March 6: State of Multnomah County 2021: Moving toward a new place of strength, health and hope

Watch the full State of the County here, or read the full text of the speech here.

Dear friends and neighbors,

Eleven months ago, I stood in front of a webcam in a mostly empty conference room and delivered my 2020 State of the County address virtually. I had declared a state of emergency only a month prior, and Multnomah County, along with local governments across the country, was in the throes of shifting programs and resources to confront the COVID-19 pandemic that we had only begun to fully understand. So I spent most of my speech sharing about what the County was doing to respond to the crisis.

Yesterday, a little more than a year removed from the discovery of Oregon’s first case of COVID-19, I again delivered my State of the County address virtually. And while we are still in the midst of a pandemic, we find ourselves in a starkly different — and profoundly changed — place compared to last spring. After enduring a year of challenges that exposed deep disparities, inequities and injustices, and with the arrival of vaccines, our community stands at a pivotal juncture.

Right now, we have the opportunity to ask ourselves who we can and should become as a community after such a tumultuous year — a year that showed us where we fall short, but also revealed our capacity to work toward making things right.

So in this year’s State of the County speech, I chose to devote most of my time to looking forward and reflecting on what it looks like for Multnomah County to use this moment in our community’s story to lean into the possibilities ahead, rather than return to the familiarity of the past. To imagine bigger and to build toward something better.

The past year has offered a constant reminder of how connected we all are. I hope that you will join Multnomah County in building up a community that is equitable, inclusive and just for all.

Please stay self and stay healthy,

Deborah Kafoury
Multnomah County Chair

Click or tap below to watch the full video of my State of the County address and the live Q&A session (starts at about the 12:27 mark).