Kafoury to resign to pursue Multnomah County chair seat

Kafoury to resign to pursue Multnomah County chair seat
Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury told KATU on Monday she will resign Friday, effective at the close of business that day.

She is doing so to pursue a campaign for county chair after Jeff Cogen resigned as chair last month following his July admission to a nearly two-year extramarital affair with a county employee.

"I am really proud of the work we have done on the commission," Kafoury told KATU. "We have an amazingly dedicated staff here."

Kafoury pointed to the new Sellwood Bridge, plans for a new courthouse and the work the county has done on finding housing for homeless families as among the things she is most proud of.

"It's also important to note that Multnomah County, in the face of the worst recession in our lives, is on strong financial footing," she added.

In her fifth year on the commission, Kafoury previously served as state representative from North and Northeast Portland from 1999-2004.

She was Democratic leader of the House from 2001-2003.

She will be succeeded by Liesl Wendt, who currently works for the state's Department of Human Services.

Before that, Wendt was executive director of 211.

Kafoury's announcement to resign comes on the heels of former City Commissioner Jim Francesconi's announcement that he will run for the chair seat as well.

It will be Francesconi's first campaign since losing the 2004 mayoral race to Tom Potter.