with Every Child since the department began 30 years ago,” Chair Deborah Kafoury said. “She is the heart and soul of Every Child and its mission. Martha, thank you for your 30 years of service to our library and all of Multnomah County.”
Other highlighted employees included Raul Vergara Barria, a 15-year Library employee who’s received numerous Library award nominations; Samuel Konadu, a 25-year employee who has worked under different nine department directors; and Barbara Broderick, an office assistant who helped with the opening of the Southeast and Mid-County Health Centers during her 30-year career.
“The work you do every day makes our community a better place,” Chair Kafoury told the packed board room. “It can be challenging at times. If it weren’t for you and the work you do, this place would not be what it is, which is a really great, wonderful, caring community.”