blessing ceremony led by Buddhist monks from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand
An opening ceremony blessing for the 2023 New Year in the Park, celebrating Cambodian (Moha Songkran), Laotian (Pii Mai), Thai (Songkran, meaning "passage of time"​ in Sanskrit), and Burmese (Thingyan) cultures at Glenhaven Park, in Portland, Ore.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

On April 29, I attended the opening ceremonies for the Happy Burmese/Cambodian/Lao/Thai New Year in the Park at Portland’s Glenhaven Park. Engaging with community events is always a reminder to me of the joy, beauty, and rich history and traditions that live in our county’s communities. For me as a white person, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about cultures other than my own. As I learn about other ways of being in our county, I am inspired to reconnect with my own cultural roots and to remember aspects of the human experience that bind us all - the needs for community, for nourishment, and for celebration. None of these were in short supply at the New Year’s event. From an opening blessing ceremony led by Buddhist monks from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, to hearing the national anthems of each nation and the United States, to performances and amazing food, it was a festive occasion of celebrating traditions and fostering a sense of community. Traditional activities included colorful clothes, dances, and music performances that showcase the rich cultural and diverse heritage in our community. 

There were also a wide variety of community and government services represented at the event, including representatives from the Oregon Department of Justice’s Bias Response Hotline, where people can report if they have experienced hate crimes or bias incidents. Please help get the word out about this hotline, and please report to it if you have experienced a hate crime or bias incident. 

Thank you,

Jennifer McGuirk
Multnomah County Auditor


Our office passed our peer review

This month our office received and passed our peer review conducted by other local government auditors. Peer reviews are important because they provide assurance to you – the people of Multnomah County – that your County Auditor’s Office has systems in place to meet rigorous government auditing standards set at the federal level, and that these systems have worked effectively. This means you can trust in the results of our audits and the processes we use to arrive at those results.  Our office receives a peer review every three years. The Association of Local Government Auditors selects the peer reviewers and provides guidelines for the peer review. The review covered our audit work for 2020, 2021, and 2022. Our next peer review should take place in 2026 and cover the years 2023 through 2025. You can learn more about our 2023 peer review here

Multnomah County Auditor’s Office Constituent Relations and DEI Engagement Specialist, Raymond De Silva (on left) and AACCO board member and County employee, Ahmed Alzubidi (on right).

Community Engagement

We recognized Arab American Heritage Month as a time to honor and celebrate the contributions of Arab Americans to our community and country. On April 29, the Arab American Cultural Center of Oregon (AACCO) event featured community leaders sharing personal stories and the importance to educate and resource the next generation and community of their rich heritage, culture, and contributions. From traditional Arab music and dance performances, as well as a singer and songwriter showcase of Raid Alasm, it was a vibrant celebration of culture. Attendees also sampled traditional Arab cuisine, as well. It was a time for remembering legacy, celebrating traditions, and fostering a sense of community among Arab Americans from these diverse cultures living in Oregon. 

In Multnomah County, we are fortunate to have an Arab American community that has enriched the state of Oregon in countless ways. From business owners and educators to artists and activists, Arab Americans have made significant contributions to our community’s diverse and vibrant culture. I’m honored that my office has celebrated Arab American Heritage Month. Let us take the time not only in the month of April, but everyday to value Arab American contributions and appreciate the rich history, culture, and traditions in the growth of building stronger communities.

Did you know? 

  • Victor George Atiyeh, who served as the 32nd Governor of Oregon from 1979 to 1987, was the first Arab American elected as Governor of a US state.
  • Oregon is the second state along with Illinois, which has permanently recognized Arab American Heritage Month.
  • The term Arab American includes anyone living in the United States with ancestry in any of the 22 Arab countries, which stretch from Africa to Western Asia.

2023 New Year in the Park: Cambodian national anthem (top left), Laotian national anthem (top right), Thai national anthem (bottom left), Myanmar national anthem (bottom right).

Wishing you good health and happiness in the Happy Burmese, Cambodian, Lao, and Thai new year! Here's to a year of growth, learning, and new experiences filled with hope and togetherness.

If you’d like me and or my staff to attend or speak at a meeting with your community group, simply fill out this form.