Audits in the News: Food Safety, Cybersecurity, and affordable housing

We here in the audits division are proud that the work we do makes a difference. Our work attracts the attention of the legislature, statewide news sources, and even local media outlets. Local media coverage of our audits is just another way we communicate with the people of Oregon about the work that we’re doing on their behalf to make government better. This is part of an ongoing series of posts rounding up recent instances in which the Oregon Audits Division makes a cameo in the local news.

Three of our more recent audits made a big impact on important issues in Oregonians’ lives. Accordingly, they made a lot of headlines! One audit team looked at the backlog in food safety inspections the Oregon Department of Agriculture struggled to address. Another found multiple agencies with significant cybersecurity lapses that could put the state’s sensitive information at risk. Another team examined the shortcomings of Oregon’s affordable housing supply as overseen by the Oregon Housing and Community Services agency.

You can read the entire Department of Agriculture audit here; the IT cybersecurity audit here; and the Oregon Housing and Community Services audit here.


Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) – Oregon Falls Behind In Food Safety Inspections

Read the story here.

“The state of Oregon is running behind schedule when it comes to conducting food safety inspections. That’s the conclusion of an audit released Tuesday by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. The Oregon Department of Agriculture is in charge of inspecting food manufacturers and grocery stores. There are more than 12,000 of those businesses in Oregon.”


The Oregonian/OregonLive – Oregon has large backlog of food safety inspections, audit finds

Read the story here.

“Nearly a quarter of the food businesses in Oregon from groceries to dairies are overdue for safety inspections, according to an audit from the Secretary of State’s office. The 2,841 companies are at least three months’ past due, the audit said.”


The Statesman Journal – Oregon food safety inspections lagging, inconsistent

Read the story here.

“Oregon’s Food Safety Program is significantly behind on inspections, which could put public safety and the agriculture industry at risk, a state audit released Tuesday concludes. Nearly one-quarter of inspections are at least three months past due, the report from the Oregon Secretary of State Audits Division said. Inspection procedures and penalties are inconsistent. And there is no system to ensure food operators are licensed.”


The Bend Bulletin – Oregon ag department faces backlog of food-safety inspections

Read the story here.

“When Oregon food safety inspector Jon Harrang showed up at Sparrow Bakery on Scott Street in Bend on Nov. 29, he was more than two years late to conduct a routine inspection, according to an Oregon Department of Agriculture database. Harrang cited the wholesale bakery, which also has a deli counter, for handling food with bare hands and failing to keep items in the refrigerated display case below 41 degrees F. Co-owner Jessica Keating said those problems were corrected as soon as possible, and she actually wishes the state inspector would visit more often.”


Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) – Audit: Oregon State Government Has Significant Lapses in Cybersecurity

Read the story here.

“An audit released Wednesday shows significant cyber security lapses in Oregon government agencies. The audit conducted by the Secretary of State’s Office reviewed 13 of the state’s 300 agencies and boards. It found some agencies don’t even have a digital security plan. Those that do are underfunded, understaffed or use outdated software.”


The Oregonian/OregonLive – Audit: Oregon’s cyber security shortfalls leave state data vulnerable to hackers

Read the story here.

“Cyber security weaknesses at state agencies are putting Oregonians’ sensitive data at risk, according to a new audit released on Wednesday. Adding to the problem, auditors found that state information technology officials were unprepared to shoulder responsibility for fixing the agencies’ issues, something Gov. Kate Brown directed them to do in September.”


The Portland Tribune – Audit: Agencies still face IT security vulnerabilities

Read the story here.

“Longstanding information technology security weaknesses continue at several state government agencies, according to a state audit released Wednesday. The Secretary of State’s Office, after spending a year auditing 13 state agencies for information technology security, warned in a report that the failure of the state to implement changes increased the risk of a ‘security incident.'”


The Associated Press – Oregon state agencies have weak IT security, audit finds

Read the story here.

“Oregon’s chief auditing agency sharply criticized inadequate security of state agencies’ computer programs and data, saying Wednesday that the governor, Legislature and others must create and fund a statewide security plan. The audit by Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins’ office said the weaknesses increase the risk of a cyberattack and put individuals’ private information at risk, including income tax data, Social Security numbers, driver’s license information and medical records.”


The Oregonian/OregonLive – Audit: Oregon’s administrative failures put affordable housing supply at risk

Read the story here.

“Oregon’s failure to track and plan for affordable housing has put the state at risk of losing existing units in the midst of a housing crisis, according to a new audit released on Tuesday. Auditors from the Secretary of State’s office found that poor data tracking, a lack of strategic planning and communication problems at Oregon Housing and Community Services undermined the housing finance agency’s ability to preserve existing units and add new ones.”


The Portland Tribune – Audit: Shortcomings at OHCS put state housing inventory at risk

Read the story here.

“Oregon Housing and Community Services has failed to provide adequate leadership in addressing the state’s housing crisis, according to an audit released Tuesday, Dec. 6, by the Secretary of State’s Office. OHCS’s role is to preserve affordable housing by administering a $26 million IRS tax credit program that provides one of the largest sources of funding for affordable housing in the state. The agency also provides loans and grants to private and nonprofit housing developers who can use the money to maintain affordable housing.”


The Bend Bulletin – Audit finds issues with state housing agency

Read the story here.

“Amid a housing shortfall that political leaders say is a priority to address, Oregon’s lead state agency on affordable housing is falling short on its responsibility to help guide policymaking to reduce homelessness and keep residents in homes. That’s according to Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins’ office, which released an audit Tuesday that described problems with Oregon Housing and Community Services, which handles state and federal subsidies and is the go-to agency for housing policy.”


Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) – Audit: Oregon Agency Putting Affordable Housing At Risk

Read the story here.

“An audit released Tuesday finds communication problems and a lack of data at the Oregon Housing and Community Services agency are putting affordable rentals at risk. The state’s housing agency is charged with maintaining and increasing affordable housing in Oregon. It’s also responsible for developing the state’s strategic housing plan.”


The Portland Tribune – State agency won’t have key data for housing policy this session

Read the story here.

“The state housing agency won’t finish a statewide affordable housing inventory before the end of the 160-day legislative session during which lawmakers could consider millions of dollars in funding for affordable housing. The inventory is intended to give agencies, lawmakers and nonprofit housing investors an accurate picture of what affordable housing exists and what federally backed projects are at risk of losing affordability because of expiring contracts with property owners.”