Dear friends and neighbors,

Last Thursday, I released my FY 2022 Executive Budget, a $2.81 billion plan of action that is designed to both address the immediate needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic and launch once-in-a generation efforts that can transform our community for decades to come.

The budget comes to a vote for adoption by the Board of County Commissioners on Thursday, June 3, but there is a lot of work left to do before then. On Tuesday, we received the most recent financial forecast from the Budget Office and held our first set of budget presentations from County departments that will continue throughout the next month.

Collecting community feedback at public hearings is also an essential part of the budgeting process, as it helps us ensure that the County’s budget reflects the community’s values and priorities. This year, Multnomah County will hold virtual budget hearings from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5, and Wednesday, May 12

Community members who want to provide spoken testimony during either budget hearing can sign up using this webformThe same webform can also be used to submit written comments, which will be shared with each commissioner and their staff prior to the hearings.

For those who want to watch, each virtual budget hearing will be livestreamed on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners’ YouTube channel.

For as long as I’ve served on the Board, I’ve loved attending budget hearings. The venues are usually packed with members of the public eager to make their voices heard by sharing their opinions about, and their priorities for, the budget. People bring homemade signs. Groups come together to show strength and support in numbers. For some folks, a budget hearing is the first time that they have ever participated in government.

When people step up to testify, their stories reveal the values that compelled them to speak, and the visions they have for what the County can and should be. These hearings highlight the advocacy, passion and commitment for making the county a better place — a reflection of why Multnomah County is such a special place to live and work.

And although our budget hearings look quite different since we moved them online to ensure the public’s health and safety, I know that people will continue to show up with the same enthusiasm for creating a community that serves everyone effectively and equitably.

I hope that you will be able to join the conversation.

Please stay safe and stay healthy,

Deborah Kafoury
Multnomah County Chair