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November 2012    

Dear Friends,

This has undoubtedly been a landmark week for our country, city and county. But as Multnomah County Chair, I'm especially happy to report that on Tuesday, Nov. 6, county voters handily passed Measure 26-143, creating a library district and securing permanent, stable funding for our treasured library system.


Leading up to the election season, I'm sure you heard time and again how wonderful the Multnomah County Library is. That its circulation is second only to that of the New York City Library. That it was awarded a five-star rating by the esteemed publication, Library Journal in 2011 and 2012. That its summer reading program had more than 100,000 young people participate this year. And while all these things are correct, the true greatness of our library system lies within its day to day operations.


Election night Library District results
Crowd reacts to Measure 26-143 results on Election Night.
Whether it be job seekers receiving help with their resumes at the Hollywood Branch; a mother and child bonding over a storytime session at the Gresham Branch; or a person at the Central Library taking advantage of internet access they couldn't afford otherwise; the Multnomah County Library provides services that benefit everyone in our community.

And while the road to securing stable funding for the Multnomah County Library has not been an easy one, the formation of a library district means that we can restore library hours and services cut as a result of past budget restrictions.

The district also frees up money from the county's general fund, allowing us to invest in the critical services we provide such as mental health, aging and disability services and our health clinics.

As we head into Thanksgiving, I feel extremely thankful to belong to a community that values its library. Thank you, Multnomah County, for continuing to support our library.  



Jeff Cogen 


Multnomah County unveils new tool to help promote equitable policies and practices
Sonali Balajee
Sonali Balajee presents the Equity and Empowerment Lens.
At the 19th Annual Northwest Public Employee Diversity Conference on Oct. 30, the county's Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) teamed up with my office to unveil a new tool to assist public agencies in examining how their policies and practices support equity.

The tool, which is called the Equity and Empowerment Lens, is a set of materials that focus on racial justice and present a series of questions and actions to help organizations shift cultural norms.

An earlier version of the lens was created and piloted by the Multnomah County Health Department last year. And as a result of its implementation, the health department decided to fund an aggressive breast-feeding promotion program for African-American mothers in our community. [Read more
Aspiring urban farmers: Starting Nov. 15, apply for our Beginning Urban Farming Apprenticeship program
2012 BUFA students
2012 BUFA students.
Starting Thursday, Nov. 15, our Office of Sustainability will begin accepting applications for the third season of our innovative Beginning Urban Farming Apprenticeship program (BUFA).

Through this intensive, eight-month program co-sponsored by Multnomah County and Oregon State University Extension Service, aspiring farmers will gain hands-on, in-the-field experience and skill development needed to break into small-scale, sustainable, urban farming.   


Topics covered in the BUFA program will include:   

  • Farm business planning and marketing
  • Berry and fruit tree production and edible landscaping 
  • Farm/landscape infrastructure including irrigation, materials choices and installation
  • Ins and outs of running successful farmers market stands  

Applications will be accepted from Nov. 15 through Jan. 13, 2013. Scholarships and early bird discounts are available.  


For information and to obtain an application, visit our Beginning Urban Farming Apprenticeship webpage.   

Library announces 2013 Everybody Reads author, Sherman Alexie

Now in its 11th year, the Multnomah County Library's community-wide reading project, Everybody Reads has announced Sherman Alexie as its 2013 author.

This year, two works will be featured by Alexie, a National Book Award Winner. The first book,  "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" is geared toward young adults and chronicles the adolescence of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

The second book, "Ten Little Indians," is a collection of short stories geared toward adults that includes nine poignant and emotionally resonant stories about Native Americans who find themselves at a personal and cultural crossroads.

To participate, visit the Everybody Reads webpage and head over to your local library branch and check out "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" and "Ten Little Indians."
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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