For the most up-to-date information about Multnomah County's COVID-19 response, please check our COVID-19 website, and the County’s Twitter and Facebook channels, often. You can also contact my office if you have any other questions.

Dear friends and neighbors,

On Wednesday, the governor’s mandate for Oregonians to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces went into effect statewide. As positive cases of COVID-19 rise across Oregon, the widespread and proper use of face coverings will be one of the best tools we have for slowing the virus’s spread and for protecting each other. 

Chair Deborah Kafoury wearing a face covering.If you’ve made wearing a face covering a routine part of going out into public, thank you. The more visible and prevalent the practice becomes, the quicker the use of face coverings will become part of a culture of caring for each other until we have a vaccine. 

If you’re able to use a face covering safely but have yet to make it a habit, please start the practice. It is, simply put, the right thing to do in order to protect your family and loved ones, your friends and neighbors, and the people you come into close contact with outside your home. Those who wear a face covering are doing the same for you.

This 4th of July holiday weekend presents our first big challenge. We saw COVID-19 cases surge across the country in the aftermath of Memorial Day weekend gatherings, most without proper physical distancing or face coverings. For any gathering this weekend, please:

  • Wear a face covering.
  • Meet outside.
  • Keep at least six feet of distance from others not in your immediate household.
  • Keep your gathering small.
  • Bring your own food, drinks and utensils.
  • Wash and/or sanitize your hands often.
  • Disinfect the bathroom after each use.

Today, the Board of Commissioners voted to extend Multnomah County’s emergency declaration. It’s a procedural action that ensures the County has access to all the tools we can to continue responding to this crisis, but it’s also an acknowledgement that we will be living with the virus in our community for the foreseeable future. 

Until a vaccine is widely available, the health and safety of our community will remain under threat. We will need everyone to continue doing their part to slow the spread and help us avoid a surge in cases and hospital utilization. And it all begins with a simple face covering.

The last few months have been trying and stressful. But ever since the pandemic touched our community, I have seen the people of Multnomah County respond with compassion, consideration and generosity toward one another. People have gone out of their way to care for their neighbors, made and donated thousands of face coverings, given to community-based organizations meeting needs across our county, and have, by and large, worn their face coverings for the benefit of others. 

As we navigate our community’s gradual reopening and recovery, I know those values will show up stronger than ever.


Deborah Kafoury
Multnomah County Chair

Sign up to receive my newsletters directly in your inbox.