Our employees share stories about why the work they do makes such a difference.

Rachel O., Department of County Human Services

“I developed a Creative Arts-Based Restorative Justice group at Parkrose High School last year. Youth invited to participate have had the opportunity to discover how they can give back to themselves, their peers and their school.

The creative process has allowed the group members to explore how to resolve conflict, share their past experiences, discover commonalities and most importantly, promote positive change within themselves to become leaders at their school.

Their artwork serves as evidence of what they have learned and the empowerment they experience when encouraged to create.”

Rachel O., Mental Health Consultant, Department of County Human Services

"Everyone benefits when people involved in the criminal justice system are able to make positive changes in their lives. I help foster this change by modeling responsible behavior and providing support and structure."

Byron B., Parole/Probation Officer, Department of Community Justice

Stephen P., Multnomah County Library

“The library is full of stories and people are full of stories. Our work at the library is to help match one story with another -- learning about the history of your house or assisting you in searching for a new place to live; finding the right research for your school project or your next great, life-changing book; helping you discover the resources of your new community or helping you learn a new language; providing a quiet place to do your work or hosting a learning program for young scientists.

Every day I know that I have done a little bit of good for the world, working to help people find their story."

Stephen P., interim Library Supervisor, Multnomah County Library

Alexandra J., Health Department

“I have a patient who lives in transitional housing. He uses a communal bathroom to brush his teeth. When he first came in to see me for dental hygiene services, his chief concern was his bad breath. He was embarrassed by the condition of his mouth. I let him know that we don’t judge our patients here at the Billi Odegaard Dental Clinic, and I worked at getting him relaxed for his cleaning.

The first cleaning was a debridement to remove the large pieces of surface tartar on his teeth. It had been many years since he’d last had a professional cleaning and he had a period of time where he neglected his health due to addictions. Cavities were not his problem, but periodontal disease and bleeding gums were. At the end of that first cleaning, I gave him a toothbrush and floss and reviewed his homecare.

He was very motivated to conquer his periodontal disease! I told him we’d need four more appointments to complete the deep scaling and root planing necessary to stop the disease process. He showed up early for all four appointments.

During one of the deep cleanings, I checked the healing process of his gums and told him how well his gums were reacting to both the cleaning and the attention he was giving them at home. I asked if he felt that his bad breath was gone. He said yes.

Then he looked me in the eyes and said that after that very first cleaning his gums stopped bleeding. Before having his cleanings, when he was brushing his teeth in the communal bathroom, he would hold the water and spit in his mouth and wait until he was alone because he was embarrassed to spit blood out in the sink. And now, he says, he isn’t embarrassed anymore.”

Alexandra J., Dental Hygienist, Health Department

Melinda M., Department of Community Justice

“My work matters because I teach vulnerable populations how to change their lives through education. If I have one student or six at a time I am able to create an environment that shows them that I care about their progress not only as a student, but as a citizen of Multnomah County.  

No matter what their crime was, they are what they are doing now, and that is being a student. I teach civic responsibility, and clients learn they have efficacy in the community by becoming a registered voter.

Many have not believed that their voice matters, but in the classroom my work matters because I can change their thinking -- which impacts their behavior, which impacts their children, which impacts the community.”

Melinda M., Basic Skills Educator for the Londer Learning Center, Department of Community Justice

Scotty S., Department of Community Services

Scotty heard that Multnomah County was a great place to work. Soon after moving to the Portland area, Scotty applied for one of our open job opportunities, which turned out to be a great match for their skills. Working in the public sector most of their adult life, Scotty knew they wanted to continue down the path of giving back.
In their work at Multnomah County Animal Services, Scotty works with placement partners and rescue groups to find homes for dogs that need medical or behavioral rehabilitation. Their work also includes placing dogs in foster homes to recover from surgery, heal from skin problems, or take a break from stressful shelter life.
“Every day I get the opportunity to help people and their pets. We are saving lives at Animal Services and leading the way for progressive animal sheltering with the programs and goals we have set. My favorite part of this work is watching people fall in love with the dogs in our care.”
Scotty S., Dog Rescue/Foster Coordinator, Department of Community Services