Dear friends and neighbors,

Each May, I present to the Board of County Commissioners on my office’s accomplishments during the current fiscal year, and I share my office’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts in July. I invite you to watch the presentation here for a reminder of all the diligent work my team has undertaken on your behalf so far this fiscal year. 

One new segment in my presentation was a report on the Ombudsperson function, which launched when the county’s first Ombudsperson, Cheryl Taylor, joined my office at the end of May 2023. Between then and the end of 2023, she handled 29 county-related cases and responded to more than 200 calls from community members. As she managed that hefty caseload, she also undertook an investigation at my request into the county’s contract with American Medical Response. I requested this soon after Ombudsperson Taylor launched her role, when I learned that a man using a wheelchair died after waiting over 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive at the scene of a hit-and-run accident. News reporting revealed that AMR was operating at a Code 0 (Non-response), meaning there were no ambulances available, at the time of the accident. Recent news coverage continues to identify instance of Code 0 operations. 

This May, we published the Ombudsperson’s report on the county’s contract with AMR to support transparency related to the county’s issues with AMR. It is critical that the county resolve the situation without delay so that people in our county experiencing medical emergencies can be confident an ambulance will arrive quickly when called.

It is a privilege to work on your behalf to support accountable and equitable county government through the Ombudsperson function, the Good Government Hotline, and performance auditing.

Thank you,


Summary: Ombudsperson's report on the county's contract with AMR

The report focuses on the ongoing non-compliance of American Medical Response in its Emergency Medical Services contract with Multnomah County and what remedies were available to the county at crucial moments during the contract periods in question. Additionally, it explores the establishment of the Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council and its intended purpose. The Ombudsperson found that the county had opportunities to hold American Medical Response accountable for ambulance response times before March 2022, and that the county established an Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council in the County Code, but did not form the committee or appoint members. 

The Ombudsperson recommended that the Board of County Commissioners should regularly receive ambulance response time data from the Emergency Medical Services staff that is compiled at least monthly for urban areas and every six months for rural areas; and that the Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council should be formed and the Emergency Medical Services Administrator should recommend members to the Board of County Commissioners for appointment to the Council.

The Auditor’s Office follows up on audit recommendations to support county government’s accountability. For this report, we only evaluated the two recommendations that were due in January 2024. We will evaluate and report on the remaining recommendations in a separate report.We found that the Library had implemented our recommendation to coordinate with the County Security Program to complete a Workplace Violence Threat Assessment and Workplace Violence Prevention Plan and communicate the results to all employees.We found that the Library was in the process of implementing our recommendaiton to implement corrective actions and processes to ensure safety committees are meeting OSHA standards and champion them as a place to address security issues.

Community engagement

On May 4, Constituent Relations and DEI Engagement Specialist Raymond De Silva and I spent the morning at Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden with other supporters of Oregon Rises Above Hate to celebrate Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month. We also recognized AANHPI communities, their resilience, and the ongoing need to combat anti-Asian hate. Governor Kotek signed a proclamation recognizing AANHPI Heritage Month at the event.Our office acknowledges the many histories, experiences, and contributions of those who identify as Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander. These broad categories include peoples of the Asian continent and Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

Community resources

An important way we can provide support to AANHPI communities and businesses that have experienced hateful rhetoric and/or treatment is by sharing resources to help community members report these bias incidents. Please share these resources often and widely. Bias Crime Hotline (1-844-924-BIAS) (1-844-924-2427): A non-emergency hotline and online portal to report bias incidents to trauma informed operators and receive support with interpreters available in 240 languages. 

  • Available on weekdays from 9 AM to 5 PM

  • Online reports can be made on the Oregon Department of Justice Report a Bias Crime or Incident webpage.

  • Bias Response Emergency Fund: The Bias Response Hotline has opened a limited emergency fund to assist victims of hate crimes and bias incidents in their recovery. The fund pays up to $1000 for costs incurred within 90 days of a bias incident or bias crime that a survivor is otherwise unable to afford. 

Lines for Life: Racial Equity Support Line (503-575-3764): A service led and staffed by people with lived experience of racism that offers support to those who are feeling the emotional impacts of racist violence and microaggressions, as well as the emotional impacts of immigration struggles and other cross-cultural issues.

  • Available on weekdays from 10 AM to 7 PM

Reflections & spotlight

Management Auditor Michelle Greene shared some reflections about her lived experience as a Filipino American:

When I was very young, my family moved from the Philippines to the United States in the early 1990s with our matriarch, my grandmother, at the helm. As a first-generation immigrant who grew up in multi-generational households, the values of care, remembrance, and community connection were woven into the lessons that my grandmother taught her grandchildren. These values led me to pursue a career in local government auditing, where they are cultivated and demonstrated in our work to serve county residents.

This AANHPI Heritage Month, we are happy to spotlight a few Filipino artists and organizations in our community, curated by Michelle:Talilo Marfil is a Filipino-American Hip Hop Artist residing in Portland known for illustrating social issues and cultural island heritage. He is a co-founder of Ascending Flow, a nonprofit organization that supports youth and young adults develop transferable life skills through the arts. Talilo’s recently released single, “Waves,” is a tribute to Apo Whang-od, a traditional Filipino tattoo artist. Talilo combines his love for Portland and his heritage to connect with young people with similar experiences through his music.

Celeste Noche is a Filipino American documentary and editorial photographer based in Portland and San Francisco who specializes in food, travel, and portraiture. She is the founder of Portland in Color, a blog that showcases local creatives of color that has highlighted over a dozen local artists and activists. Celeste’s work is rooted in the narrative, exploring identity and access across cultures.

The Filipino Bayanihan Center was formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the goal of providing support and basic resources, as well as a safe community space for gathering, to Filipino families, workers, and new migrants. Last year, a 40-foot-wide mural was completed on one of the center’s exterior walls to celebrate and acknowledge notable Filipina women.

The Filipino-American Association of Portland & Vicinity, Inc. (FAAPVI) is an organization that aims to support Filipino Americans in the community with collaborative initiatives that preserve cultural heritage and battle generational poverty. Recently, FAAPVI has collaborated with other Fil-Am organizations across Oregon on a project that celebrates Filipino cinema and food called, Sama-sama Tayo sa Sinehan at Kainan, which translates to “Sharing the Filipino Cinema and Food Experience.”