Board speaks out against hate, celebrates new Native American housing and Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander month

May 23, 2022

Commissioner Susheela Jayapal and William Miller, Government Affairs Manager at NAYA at the grand opening of Mamook Tokatee ribbon cutting May 5.

From left, Wajdi Said, executive director at the Muslim Educational Trust, Commissioner Susheela Jayapal, Nadia Hasan, Beaverton city councilor; and Mohamed Alajouri, Portland Community College Board of Trustees at the Oregon Rises Against Hate May 14.

Commissioner Susheela Jayapal


Early this month Commissioner Jayapal attended the Mamook Tokatee Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in the Cully Neighborhood. As NAYA’s second affordable housing project in Cully, Mamook Tokatee translates from the Chinook Wawa phrase for “make beautiful,” a fitting name for the development that will provide housing, studio, and display space for members of Portland’s dynamic Native American artist community. 

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, and the theme this year is “Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration.” For too long, the AANHPI community has been under-represented in visible positions of leadership — but that is changing.  On May 12, Commissioners Jayapal and Stegmann co-sponsored Multnomah County’s AANHPI Heritage Month Proclamation to those who are advancing leadership in AANHPI communities. The proclamation panel included AANHPI women leaders Helen Ying and Hoa Nguyen, Co-Chairs of the Asian American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC); Bandana Shrestha, Director at AARP Oregon; Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie, Director at Oregon Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement; and Candace Kita Cultural Strategy Director at APANO

She also spoke at Oregon Rises Above Hate last Saturday in solidarity against racism, and anti-Asian violence. Oregon Rises Above Hate is the result of a coming together of AANHPI community leaders who want to defeat anti-Asian hate through targeted government action, broad educational programs, and by harnessing the power of the entire AANHPI community and all Oregonians statewide.

Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson at the May 5 Mamook Tokatee ribbon cutting.

Commissioner Vega Pederson and Laura John, Tribal Relations Director at the City of Portland.

Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson

Commissioner Vega Pederson also attended the Mamook Tokatee Ribbon Cutting ceremony in the Cully neighborhood, which has 56 units of affordable housing in an area that’s seen an increase in rents and home prices. She also participated in Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Awareness Week, attending a ceremony on the west side of the Hawthorne Bridge. More than four in five American Indian & Alaska Native women experience violence in their lifetime and murder is the third leading cause of death among Native women.

Commissioner Vega Pederson also spoke and marched at events associated with the leaked draft Supreme Court decision that would strike down reproductive health rights. She spoke at an event at Chapman Square on May 3rd, and marched at the Bans Off Our Bodies rally May 14. 

She also attended the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs luncheon, the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber scholarship award ceremony, Asian and Pacific Islander Night, and the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) Gala. She also discussed Preschool for All with Clatsop County Commissioner Lianne Thompson. And lastly, she participated in a SOLVE clean up event in east Portland May 14.

Commissioner Stegmann at Oregon Rises Against Hate.

Commissioner Stegmann with East County Health Center health providers and administrators.

Commissioner Lori Stegmann

As a safety net for our community, providing low-cost family health care for all Multnomah County residents, including those who are low-income and uninsured is critical to Multnomah County Health Department’s mission. Earlier this month, Commissioner Stegmann toured the East County Health Clinic and was impressed with the services provided and dedication of the staff.  

On May 12, Commissioner Stegmann was honored to join Commissioner Jayapal in co-sponsoring Multnomah County’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Proclamation, celebrating those who are promoting and advancing leadership in the AANHPI community.  The Commissioners were joined by a panel of speakers who shared their personal stories and experiences. The panel included: Bandana Shrestha, Director at AARP Oregon; Candace Kita Cultural Strategy Director at APANO; Helen Ying and Hoa Nguyen, Co-Chairs at Asian American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC); and Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie, Director at Oregon Office of Immigrant and Refugee Advancement.

In continued celebration of AANHPI, Commissioner Stegmann was invited to speak May 14 at Oregon Rises Above Hate. She joined AANHPI community leaders and members throughout Oregon in standing together to defeat anti-Asian hate and racism through targeted government action, broad educational programs.  

Commissioner Stegmann also hosted an Issue Forum on Homeless Services May 19 to discuss actionable strategies and programs that have been implemented in East County to move people into services and housing.  She wa joined by Matthew McCarl, Community Engagement and Action Director at Cultivate Initiatives; Chief Gullberg, Police Chief at the City of Gresham; Shannon Singleton, Interim Director at the Joint Office of Homeless Services and Sgt. Gerkman, HOPE Team/CPU Supervisor at the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.  

Commissioners Vega Pederson, Stegmann, Meieran and Jayapal join County leaders at the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs.

Commissioner Meieran at the Mamook Tokatee opening.

Commissioner Sharon Meieran

Commissioner Meieran and the Board of County Commissioners proclaimed the first week of May 2022 as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Relatives Week of Awareness. Violence against women is an issue that impacts our entire community. Native American women, girls, and two spirits face the highest rates of violence per capita out of any other race and are often unprotected by the American legal system as tribes hold a unique, sovereign status. Over 5,700 American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls were reported missing as of 2016, according to the National Crime Information Center, but only 116 of those cases were lodged with the Department of Justice. Eighty-four percent of Native women experience violence in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Justice. This epidemic doesn’t just exist on reservations or in rural areas, it exists right here in Multnomah County.

Commissioner Meieran spoke at an MMIW community awareness event sponsored by the City of Portland. The event included a canoe landing, dance performance, vendors, and Native serving community organizations and programs like the County’s Future Generations Collaborative who were on site offering COVID vaccinations and testing.

Commissioner Meieran was horrified to learn of the leaked draft opinion of the Supreme Court to take away our constitutional rights to abortion. In response, she signed onto a joint statement with her fellow Board members decrying the challenge to Roe v Wade, and took to the streets to march with hundreds of community members. Advocating for fair and equitable working conditions is also something Commissioner Meieran has consistently done, so she was happy to participate in the Jobs With Justice march and rally. Commissioner Meieran also attended several community events such as the Native American Youth and Family Center Mamook Tokatee housing development grand opening, the Oregon Rises Luncheon at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, Raise Hope Gala, and the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs Luncheon.  


The Board will take testimony from the public on the FY 2023 Budget at two upcoming hearings:

  • .Wednesday, May 25, 2022, virtual meeting from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m
  • Wednesday, June 1, 2022, virtual meeting from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Sign up to Testify or Submit Comments. Members of the public can watch a livestream of each public budget hearing on the Multnomah County Board YouTube channel. For instructions on calling in by phone to listen to a budget hearing, visit the Board Clerk’s website(