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County library supporter wants to run for Deborah Kafoury's seat

Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury hasn’t filed to run for county chair yet, but now two candidates have announced they want to fill her seat when she vacates it.

Brian Wilson, who led three campaigns in support of Multnomah County’s library system, formed a political action committee and says he’ll file once Kafoury resigns her post to run for county chair. State Rep. Jules Bailey, D-Portland, earlier announced he’ll run for Kafoury’s seat.

Neither can file until Kafoury resigns her seat, but that would require her to leave the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and lose her salary. Kafoury has announced she’s running for the seat recently vacated by Jeff Cogen, but says she wants to help bring stability to the county for awhile by retaining her commissioner’s seat.

Wilson was an operations and finance manager for Kalberer Co. in Portland for 18 years, but resigned this summer to form a consulting firm. He says he’d planned to run for Kafoury’s seat in 2015, because she would be term-limited from running again. But Cogen’s resignation, and Kafoury’s interest in moving into the chair’s slot, prompted him to jump in sooner.

Wilson, who lives in the Hillsdale area, first got involved in county affairs when he served on a task force that helped move the Sellwood Bridge replacement project forward. Then he was appointed in 2009 to be chairman of the county Charter Review Commission. One of the key recommendations of the commission was to pave the way for a separate library district.

Wilson was named in 2010 to be chairman of the longstanding political action committee used for library levy campaigns. He led the campaign that enabled the library district, then led two campaigns last year to secure library funding: a short-term levy and then a full-blown library district. The district put the library on stable financial footing for the first time, and freed up more property taxes for other county operations.