Can't be in Salem to watch Multnomah County testimony? No problem. Follow Multnomah County experts on Multnomah County's legislative priorities.   

May 14, 2019: SB 837 - Relating to corrections of real market value

"Some of the allowable changes to real market value currently within the law are items such as subdivision, rezoning, remodeling, additions or damage to a property. Conspicuously absent from the law, however, is allowing a change to the real market value should a sale of the property take place indicating the real market value is incorrect. The consequence of this is that an incorrect value, no matter what the property tax implication might be, is allowed to persist for whatever remains of the adjudication period." - Jeff Brown, Division of Assessment, Recording & Taxation Deputy Director

May 7, 2019: HB 3289A - Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to conduct studies on local and regional correctional facility data collection and provision of health care

Taylor Steenblock testimony (141.75 KB)

"Our statutory duty to accept all federal prisoners committed to the physical custody of Multnomah County puts a strain on corrections and medical resources. Currently, there is no minimum or maximum number of inmates that we can be required to receive. We must take what we are given by the federal government, and this makes resource allocation and contract negotiation difficult for the county." - Taylor Steenblock, Government Relations

May 2, 2019: HB 3116A - Requires counties with population of 650,000 or more to use proceeds from sale of foreclosed property to reimburse municipal liens against property for utilities improvements or seismic rehabilitation

Sam Baraso (221.08 KB)

Numerous other jurisdictions are looking to our leadership in advancing and proving the viability and potential of such property-assessed clean energy programs. Your support of this bill will advance our collective work in ensuring the health of the state's building stock, while conserving natural resources and meeting the state's greenhouse gas emissions goals. - Sam Baraso, Office of Sustainability Senior Policy Advisor

May 1, 2019: HB 2112 - Requires Department of Transportation to study development of uniform standards for speed bump height and markings

Ian Cannon testimony (215.55 KB)

"The scientists tell us about this earthquake that it’s not a matter of if, but when. We are working with urgency to make our community more resilient. Multnomah County asks for your support of this legislation to help us invest in the future of our community as we plan for the major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake." - Ian B. Cannon, Transportation Director

April 25, 2019: SB 431A - Creates urban flood safety and water quality district in portion of Multnomah County within urban growth boundary adopted by Metro

Deborah Kafoury testimony (93.23 KB)

Deborah Kafoury board room
Chair Deborah Kafoury speaks at a Multnomah County Board Meeting

"Every year, there is a 10 percent chance of a major flood along the lower Columbia River in Multnomah County, and the risk only grows as climate change and rising sea levels continue to impact river conditions. . . . Creating the Urban Flood Safety & Water Quality District is the critical next step we must take to modernize this important infrastructure, improve flood safety for an area critical to the region’s future,and take a more holistic approach to the management of the historic floodplain along the Columbia." - Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury

April 22, 2019: HB 2196 - Expands transitional housing accommodations allowed inside urban growth boundary to include other structures

Marc Jolin testimony (41.85 KB)

"By partnering with other non-profit partners, Dignity Village has provided critical shelter and support to individuals who are not well suited to traditional facility-based shelters, while also helping those individuals make successful transitions out of homelessness. HB 2916 will provide important authority for local jurisdictions to expand this type of transitional housing intervention, to use the most appropriate available temporary sleeping accommodations given the intended programming and, through the Oregon Health Authority, to ensure that critical life, health, and safety standards are met." - Marc Jolin, Joint Office of Homeless Services Director

April 24, 2019: SB 1008A - Relating to juvenile offender sentencing

Deena Corso testimony (51.64 KB) 

"SB 1008-A would be a positive step for promoting a safer future for Oregon youth and communities. Counter to the viewpoint of some opposing groups, SB 1008-A is not retroactive. This bill creates better alignment between public policy and best practice research and science. Therefore we urge your support for SB 1008-A." - Deena Corso, Juvenile Services Division Director

April 19, 2019: Library Bond

Vailey Oehlke testimony (42 KB)

"A new state-of-the-art library in Rockwood will complement and enhance neighboring services and investments like Rockwood Rising. It will boost economic and workforce development. With expert staff who provide culturally responsive service in six languages and to communities of color, and a commitment to serving those facing the greatest barriers, Multnomah County Library is ready to get to work. With your support, and with the support of Chair Kafoury, Commissioner Stegmann and the other members of the Board of County Commissioners, we can create a vibrant and vital public amenity for generations to come." - Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries

April 10, 2019: HB 3390 - Relating to state funding of counties

Lori Stegmann testimony (132.77 KB)

Lori Stegmann speaks at forum
Commissioner Lori Stegmann speaks at a constituent forum.

"Without transparent, accurate funding data from our state agency partners, we are unable to fully articulate our service costs at the local level.  How we respond to and shape future growth will have an important impact on the economy and quality of life in our state for years to come.  This work must be done across sectors that include industry and entrepreneurship, education, housing and workforce development, land use, transportation and infrastructure; and in concert with current statewide efforts." - Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann

April 5, 2019: SB 1031 - Relating to the Solid Fuel Heating Air Quality Improvement Fund

Jae Douglas testimony (282.84 KB)

"I write to you today in support of SB 1031, which funds community efforts to promote economic development and improve public health by reducing wood smoke emissions. . . . Health risks from exposure to wood smoke include heart disease, lung disease, respiratory distress, low birth weight, and can increase cancer risk; there is a growing body of scientific literature suggests that it can be harmful even when there isn’t enough to see or smell. In Multnomah County, residential wood smoke accounts for 11% of all area source air toxics excess cancer risk." - Jae Douglas, Environmental Health Services Director

April 3, 2019: HB 3183 - Relating to temporary assistance for needy families program

Sarah Lochner testimony (79.01 KB)

"Multnomah County supports HB 3183 with -1 amendment to improve the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. TANF provides children and families with cash assistance to maintain stable housing, keep food on the table, pay for utilities and other unforeseen costs. It is Oregon’s primary safety net for children in deep poverty. . . . The County has long been a partner in two generation work with the State, and we believe that lens should be applied to every approach with every family. Aligning and layering this work will have greater impact than work in silos." - Government Relations Deputy Director Sarah Lochner

April 2, 2019: HB 3408 - Relating to the Solid Fuel Heating Air Quality Improvement Fund

Jae Douglas testimony (289.38 KB)

"I write to you today in support of HB 3408, which funds community efforts to promote economic development and improve public health by reducing wood smoke emissions. . . . The EPA recommends education campaigns and wood stove exchange programs to complement curtailment ordinances and maximize public health benefits. These are resource intensive strategies that are out of reach for many local jurisdictions, including Multnomah County. HB 3408 provides a promising financial avenue for this evidence-based work". - Jae Douglas, Environmental Health Services Director

April 2, 2019: SB 365- Relating to EFU and System Development Charges relating to Marijuana

Jeston Black testimony (25.29 KB)

"Our first concern is the impact that this legislation could have on farm land. The Dash-2 amendment, which states that; the production of marijuana is an outright permitted use of land that is located within an Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) zone, is of concern to Multnomah County in that it would preclude our ability to limit licenses in EFU to one for production and/or licensing for each EFU lot and it would preclude our ability to regulate the use with reasonable time, place, and manner provisions." - Jeston Black, Government Relations Director

April 1, 2019: Establishes Health Care for All Oregon Board to be responsible for planning and oversight of Health Care for All Oregon Plan

Dr. Sharon Meieran testimony (125.55 KB)

Commissioner Sharon Meieran
Commissioner Sharon Meieran speaks at the 2019 Legislative Breakfast

"In February, 2018, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution strongly urging legislative action to achieve universal health care access. A Universal Health Care Commission would enable us to focus and prioritize our collective efforts to achieve universal care, and would be a meaningful step toward addressing the crisis of our deeply flawed,expensive system of care that has truly spiraled out of control." - Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran

March 28, 2019: Public safety testimony - SB 969, 966, 1008 and 968

Deenna Corso testimony (236.25 KB)

"Locally and nationally, Youth of Color are far more likely than White youth to be charged, prosecuted and sentenced in adult court. . . . Senate Bills 969, 966, 1008 and 968 seek to remedy the discrepancy between Oregon’s current public policy and modern science related to youth justice for all Oregon youth, but specifically for Oregon’s youth of color. On behalf of Multnomah County, I urge your support of these youth justice reform bills." - Deena Corso, Multnomah County Juvenile Services Division Director

March 27, 2019: SB 665 - Relating to responses to opioid overdoses in schools

Dr. Paul Lewis testimony (150.33 KB)

Health Officer Dr. Paul Lewis oversees the EMS program.
Dr. Paul Lewis

"We are supportive of the intent of this bill to expand access to naloxone and improve the ability for educators to provide life-saving assistance. We are however concerned that there are several elements of this bill that may actually unintentionally reduce access to naloxone, especially for social services agencies and their employees. Naloxone is a life-saving antidote that can reverse potentially fatal opioid overdose. It has no addictive properties or serious side effects and has been in wide-spread use for decades." - Dr. Paul Lewis, Health Officer

March 25, 2019: HB 3028 - Increases percentage of federal earned income credit allowable as credit against Oregon personal income tax

Mary Li testimony (93.29 KB)

"We recognize that poverty despite work is the rule, not the exception. Further, poverty disproportionately disadvantages families and children of color. The EITC is one of the most sensible aspects of our tax code to address this problem. It is a tax credit for working people with low incomes, and a few thousand dollars allows them to stay current on bills or to afford a car repair so they can get to work. EITC is especially important in Multnomah County where the highest number of EITC recipients, and families of color, live. When working people can keep up basic spending, it boosts families, communities, and our economy." - Mary Li, Multnomah Idea Lab Director

March 21, 2019: HB 2328 - Relating to unauthorized use of a vehicle

Lori Stegmann testimony (118.76 KB)

"House Bill 2328 provides clearer definitions for prosecuting an individual who has stolen a vehicle. If passed, this will stop chronic vehicle thieves and reduce the amount of vehicles that are stolen in our community. It closes a loophole that has allowed repeat offenders to continue to take advantage of our justice system, and hurt residents and businesses in our community." - Commissioner Lori Stegmann

March 21, 2019: SB 1 - Establishes Statewide System of Care Task Force

Dr. Sharon Meieran testimony (100.81 KB)

"Senate Bill 1 formalizes a shared commitment to hold each of our systems accountable for creating a more seamless, coordinated, culturally responsive, quality system of care for vulnerable youth. As counties are part of this continuum, I would support an amendment to include specific Local Mental Health Authority representation on the Advisory Council envisioned by the bill, as well as inclusion of consumers and people of color." - Commissioner Sharon Meieran

Ebony Clarke testimony (623.41 KB)

"By establishing a statewide System of Care Task Force, children, youth and families involved in multiple systems will be better resourced and connected to needed supports and services. This effort will help strengthen the regional system and collaboration across systems. With more structure and intentionality, we will be able to serve and support consumers and constituents by reducing barriers and having a more unified voice to advocate for state level systems change." - Ebony Clarke, Interim Mental Health & Addiction Services Division Director

March 19, 2019: HB 2007 - Relating to engine emissions

Dr. Paul Lewis testimony (178.03 KB)

"HB 2007 takes several steps that will reduce harmful emissions from unnecessarily dirty diesel engines and improve health for all Oregonians from infants to seniors.Diesel engine exhaust is a dirty mixture of gases and extraordinarily tiny toxic particles. The immediate consequence of breathing diesel exhaust is respiratory irritation and worsening of lung conditions like asthma. Even more problematic however are the extensive harmful effects throughout the body including heart and lung disease, cancer and stroke." - Dr. Paul Lewis, Health Officer

March 18, 2019: HB 2802 - Establishes the Home Repair and Rehabilitation Fund 

Peggy Samolinski testimony (62.69 KB)

"In Multnomah County we use flexible local funds together with more restrictive federal funds to perform repairs that can’t be made with our federal funds.  For example, we may not be able to weatherize a home without replacing the roof -- and roof replacement is not an allowable cost. Sometimes we have local funds for this purpose, and sometimes we have to turn down the project.  The funds in this bill would allow us to repair, weatherize and modify more homes and turn down fewer households." - Peggy Samolinski, Youth and Family Services Director

March 18, 2019: HB 2310 - Relating to workforce development pilot program 

Lori Stegmann testimony (124.52 KB)

"Jobs and economic development are vital for communities to thrive, and I know that if this bill passes,it will have a significant impact for folks in my district. The lack of investment into East Multnomah County has produced poor outcomes. It is clear that the needs are great and that a state investment will yield a stronger workforce that will benefit a historically underserved community. I ask for your recognition of these unmet needs in East Multnomah County and strongly urge you to support this bill." - Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann

March 18, 2019: SB 763 - Relating to civil commitment

Sharon Meieran testimony (124.58 KB)

"Oregon currently has one of the strictest laws in the country in terms of when someone can be civilly committed, including when they can be required to take medications, and what authority providers have to direct their care. This high bar exists for a reason, and I do not take lightly the fundamental importance of civil rights and self-determination. But I think that we must do better by one another. I believe we can better balance an individual’s rights to self-determination with their right to receive assertive, compassionate care when they are not able to provide it for themselves. Senate Bill 763 provides an opportunity to shift this balance, thoughtfully and intentionally,toward a legal framework that is better able to meet the needs of people in crisis." - Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran

March 14, 2019: SB 5515 - Relating to the financial administration of the Department of Justice

Shannon Rose testimony (81.47 KB)

"At the Multnomah County Domestic and Sexual Violence Coordination Office (part of DCHS), we work as both a funder and a partner to a committed network of community-based victim service providers providing life-saving support and resources to survivors within Multnomah County. We know that Oregon Domestic and Sexual Violence Services is a critical part of the infrastructure we have created in our state to provide necessary supports and safety mechanisms to survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Current ODSVS funding levels remain insufficient to meet the needs of survivors in Multnomah County and throughout our state and we need to double down on current investment levels to assist more survivors at risk." - Shannon Rose, Multnomah County Domestic & Sexual Violence Program Specialist

March 14, 2019: SB 5525 - Appropriates moneys from General Fund to Oregon Health Authority for certain biennial expenses

Multnomah County testimony (162.97 KB)

The Board of County Commissioners
The Board of County Commissioners photographed in 2019

"We know that you have difficult choices ahead of you, as there are many worthy programs and not enough money to fund them all. But we also recognize that unless we make a significant investment in community-based behavioral health programs and the workforce to provide those services, the problem will only get worse as our population continues to grow. We can’t nickel and dime this very large problem and expect more than a nickel and dime result." - Multnomah County

Neal Rotman testimony (109.2 KB)

"At Multnomah County, improving the Behavioral Health system is a top priority and funding these areas at the full level recommended . . . will impact the lives of some of our County's most vulnerable residents at their most vulnerable times. . . .  Multnomah County requests that cannabis tax revenue be allocated on top of existing prevention and treatment dollars, so that Oregon can begin to make real progress in addiction recovery and prevention." - Neal Rotman, Interim Mental Health & Addiction Services Division Deputy Director

March 13, 2019: HJR 13 - Proposing amendment to Oregon Constitution relating to regulation of moneys in political campaigns

Dr. Sharon Meieran testimony (172.31 KB)

"Oregon is one of only five states with no limits on political contributions, and as a candidate I experienced the impact of this firsthand. The reality is that raising money to run for office is a necessity everywhere in our country. But the process is less equitable in Oregon than in other parts of the country due to lack of contribution limits. . . . It is clear that voters overwhelmingly support reasonable limits on campaign contributions. I encourage you to act in this session to refer a measure to the ballot in 2020 clarifying that campaign finance limits are allowed under the Oregon Constitution." - Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran

March 13, 2019: HB 2233 - Relating to marijuana

Dr. Jennifer Vines testimony (169.92 KB)

"The intention of the (Indoor Clean Air Act) is to protect employees and the public from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Creating exemptions, like allowing temporary events to allow indoor smoking or vaping, threaten to weaken the law and encourage exemptions to allow additional smoke shops, cigar bars, and hookah lounges. Additionally, exemptions allowing use of one type of product is confusing for the public and enforcement of the law." - Dr. Jennifer Vines, Deputy Health Officer

March 12, 2019: SB 792 - Relating to auto dismantlers

Susheela Jayapal testimony (84.02 KB)

Commissioner Jayapal Women's March
Commissioner Jayapal speaks at the 2019 Women's March

"While more work is needed on this issue, SB 792 is a start. It will provide a way for the state to make sure businesses are following the law and protecting our communities. I’m here to support the bill, and also to express my hope that it will continue to be worked on and improved in the next legislative session, where I hope to see more robust regulations and protections for our communities’ health and well-being -- particularly the health and well-being of our most vulnerable neighbors." - Commissioner Susheela Jayapal

March 11, 2019: SB 24 - Modifies procedures related to criminal defendants lacking fitness to proceed

Sarah Lochner testimony (30.23 KB)

"While these bills will make the forensic evaluation system more efficient, improve communications among parties, and may partially relieve the great pressure on the limited state hospital beds, these bills are not going to solve the underlying problems. . . . Unless we make a significant investment in community based services and the workforce to provide those services, the problem will only get worse as our population continues to grow. We can’t nickel and dime this very large problem and expect more than a nickel and dime result." - Sarah Lochner, Deputy Government Relations Director

March 8, 2019:HB 2949 - Relating to property taxation of manufactured structures

Lori Stegmann testimony (131.62 KB)

"As the housing crisis continues in Multnomah County and throughout the state, it is imperative to have every available tool at our disposal.  House Bill 2949 as amended would allow Multnomah County more flexibility to work with our partners to develop a policy specific to the needs of our county.  Currently, Multnomah County has 4,945 manufactured structures.  Over 63% (3,133) of those structures are located in my district.  When tax bills become burdensome for residents, there is less money for food, healthcare, transportation, and utilities, resulting in an increased dependence on County programs and departments." - Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann

March 7, 2019: HB 2831 - Relating to residential peer support for individuals with mental illness who are in crisis

Deborah Kafoury testimony (217.33 KB)

"I write to enthusiastically support House Bill 2831, which would expand peer respite services in Oregon. Investments in the community mental health system over the past decades have tended to focus on crisis services and longer term residential care. While these investments have been important, it has left a "missing middle" in the continuum. Increasing services such as peer respite will help fill that gap, and provide a vital resource to those in need of short term stabilization." - Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury

Sharon Meieran testimony (131.42 KB)

"Peer-delivered respite, crisis prevention, and support services are an evidence-based,cost-effective, smart alternative to the clinical and crisis-oriented services we more frequently invest in. Peer-staffed crisis respite is proven to reduce rates of Medicaid-funded hospitalizations and health expenditures for people who access the respite. We should consider these kinds of services an essential part of our system of care that make other services more effective and appropriately used." - Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran

March 6, 2019: HB 2702 - Authorizes City of Portland to designate speed on highways city has jurisdiction of as road authority 

Jessica Vega Pederson testimony (306.52 KB)

Jessica Vega Pederson
Jessica Vega Pederson speaks at the 2019 Legislative Breakfast

"The fact is, speed kills. The chance a pedestrian will die when hit by a driver at 30 mph doubles when a person is hit at 40 mph. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for young people (ages 1-24) who suffer unintentional injuries in Multnomah County. Older adults (ages 75+) die from traffic crashes at nearly twice the rate of Multnomah County’s population as a whole. . . . Allowing ODOT to delegate speed setting authority will enable local jurisdictions for the safety of all those that use a street." - Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson

March 1, 2019: HB 2897 - Relating to grants for early childhood programs

Peggy Samolinski testimony (81.65 KB)

"There are many culturally specific programs in Oregon that have developed high-quality, innovative program models that are proven to produce positive outcomes for children of color, immigrants and refugees. We need to take advantage of these effective programs and community expertise to ensure the success of our youngest residents - and therefore, our future economic stability as a state." - Peggy Samolinski, Youth & Family Services Division Director

Feb. 28, 2019: HB 3063 - Removes ability of parent to decline required immunizations on behalf of child for reason other than child's indicated medical diagnosis

Sharon Meieran testimony (123.08 KB)

"The fact is: immunization is safe, effective, and the benefits vastly outweigh potential risks. There is a lot that we don’t know, about environmental exposures, toxins, and health risks. But one thing we do know, that has been researched comprehensively, is that vaccinations are safe, they are effective in preventing devastating diseases, and they don’t cause autism." Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran

Katie Shriver Testimony (30.87 KB)

"I live in SE Portland and am writing today to encourage you to support HB 3063 to help kids like my son, Charlie, avoid vaccine-preventable diseases. . . . Sick kids like Charlie are depending on other parents to vaccinate their healthy children to prevent an outbreak. To me, freedom means that I’m able to take Charlie places and try to make sure he gets to have at least some normal childhood experiences even though he is burdened by the bad luck of his cancer." Katie Shriver, Chief of Staff to Commissioner Dr. Sharon Meieran

Feb. 27: HB 2639 - Relating to nutrition assistance for low income families 

Kathleen Humphries testimony (149.64 KB)

"This bill extends nutrition support benefits to Oregon’s low-moderate income children from age five until they go to kindergarten. It benefits WIC eligible families directly, it is well-considered, and deserves to be supported and implemented. . . . This bill builds upon the existing capacity of the local WIC programs and is therefore a bargain financially. Oregon’s WIC programs have the capacity to continue services for the 5-year old children who are not yet in kindergarten." - Kathleen Humphries, PhD, Maternal, Child, and Family Health Nutrition Program Manager

Feb. 27: HB 2626 - Relating to nutrition assistance for low income families 

Kathleen Humphries testimony (148.94 KB)

"This bill, including its clarifying amendment, extends availability of WIC services to mothers of children up to the child’s second birthday. . . . This bill is an excellent way to protect women of childbearing age by supporting their nutritional health after pregnancy and during the interbirth interval. Pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding take a toll on a woman's health and it often takes several years for a woman's nutritional reserves to reach pre-pregnancy levels." - Kathleen Humphries, PhD, Maternal, Child, and Family Health Nutrition Program Manager

Feb. 27: HB 2020 - Relating to greenhouse gas emissions

Deborah Kafoury testimony (5.55 MB)

"The impacts of climate change are affecting our state and communities now. Without meaningful action to reduce emissions the impacts of climate change, drought, fire, floods, sea level rise, and consequences we have yet to contemplate threaten not only the health and welfare of our residents, but the very underpinnings of a free and ordered society. The scientific consensus is clear, we must act now,a nd the cost of inaction is too great a burden to bear." - Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury

Feb. 25: HB 2760 - Relating to funding school meals

Peggy Samolinski testimony (85.05 KB)

"Multnomah County schools educate 93,000 students per year. Research indicates these students have a better chance of succeeding in academics and life when they have nutritious school meals. Our county has 113,950 people who lack consistent access to adequate food. Many families who experience food insecurity earn just a little too much to qualify for free meals at schools. Universal meals eliminate this “benefits cliff” so that students could receive meals no matter what their household earns." - Peggy Samolinski, Youth & Family Services Division Director

 Feb. 25: HB 2139 - Relating to earned income tax credits

Mary Li testimony (99.91 KB)

"The EITC is one of the most sensible aspects of our tax code. It is a tax credit for working people with low incomes, and a few thousand dollars allows them to stay current on bills or to afford a car repair so they can get to work. EITC is especially important in Multnomah County where the highest number of EITC recipients live. When working people can keep up basic spending, it boosts families, communities and our economy." - Mary Li, Multnomah Idea Lab Director

Feb. 25: SB 584 - Relating to safe schools to learn 

Sarah Lochner testimony (179.6 KB)

"Multnomah County is supportive of the intent of this bill as the rates of violence and suicide in schools are far too high and have ripple effects that go far beyond the learning environment. There is clearly a need to provide more safety and services, and we are supportive of a comprehensive, coalition approach to reduce violence, bullying, and suicide. I did want to let the committee know, however, that because Multnomah County is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we believe this bill can and should do better in these areas."  - Sarah Lochner, Deputy Government Relations Director

Feb. 22, 2019: Clean diesel legislation

Diesel Pollution - Bad for Oregon's Health (342.74 KB)

John Wasiutynski
John Wasiutynski is Multnomah County's Sustainability Director

"The state must develop policies that both require the phase-out of dirty diesel engines, and also provide incentives for those engines to be retrofit or replaced. Without a policy driver, business has no incentive to adopt cleaner engines. On the other hand, for every $1 invested in cleaning up dirty diesel engines there is a $10 return in terms of public health. That is why Multnomah County and the City of Portland are harnessing the power of the market to drive the industry toward cleaner equipment." - Multnomah County Sustainability

Feb. 22, 2019: SJR 2 - Proposing amendment to Oregon Constitution relating to ad valorem property taxation

Susheela Jayapal testimony (77.76 KB)

Susheela Jayapal swearing in
Commissioner Susheela Jayapal speaks at her swearing in ceremony

"A system that has two homes with similar market values paying significantly different amounts in property taxes is--simply put--unfair. In Multnomah County, we see this unfairness playing out between properties within blocks of each other--perhaps one was in terrible condition in 1995, when the rates were locked in, and it's now paying taxes on a far lower assessed value than a nearby home that had a higher valuation at the time." - Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal 

Feb. 21, 2019: HB 2063 -  Utilizing VW settlement dollars for clean up of dirty diesel engines

Multnomah County testimony (201.48 KB)

Multnomah County leaders with state elected officials
(Left to right): Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann, Gov. Kate Brown, Sen. Shemia Fagan, and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury

"By applying Volkswagen settlement funds to cleaning up dirty engines the legislature will improve the quality of life for Oregonians, while also reaping long-term savings from avoided medical costs and lost worker productivity. For every dollar invested in cleaning up old diesel engines, the state will earn back ten dollars in public health benefits."  - Multnomah County

Feb. 21, 2019: HB 5017 - Relating to the financial administration of the Department of Environmental Quality

Sarah Lochner testimony (179.29 KB)

Auditor speaks with state leaders
(Left to right): Sen. Shemia Fagan, Multnomah County Auditor Jennifer McGuirk and Rep. Janelle Bynum

"Multnomah County urges your support for passage HB 5017, which would fund the vital services provided by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Clean air, water and land are the basic building blocks to a safe and prosperous community. These life sustaining resources are too often threatened through malice and neglect, however, and it is only by ensuring adequate resources for DEQ, and the dedicated environmental professionals who work there, that the legislature can assure continued improvement in the environmental conditions of our beautiful state." - Sarah Lochner, Deputy Government Relations Director

Feb. 21, 2019: HB 2700 & SB 262 - Extends sunset for property tax exemption for multi-unit housing

Deborah Kafoury testimony (238.68 KB)

Chair Kafoury legislative breakfast
Chair Deborah Kafoury speaks at the 2019 Legislative Breakfast.

"The housing crisis is a market driven problem. From the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008 to speculative investment in high-end apartment buildings, low-income households have borne the brunt of this ongoing crisis. . . . The impact from the housing crisis has left human services departments across the state struggling to keep up with the population's need for assistance. Multnomah County is no exception. I support both HB 2700 and SB 262 -- the 10-year extension of MULTE -- because this policy incentivizes the private market to assist in solving the problem at the supply end." - Chair Deborah Kafoury

Feb. 19, 2019: HB 2509 - Relating to checkout bags

Lori Stegmann testimony (128.36 KB)

"While Portland has had a single-use plastic bag ban since 2011, cities in East Multnomah County have had a difficult time implementing a single-use plastic bag ban. Some East County cities have multiple retail stores, while others have few. Efforts to address this issue on a multi-city level in the summer of 2018 were stalled as each city explored various avenues. . . . Having a statewide single-use plastic bag ban would improve this process and streamline the implementation, especially for small businesses with multiple locations."  - Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann

Feb. 15, 2019: HB 2020 - Relating to greenhouse gas emissions

Sarah Lochner testimony (200.98 KB)

"The World Health Organization has called climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. We see these impacts affecting vulnerable populations first and worst: older adults who are more vulnerable to extreme heat, kids who are more vulnerable to contamination in our air and water, and low income communities who lack the resources to quickly adapt. Climate change is a threat multiplier for our communities of color who already cope with a legacy of historic injustice and a disproportionate burden of chronic illness." - Sarah Lochner, Deputy Government Relations Director

Feb. 13, 2019: HB 5026 - Relating to the financial administration of the Department of Human Services

"Our commitment to providing high-quality, timely services is unwavering. But with increasing caseload size and complexity, plus additional reporting requirements, everything takes longer. This creates delays for new clients and impacts our overall service delivery. Without adequate resources to address client needs, staff are overwhelmed and concerned for the safety of clients." - Dawn Alisa Sadler, senior manager for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Division 

"In my role as a case manager, I often face the need to prioritize and make tough choices instead of being able to support all my clients as much as they need. . . . The good news is, I and my fellow case managers are able to do significant work with the individuals and families we have today. With adequate funding, I would be able to give each person the time they need, living up to a vision we all share." - Mercedes Gutierrez, case manager for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. 

Feb. 12, 2019: HB 2551 - Relating to workforce assistance to veterans in construction industry

Kimberly Douthit testimony (68.85 KB)

legislative breakfast
(Left to right): Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek talks with Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson at the 2019 Legislative Breakfast

"While the creation of the grant programs proposed by this bill will offer opportunities for training, business development, and employment to veterans wishing to pursue work in the construction industry, I suggest making some amendments that could better ensure these new programs are equitably accessible by all veteran demographics. . . . I recommend including language in section (4) (a) which adds preference for women or minority owned/operated programs or programs that favor women or minority candidates. In addition, I recommend amending section (4) (b) to include preference for candidates from non-dominant demographics who apply for assistance from the resulting pilot programs." - Kimberly Douthit, Multnomah County Veterans Services

Feb. 11, 2019: HB 2001 - Relating to housing; requires counties with population greater than 15,000 to allow middle housing in lands zoned for single-family dwellings within urban growth boundary

Deborah Kafoury testimony (68.85 KB)Chair Deborah Kafoury

"The market’s job is to make money; it’s our job to guard against its excesses. Right now, after ten years, this housing crisis is no longer an excess, it’s an indulgence. Together, we can correct for that. That’s what the bill before you is designed to do. HB 2001 addresses the root cause of this housing crisis: the shortage of housing." - Chair Deborah Kafoury

Feb. 11, 2019: HB 2173 - Relating to broadband 

Dr. Sharon Meieran testimony (122.29 KB)

"We know that today, access to reliable, high-speed internet is not a luxury but a necessity -- schools increasingly require students to complete homework online, job seekers are often required to file applications online, and more activities go “paperless” every day, like paying bills or purchasing public transit passes. As our lives move further online, we must work to mitigate the very real negative impact that inequitable internet access can have in our communities." - Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran

Feb. 7, 2019: SB 177 - Relating to palliative care

Lee Girard testimony (97.67 KB)

"In Oregon, hospice eligibility requirements leave a gap in the care system for palliative care. A patient must have six months or less life expectancy and not be seeking curative treatment to receive hospice care. Palliative care fills this gap and can be provided in a person’s home, or in an institutional setting. Referral to palliative care also helps prevent frequent emergency department visits and re-admissions to a hospital." - Lee Girard, Aging, Disability, & Veterans Services Division Director

Feb. 6, 2019: SB 584 - Relating to safe schools to learn 

Sarah Lochner testimony (173.27 KB)

"We are supportive of the intent of this bill as high rates of violence and suicide in schools harm youth and the learning environment. There is clearly a need to provide more safety and we are supportive of a comprehensive, coalition approach to reduce violence, bullying, and suicide." - Sarah Lochner, Deputy Government Relations Director

Feb. 5, 2019: HB 2257 - Relating to drugs

"Better training and credentialing can certainly improve the quality of care that providers offer to clients -- but we will only realize those benefits if we are able to appropriately compensate this better-trained and prepared workforce. Accreditation and training must go hand in hand with better working conditions if we want to truly improve quality, access, and continuity of care." - Dr. Sharon Meieran, Multnomah County Commissioner
"As the local government responsible for incarceration and the health of incarcerated inmates, Multnomah County is actively exploring and piloting projects to prevent overdose deaths and to connect offenders to life-saving recovery treatment. As part of the larger state justice system however, our efforts must be synchronized and coordinated with the Oregon Department of Corrections." - Dr. Paul Lewis, Multnomah County Health Officer

Jan. 31, 2019: HB 2600 - Relating to disease outbreaks in congregate care facilities

"Infectious disease outbreaks in long-term care facilities are an almost daily reality for the Multnomah County Health Department. The better prepared facilities are to detect and respond to outbreaks, the less likely the disease is to spread among the residents." - Sarah Lochner, Deputy Government Relations Director

Jan. 30, 2019: SB 88 - Relating to accessory dwelling units

"The County believes that this bill has the potential to assist many communities throughout Oregon. . . . The County supports the Bill and respectfully requests an amendment to allow Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to be sited within an existing Urban Reserve." - Michael Cerbone, Land Use Planning Director