om·buds·man - noun; äm-ˌbu̇dz-mən - ȯm-, -bədz-, -ˌman:  A person (such as a government official or an employee) who investigates complaints and tries to resolve problems fairly.

Contact the Ombudsman:

File a Complaint with the Ombudsman by calling 888.289.6839, or online at multco.us/services/good-government-hotline
Ombudsman Office phone: 503.988.0183 | email: ombudsman@multco.us 
Office/Mail:  1600 SE 190th Avenue, Portland, OR  97233

What is the Ombudsman?

The Ombudsman serves the community by providing free, neutral, unbiased complaint resolution assistance to the public, and clients of programs within the Departments of Community Justice and Community Services

The Ombudsman receives, refers and tracks complaints, and has authority to conduct independent, impartial investigations into allegations of mistaken, unfair, and arbitrary actions of the Community Justice and Community Services departments.  The Ombudsman supplements, but does not replace, existing ways client and public complaints are handled by the departments.

The Ombudsman tracks complaint trends, and assesses departmental policies and procedures to identify service delivery challenges and possible equity barriers to services.  The Ombudsman can recommend policy and process revisions based on tracking and assessment results.

The Ombudsman role is to promote equitable and transparent government, rather than advocate for any individual, organization, or department.

How can the Ombudsman help me? 

The Ombudsman will listen to you, provide options available to address your complaint or concern, and help guide you through the process toward resolving the issue.  The Ombudsman can connect you with the appropriate office to address your concern or complaint, even if the issue is with another County Department.

After using the existing ways of resolving complaints, if your issue remains unresolved the Ombudsman can conduct an independent and impartial investigation of the facts of the complaint.  The Ombudsman can recommend process and policy revisions to the Community Justice and Community Services programs based upon the investigation results.

What is outside the scope of the Ombudsman?

  • The Ombudsman does not investigate complaints related to internal personnel matters.
  • The Ombudsman does not investigate complaints against County elected officials or their personal staff.
  • The Ombudsman has no authority to change a federal, state or local law, department code, determination, permit, regulation, rule, or policy, or to bring legal actions.
  • The Ombudsman does not handle complaints solely between private parties.
  • The Ombudsman does not investigate complaints against federal, state, or other local agencies. The Ombudsman only investigates complaints against programs of the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice and Department of Community Services.
  • The Ombudsman has no authority to investigate matters currently under legal review, covered by collective bargaining agreement grievance procedures, employee or applicant discrimination complaints, or as otherwise deemed inappropriate by the Ombudsman for review.

History of the Ombudsman Office

The Department of Community Services created a pilot Ombudsman program in 2013 to conduct independent, impartial reviews of complaints received against administrative acts of the department, and to recommend appropriate changes to policy and procedure to promote equitable and transparent delivery of the department’s services.  In 2014, the Ombudsman jurisdiction expanded to include programs within the county Department of Community Justice.

Ombudsman Documents

The Ombudsman Brochure was revised.  Translated versions will be available soon.

Additional Resources