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Amid COVID-19 pandemic and outcry for racial justice, Board of Commissioners approves $2.06 billion budget


On June 23, the Board of Commissioners approved a $2.06 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, maintaining Multnomah County’s core safety net services while tackling urgent needs to combat COVID-19, advance equity and reform the criminal justice system.

The 2021 budget — Chair Deborah Kafoury’s sixth as County Chair, and 11th as a member of the Board — was developed as a pandemic, an economic recession and public outcry for racial justice all placed record demands and revenue pressure on the County. 

By combining new revenue from the updated Business Income Tax with a 2 percent cut to every department and a salary freeze for management and exempt staff, the County maintained programs that address housing insecurity, food instability, trauma and inadequate access to healthcare. Those programs are now more important than ever. [Read more]

State’s face covering mandate in effect; County encourages adherence, will not enforce

A state mandate that residents wear face coverings in certain public indoor spaces went into effect June 24, in seven Oregon counties including Multnomah. The mandate requires employees and customers at area businesses wear a face covering unless an accommodation is required or certain other conditions apply.

Evolving science shows a face covering that fits well and is made out of certain types and combinations of fabric can offer good protection from COVID-19 to the wearer and to those nearby.

So Multnomah County is strongly encouraging residents who can adhere to the governor’s mandate to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces. We also recommend face coverings when interacting with friends and family who do not share a household.

That said, some people should not wear a face covering or don’t feel safe doing so. [Read more]

For the latest regional numbers, guidance, signs for your organization and where to get tested, visit

Board proclaims June Pride Month, calling for justice for LGBTQ+ communities

On Thursday, June 25 the Board of County Commissioners proclaimed June 2020 as Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community in Multnomah County, Oregon. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City.

Multnomah County has been the site of Pride celebrations each third weekend in June since 1976. As an organization, the County has celebrated Pride annually since 1992. Multnomah County’s Office of Diversity and Equity sponsors PRISM and Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC), two Employee Resource Groups that serve more than 200 LGBTQ+ employees and ally members who contribute to the ongoing mission of inclusion and equity in Multnomah County.

“Pride is an opportunity to celebrate the freedom to love and be oneself, and it’s also a time to come together as a community to celebrate the rights that have been so hard won,” said Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, who co-sponsored the event alongside Commissioner Susheela Jayapal. “But it is important that it is not just a time for celebration, but it is also an opportunity for us to commit to the ongoing and necessary work needed to ensure that all our LGBTQ siblings are treated equally.” [Read more]

Multnomah County Board hears testimony from Black employees and youth, issues Juneteenth proclamation


A year ago this month, Multnomah County employees filled the County’s board room to experience live music, dance and speakers at the 2019 Juneteenth celebration, hosted by Multnomah County’s Employees of Color Employee Resource Group.This year, Juneteenth took place in a dramatically different world. 

Against the backdrop of historic demonstrations locally and across the country in support of Black lives and decrying the systemic racism Black Americans experience in this country, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners proclaimed June 19 Juneteenth Day in Multnomah County. The Board heard testimony from a group of speakers that included County employees, as well as Black youth and young adults, who spoke about their experience as well as the resilience and beauty of the Black community, and the urgent need for change. [Read more]

WATCH: The Joint Office of Homeless Services' Sack Lunch Program

‘Something that I knew would be helpful’: Volunteers provide thousands of lunches for people without shelter, with help from Joint Office

Every weekday morning, right around 10, the cars and trucks show up at the Joint Office of Homeless Services’ downtown outreach supply center. Out come the sack lunches, box after box after box, carted inside by the volunteers and food providers who made them with care.

A little while later, it’s the outreach workers’ turn to park outside the supply center. Box after box after box, they carry the lunches out as quickly as they came in. Soon, they’ll be in the hands of hundreds of people camping far from the city center.

That near-daily exchange marks another new ritual born in the wake of COVID-19. [Read more]

Multnomah County
501 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97214

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