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August 2012 

Dear Friends,


As we hit the height of summer and I see people out enjoying the sun, it's hard not to notice all the amazing things that make our region unique.


Walking through our neighborhoods, I'm always struck by the amount of independently owned businesses that have the opportunity to flourish right here in our own backyard. Small businesses, like county microloan recipient The Bike Commuter, (whose story you can read about here) contribute to the vitality of our economy and create jobs. They can do this thanks to a bit of strategic assistance and support from residents who choose to shop locally.


But you don't have to spend money to have a big impact. This summer, we've seen thousands of people weigh in on the decisions we make at the county that affect their lives. From discussions on the final Sellwood Bridge design to the future of our library system, residents have overwhelmingly demonstrated passion and commitment to issues that touch all of us.


While there's always more work to be done, I'm humbled by the active role many residents take in shaping this community. To stay engaged with the county, I encourage you to explore this edition of my newsletter, bookmark our official site or email me at    



Jeff Cogen 


Board approves referral of library district to November 2012 ballot
At the Aug. 2 board meeting
LibrarydistrictDuring our regular board meeting on Aug. 2, my fellow commissioners and I unanimously approved a resolution referring a library district to the November 2012 ballot. This vote comes after a month-long effort initiated by the county to gather public input on the prospect of a library district in the form of five community listening sessions, a public hearing and an online survey that collected more than 20,000 responses.

Currently, the Multnomah County Library receives its funding through a combination of the county's general fund and a temporary tax levy of 89 cents per $1,000 assessed value. The proposed library district would provide funding for the county's library system through a permanent taxing district at a limited rate of up to $1.24 per $1,000 of a property's assessed value.

Multnomah County residents will vote on the proposed library district during the November 2012 election.   


Click here to download a statistical summary of the survey on library funding. 

Click here to download the complete results of the survey on library funding. 

Final design for new Sellwood Bridge approved by Board of Commissioners
sellwoodbridgedesignIt's no secret that replacing the Sellwood Bridge has been a large and challenging project. But I'm happy to announce the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners approved the final design for this historic project during our July 19 meeting.

Symmetric cross-section of Sellwood Bridge design

The new Sellwood Bridge will have a steel deck arch design with a symmetric cross-section similar to the rendering above.

The final design includes:
  • Steel deck arch bridge
  • Symmetrical bridge deck design with two traffic lanes, two bike lane/shoulders, and two multi-use raised paths for bicyclists and pedestrians
  • One-stage bridge construction using a detour bridge
  • Concrete arch culvert for Stephens Creek
  • East and westside bio-swale water treatment facilities
  • New access to Macadam Bay floating homes on the south side of Freeman Motors
  • Westside regional trail along trolley line leading to
    Southwest Miles Place

The board's decision on the final design comes after taking into strong consideration all the community and stakeholder input received through the Sellwood Bridge Project's outreach efforts. 


The new bridge is expected to open to traffic in 2015, with project completion scheduled for early 2016.



For the up-to-date information on Sellwood Bridge Project progress,
County microloan program enables husband-and wife-owned business to hire employees, improve work space
Naihma and Eric Deady
Naihma and Eric Deady
Meet Naihma and Eric Deady, owners of the Bike Commuter shop in Southeast Portland, and recent recipients of a small business loan through Multnomah County's innovative microloan program.


The county's microloan program -- with expert microlenders MercyCorps Northwest and Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon -- sparks economic growth locally by granting small loans to small businesses. Nearly $1 million in loans and technical assistance has been made available so far to support local entrepreneurs of color, immigrants and women -- groups that often face extra hurdles when trying to secure small business loans. 

The Bike Commuter, which opened in the Sellwood neighborhood in January 2010, employs five people and prides itself on its down-to-earth attitude toward all bike enthusiasts, regardless of their experience level.

Exterior of The Bike Commuter
Exterior of the Bike Commuter.
Once they opened, the Deadys witnessed substantial growth for their business and decided to turn to county microloan partner MercyCorps Northwest for financial and technical assistance in meeting the growing demand. And in June 2012, they received a business loan of $18,663 to support their flourishing establishment.     


  Members of the local business community wanted for Business Advisory Council

The county is seeking business owners, executives, directors and managers who are interested in improving our local economy and the environment for businesses in Multnomah County by serving on the Multnomah County Business Advisory Council (BAC).

The mission of the BAC is to support Multnomah County's efforts to create a thriving business environment. To further this mission, the BAC is currently focusing on the following three goals:

  • Increasing jobs and employment with local businesses
  • Connecting the local business community with available technical assistance and resources
  • Enhancing communication and understanding between the local business community and the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners

The BAC meets quarterly and is comprised of up to 15 community members, each of whom is appointed for up to a two-year term.    


Click here to apply for a position on the Multnomah County Business Advisory Council.  

Multnomah County is Oregon's most populous county with about 735,000 residents.  Multnomah County is governed by a Board of four elected Commissioners and one Chair. Multnomah County employees provide citizens a wide range of health and human services, public safety services and other government services.  

Multnomah County values the privacy of personal information and will not sell or otherwise disclose your email address, except as provided under Chapter 192 of the Oregon Revised Statues pertaining to Records; Public Reports and Meetings.

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County website now available in four additional languages
Thanks to Google Translate and the talented folks on the county's IT team, most of Multnomah County's official website, can now be translated into Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Vietnamese. 
To learn more about this exciting new feature, click here.