Staff Spotlight: Tess Bedell - Five Years

Tess Bedell is celebrating five (5) years as a Client Services staffer at Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS), and as a Multnomah County Employee.

Tess grew up on a ranch in Colorado with nostalgically beautiful wide-open spaces, complete with horses, cows, chickens, dogs, and cats. At nineteen, Tess moved to Portland, pulled herself up by her bootstraps far from family, and worked her way up through five different positions at an area hotel. Now at the Troutdale shelter, surrounded by animals, and in close proximity to the Columbia River Gorge, Tess feels closer to home. Her favorite activity is going to the gorge with her Shepherd mix, Jackson.

With her background working with animals, and developed customer service skills, Tess recognizes that her work isn’t just about the animals- it’s about serving people with animals. “If a person has been helped, their pets have been helped too,” Tess says. “At the end of the day, if we’ve been able to protect pets and people, then I’ve done my job. That’s what matters to me.”

Tess admits that her work is much more complex than she originally anticipated. “It’s not just about playing with animals and helping customers. The scenarios we’re faced with can be so much more complicated, but also very rewarding.” For Tess, experienced staff on the team like Jen Huisman offer invaluable perspective and encouragement. “If we feel frustrated, Jen can point out improvements from how things used to be. Her compassion and advocacy for the animals helps us keep focus on what matters.”

Tess would like to see more community awareness of Multnomah County’s central role in sheltering and reuniting stray pets. “People know us as an adoption center, or animal control, but don’t always intuitively know this is the place to look for a lost pet.”

One of Tess’s favorite memories was reuniting Baller the dog with his family after being lost for sixteen months. Watching how overjoyed Baller was to see his person, Arturo, and how happy Arturo was to see Baller after all that time sums up why Tess shows up to work each day.  Baller’s story is the happy ending that Tess and shelter staff want to see for every stray animal that comes through our doors.

Thank you, Tess, for your continued service for the pets and people of Multnomah County.


Woman holding a small dog by her face
Tess with Sasha