Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury and former Portland City Commissioner Jim Francesconi figure to be the main contenders to be the next Multnomah County chair, though they’ll be joined in the race by six lesser-known candidates.

Eight people filed for the May 20 election by Tuesday’s filing deadline, including Kafoury, Francesconi, James Rowell, Steven Reynolds, Aquiles Montas, Wes Soderback and Patty Burkett.

The position came open when Jeff Cogen resigned after admitting he had an affair with a county health specialist. Cogen’s former chief of staff, Marissa Madrigal, is filling the post until an interim replacement can be elected in May. The interim will serve the rest of the year.

On the same May 20 ballot, voters will select someone to fill the post for the next four-year term starting in January.

Rowell only filed to serve the interim term, while the rest filed to serve both terms.

Rowell is a retiree who worked for Viewmaster Tyco, once based in Tigard.

Reynolds served as a U.S. Army officer, and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy with an engineering degree.

Montas is a small business owner and community activist. He holds a business administration degree from Portland State University.

Burkett lists her occupation as a “non fiction research advocate.” She is an Army veteran and formerly worked for Oregon Health & Science University.

Soderback is a self-employed systems integrator. He formerly worked for the U.S. Merchant Marine, as a tire distributor, and for the U.S. Navy submarines.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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