Multnomah County Detention Center (Photo courtesy Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

Updated: July 12, 2024

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In November 2022, Multnomah County voters approved Measure 26-233, a County Charter amendment recommended by the Multnomah County Charter Review Committee that requires Board members to conduct at least one additional inspection of County jails per calendar year, with at least one volunteer member of the public to accompany the Board. This is in addition to the Board’s yearly inspection already required by Oregon Revised Statute (ORS 169.040) and the County Charter.

The additional inspection was carried out for the first time during the 2023 calendar year with four members of the public. Preparations for the 2024 additional inspection are underway, led by a team that includes representatives from the Office of the Chief Operating Officer, Sheriff’s Office, Office of Community Involvement and Central Human Resources. 

Information about the 2024 Applicant Selection Process

Requirements and considerations for applicants include:

  • Applicants are required to pass a criminal history check and to sign a Facility Entry Agreement in order to access a Multnomah County Sheriff's Office facility.
  • Applicants who meet the following qualifications will be prioritized: 
    • Those who live or work in the county, or have a demonstrated connection to Multnomah County.
    • Those who have a connection to communities disproportionately impacted by institutionalization and/or incarceration are also prioritized.

Selected applicants will be expected to:  

  • Complete a full term of up to three years.
  • Attend an orientation that includes information about the expectations and responsibilities of the role, as well as safety measures when visiting facilities. 
  • Attend an annual inspection of the Multnomah County Detention Center and Multnomah County Inverness Jail, in person. 
  • Participate in developing a report with their findings and recommendations from the inspection. 

2024 High-level Timeline

Multnomah County will soon seek applicants for volunteers to accompany the Board of County Commissioners during the 2024 additional inspection. The application will be available by Aug. 1, 2024.

2024 Project Team

2023 Project Summary and Evaluation 

In November 2022, Multnomah County voters approved Measure 26-233. The County Charter now states the County will use an application process to identify at least one volunteer member of the public to accompany the Board every calendar year, with preference for individuals who live in, work in or have demonstrated connections to Multnomah County. Volunteers should be independent of the County Auditor and the facilities they inspect, and given reasonable stipends and administrative support. The additional inspections — within reasonable measures for safety and security — provide access for the County commissioners and volunteer(s) to the facilities. After the inspection, volunteers issue public reports with findings and recommendations.

The first-ever additional inspection took place the following year in 2023. The County performed an evaluation following the completion of the 2023 process to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement to inform subsequent years. Information was gathered from people who were involved in the project, as well as other community members who wished to provide feedback. 

The final Project Evaluation report can be found here. According to those who participated in the evaluation, the first year of implementing the additional inspection was a positive experience overall. However, evaluation participants agreed on three areas for improvement moving forward: 

  • Providing more clarity about the purpose of the inspection and how it differs from a facility tour. 
  • Finding ways to expand the applicant pool through more robust outreach and updating the application process. 
  • Developing strategies that engage people most impacted by incarceration in the planning and implementation process. 

2023 Final Volunteer Reports

The volunteers selected for the 2023 additional inspection submitted reports outlining their findings and recommendations:

Several County officials and departments submitted response and thank you letters:

Background on Measure 26-233

In November 2006, Multnomah County passed Resolution 06-198, which established a policy requiring the Board of County Commissioners to conduct an annual inspection of each County correctional facility, as mandated by Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 169.040. The resolution recognized that regular inspections are essential to ensuring that County jail facilities are being run in accordance with best practices and that the rights of justice-involved individuals  in custody are being protected.  

In November 2022, Multnomah County voters approved Measure 26-233, a County Charter amendment recommended by the Multnomah County Charter Review Committee that requires Board members to conduct at least one additional inspection of County jails administered by the Sheriff's Office per calendar year. The amendment also mandates that at least one volunteer member of the public accompanies each Board member during the inspection. 

The Charter amendment is another step toward ensuring that correctional facilities in Multnomah County are operated in a transparent and accountable manner. Currently, the Multnomah County Detention Center and Multnomah County Inverness Jail undergo external evaluations and receive recommendations provided by the Board of County Commissioners, an annual Corrections Grand Jury process facilitated by the District Attorney’s Office and conducted independently by Multnomah County residents, and the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association’s inspections. These inspections are intended to ensure compliance with applicable statutes and best practices. Other organizations, such as Disability Rights Oregon, also have oversight authority that continues to guide policies and practices.

The involvement of a volunteer member of the public in the inspection process will provide an additional layer of oversight. Multnomah County is committed to upholding high standards of safety, fairness and justice within its correctional facilities.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about the upcoming additional inspection in 2024, contact Andrea Damewood, Strategic Initiatives Manager for the Chief Operating Officer and current Project Manager at andrea.damewood@multco.us

If you have any questions about the additional inspection that occurred in 2023, contact Jenny Carver, Deputy Chief of Staff for Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, at jenny.carver@mcso.us