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October 2012    

Dear Friends,

As the Chair of Multnomah County, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time out in the community speaking with and listening to the concerns of my fellow residents. But as I approach my sixth year as a member of the Board of Commissioners, I can't help but take note of one question that I encounter time and again:

"So, what does Multnomah County do exactly?"  


Know Multnomah County: The Hawthorne Bridge
Click here to follow along with me as I learn how to lift and lower the Hawthorne Bridge with help from bridge operator Gary Rivera.
Truthfully, there's no quick answer. So whether we're maintaining the safety of our roads and bridges, providing support for residents experiencing a mental health crisis or ensuring the food you enjoy at your favorite restaurant is safe to eat, the county provides an enormously wide range of essential yet often overlooked services.

The good news is there are plenty of ways you can get to know Multnomah County. By subscribing to this newsletter, browsing our website or checking out our new behind-the-scenes look at the work of the county and our talented employees, you can learn first-hand about the services we provide to our 735,000 residents each day.           

If there is a county service you would like to learn more about or see featured in a future edition of this newsletter, email me at Take care and I hope the fall season finds you well.      




Jeff Cogen 


Multnomah County and City of Portland call for vendors and manufacturers to disclose potentially hazardous chemicals
As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainable purchasing practices, Multnomah County has teamed up with the City of Portland, the Oregon Environmental Council and green industry leaders to launch the Healthy Purchasing Initiative.

The initiative, a pilot project formally approved by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and Portland City Council the week of Sept. 17, calls for manufacturers and contractors to disclose any potentially hazardous chemicals present in goods purchased by both governments.

Andrea Durbin, second from right addresses the county board during their Sept. 20  meeting.
The Oregon Environmental Council executive director Andrea Durbin (second from right) talks the county board about HPI during its Sept. 20 meeting.    

The program aims to promote healthier public and employee spaces through the purchase of safer, more environmentally-friendly products for local government facilities, with the further-reaching intention of driving market change toward the use of less-toxic goods.

On our end of the initiative, Multnomah County's purchasing division will work with county departments to develop or amend chemical disclosure forms and work with vendors and manufacturers to identify non-toxic products.

In its annual report, our purchasing division will update the Board of County Commissioners on the county's progress in identifying and reducing the purchase of products containing toxic chemicals.   

Click here to learn more about
the Healthy Purchasing Initiative
  Celebrat Food Day and help fight hunger locally at the County CROPS Farm


On Wednesday, Oct. 24, join me and the county's Office of Sustainability in celebrating Food Day, a nationwide movement promoting healthy, affordable, sustainable food, by volunteering at the County CROPS Farm.
Showcasing broccoli harvested from the County CROPS Farm, Food Day 2011.
Showcasing broccoli harvested from the County CROPS Farm, Food Day 2011.
From 9 a.m. to noon, have fun getting your hands dirty as we harvest fresh produce from the CROPS Farm for donation to the Oregon Food Bank. This a great opportunity to give back to our community and learn more about small scale organic farming. 


 Click here for more information and to sign up.

Multnomah Youth Commission lands $99k grant for youth agains violence work

A big congratulations is due to the Multnomah Youth Commission for recently winning a grant of more than $99,000 for their youth against violence work. The grant money, which was awarded to the commission by State Farm Insurance will go toward:
  • Training more than 100 young people through Resolutions NW to provide intensive conflict resolution and mediation training in schools
  • Funding the 2nd Annual Rob Ingram Youth Summit Against Violence
  • Hiring three youth staff persons to support all youth against violence efforts throughout the year
  • Funding 14 curriculum-based advocacy service learning projects within schools to move youth-driven policies on violence into action   
Multnomah Youth Commissioners their $99,000 grant check awarded to them by State Farm
Youth Commissioners pose with their  
$99,996.53 grant check from State Farm Insurance. 
The Multnomah Youth Commission serves as the official youth policy body for both Multnomah County and the City of Portland and is made up of young people ages 13 through 21 working to make a difference in our community.

If you know a young person who would like to get involved, please have them contact Marc Fernandez at      
Make a difference working for Multnomah County

At Multnomah County, one of the biggest assets we have is our employees. We are continuously striving to build a workforce that reflects our values of diversity, equity, sustainability and compassion
. We offer a variety of positions, competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and are always looking for qualified people to help us carry on our mission of service.

If you would like to be part of our team, check the featured job listings below:


Facility Security Officer


Medical Interpreter for the Health Department


Finance Manager for the Department of County Human Services


IT Senior Software Developer


Housing Development Specialist for the Department of County Human Services


For a complete list of current openings at the county, visit our jobs page at
  Say Hey on Nov. 8: County co-hosts event welcoming professionals of color new to our region

Say Hey
Photo by Joni Shimabukuro,
courtesy of Partners in Diversity.
To further our efforts in promoting the recruitment, support and retention of professionals of color in our region, Multnomah County has joined forces with Clackamas County and Partners in Diversity to bring you the latest Say Hey event on Thursday, Nov. 8 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Oregon Historical Society, 1200 S.W. Park Ave., in Portland.   

Say Hey events take place quarterly and provide a warm atmosphere for professionals of color new to our area to meet and mingle with private and public sector leaders, organizations and individuals.  

They are free and open to the public, just be sure to register beforehand here.       
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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Brown Bag Lunch and Learn
 Looking to brush up on your professional skills?

On Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m. the Multnomah County Library is hosting a free Brown Bag Lunch & Learn series through Nov. 1.
Upcoming sessions include:


Oct. 18:   

Conflict Ain't So Bad: A New Way at Looking at Discord


Oct. 25

Go Ahead, Make My Day! Criticize Me!


Each Brown Bag Lunch & Learn session will take place in the U.S. Bank room of the Central Library,

801 S.W. 10th Ave. in Portland.   


Click here for more info.