If you drive from East Portland to West Portland, likely you travel on a city-owned street, over a county-owned bridge, onto another city-owned street. A county fire-patrol boat might pass beneath you on the Willamette, heading north, with a city fire boat heading south. And the homeless adult you pass on the bridge is the city’s concern, while the homeless youth you pass is the county’s concern.
Does this make sense to anyone?
Since 1984, the City of Portland and Multnomah County have operated under an agreement about who does what. But after three decades, the lines have become blurred. An audit this year showed that the old agreement does not provide a comprehensive listing of the core, basic services of the city and county.
I have begun working with the Multnomah County Commission to craft a new understanding of city/county roles. In short: To define “who does what” and “who pays for it.” Together, we can bring this essential understanding of how we function into the 21st century.