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Audit: Portland, Multnomah County Need To Better Define Roles

If you can’t tell the difference between what your city government does, and what the county does, you may not be alone. A new audit out Tuesday calls on Portland and Multnomah County to clarify their core functions.

Portland City Hall

Portland City Hall

City of Portland

The Portland Auditor’s report says that without clear limits, the city and county have both invested in efforts that may stretch beyond what local governments typically do.

There are areas they share – like law enforcement. Auditors found overlap there. They say suspects are sometimes apprehended by the county, transported by the city, jailed by the county, and finger-printed at the city’s expense.

City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade said the city and county agreed 30 years ago to delineate their core functions – and still haven’t.

“Some of the cooperation and interaction between the city and county, at least in my observation has sometimes devolved to fingerpointing – ‘that’s not my responsibility,’” she said.

Before she became Portland’s auditor, Griffin-Valade was Multnomah County auditor.

In his response to the audit, Mayor Charlie Hales said he wants to work with the county to ensure “maximum efficiency and effectiveness.”

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