PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There are currently about 780 people in the Multnomah County Jail out of nearly 1200 available beds, according to the most recent Jail Capacity Report from February.

To maximize social distancing during the pandemic, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office restricted booking criteria to specific crimes. Those crimes are listed at the bottom of this article.

That move limited capacity at the Multnomah County Jail to between 65-70% over the past year. Before the pandemic, the jail was around 87-95% capacity.

In terms of people, that’s a difference of about 300 more people behind bars.

Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps spoke with KOIN 6 News about the rise in violent crime and property crime in the city in recent years.

Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps, September 15, 2021 (KOIN)

“One of the reasons why there’s no intervention is because there’s no place to take them,” Mapps said. “There’s no room at the inn,” meaning the jail.

Mapps said he thinks it’s time “for the sheriff to take a look at when and how he can expand his capacity, too.”

Police officials maintain they are short-staffed and can’t handle their caseloads. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said they can only prosecute the arrests that make it to their desk.

While many mandates have been lifted for the public, the sheriff’s office told KOIN 6 News COVID-19 protocols are still in place at correctional facilities.

“We don’t anticipate seeing much change here in the foreseeable future, in regards to jail capacity,” said MCSO spokesperson Chris Liedle in a statement.


These are the crimes the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office used for booking criteria during the pandemic:

Any Class A, B, and C felonies; any person Class A Misdemeanor; any mandatory arrest offense; and these non-person misdemeanors — unlawful possession of firearms, carrying concealed weapons, pointing firearm at another person, negligently wounding another person, unlawfully buying a firearm, reckless burning and criminal mischief.