April 27, 2023
Chair Jessica Vega Pederson
Chair Jessica Vega Pederson
Executive Budget Message
The 2024 Multnomah County Executive Budget is the first budget created by my administration in a year of transition for the County and for our communities. We are at once emerging from years of hardship, organizational restructuring, investment and constraint brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and turning an important corner to take forward the lessons we've learned and the things we've accomplished together despite historic challenges.
As a community we are pulling back together following the worst devastations of the pandemic, reckoning with centuries of racial and social injustice, and wrestling with the continued impacts of homelessness and a lack of affordable housing, community violence, climate change and economic inequality.
Yet I know that a just recovery is possible — especially as we lean into our ability to grow together as a community and work more closely and effectively, building unlikely but fruitful partnerships in the face of unprecedented needs and changes.
The complex challenges we face today demand strong and bold leadership. The investments in my proposed $3.5 billion Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget strategically help us continue our recovery from the pandemic and shore up the systems we need for the future. This budget effectively makes significant positive impacts, especially around the priority areas of housing and homelessness, health and safety, infrastructure, and our continued investments in community partnership and sustainability.
The past three budgets under previous Chair Deborah Kafoury were built in direct response to the deadly threat and outsized challenges of the pandemic. Those spending plans featured multimillion-dollar investments in the County’s COVID-19 response and appropriated the federal lifelines we received through the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the 2021 American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act.
These federal stimulus programs were and continue to be sustaining to our recovery efforts. However, considering the stage of our pandemic recovery we are now in, as well as the end of federal COVID-19 funding, we deemed it necessary to examine which ARP-funded programs would still be needed in the year ahead. The decisions to continue certain programs were based on what’s happening currently in our community, and we worked to appropriate the right kind of funding to those programs in the form of ARP, and one-time or ongoing County General Fund dollars.
When I was sworn in as Chair, it was with a commitment to solve big problems — and one of those in my first 100 days has been the stewardship of this budget. While I took office amid a budgeting process that was well underway, it has still yielded a deep look at what our opportunities are for continuing the investments made in response to the pandemic and prioritizing our dollars to make the greatest impact on the biggest challenges before us.
My team and I have used our first months to deepen our understanding of the work of the County; engage with the broader community and Community Budget Advisory Committees (CBACs) through an abbreviated community engagement process; and thoughtfully consider the investments needed to sustain our communities with dwindling federal ARP dollars.
The FY 2024 budget was built to reflect the values that are foundational to Multnomah County and the ways we bring those values into a deeper relationship with our communities as the social safety net that helps people and communities not just meet their basic needs, but rise and thrive...