County Chair candidates pitch, in Gateway

EXCLUSIVE: Will Francesconi or Kafoury take Multnomah County’s top job on May 21?  Read the full text of what these two politicians had to say in outer East Portland …

GABA President Fred Sanchez welcomes members and guests to the monthly meeting.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At the regular monthly meeting of the Gateway Area Business Association (GABA), at the East Portland Community Center on March 13, some 40 members and guests came to hear from the two front-runners in the race to become the next Multnomah County Chair.

Before the Candidate Forum began, GABA President Fred Sanchez of Realty Brokers reminded all present to attend – and volunteer to help at – the 2014 GABA Fun-O-Rama Parade and Community Fair, scheduled for Saturday, May 17.

“Come out and welcome the 2014 Portland Rose Festival Princesses as they ride in the Fun-O-Rama Parade,” Sanchez exclaimed. “Listen to the marching bands, and cheer on the local parade entries.”

Multnomah County Chair candidates Jim Francesconi and Deborah Kafoury flank the Candidate Forum moderator, attorney Bruce McCain.

With Multnomah County Chair candidates Jim Francesconi and Deborah Kafoury (in alphabetical order, and sitting left and right), moderator Bruce McCain, Attorney at Law, began the Candidate Forum.

Other candidates who filed for this position – Steven Reynolds, Aquiles Montas, Patty Burkett, and Wes Soderback – were not present. You’ll find links to these candidates’ information at the end of this story.

Any candidate who wins a majority of the votes at the May 20 Primary Election is elected outright to the office.

Note: What follows is a transcript, lightly edited, of the remarks and answers to questions given at this forum. It is not a legal transcription.

Multnomah County Chair candidates Deborah Kafoury makes her opening remarks.

Introduction by Deborah Kafoury
Thank you for having us here today. I must tell you I’m a little tired, because my daughter was up all night because she is scared of spiders, and kept seeing spiders all night.

I do have the Gateway Fund-O-Rama on my calendar; I know my children will be begging to come.

About myself, one of the many the reasons that I’m running for Multnomah County Chair is because of my mother [Gretchen Kafoury, who has served in the Oregon House of Representatives, the Multnomah County Commission, and the Portland City Council].

On occasion, we would have someone come stay with us, perhaps a family who was homeless, or a mom and a child who were escaping domestic violence. I learned from a very young age that these small acts that my mother would do made a very big difference in the lives of people.

That’s what drove me to run for public office in the first place. I volunteer for schools [and for] public service. I was the Democratic House leader in the Oregon Legislature, and served on the board of Transitions Projects, which is a nonprofit that helps the homeless can in the housing.

Currently, I am the co-president of my children’s school’s PTA.

For the last five years I have served as a Multnomah County Commissioner. It truly is an honor. I feel like I’ve been able to live out the values that I learned as a child. I am proud of my record, and it is guided by this belief: I believe that every family in Multnomah County deserves to be safe, to be housed, and to be healthy.

I realize these are ambitious goals, but these of the same goals that I want for my family, and for every family in Multnomah County. As a Commissioner, I created the Domestic Violence Emergency Response Team. I worked with my colleagues to locate food pantries in schools, so families can access food more easily that their children need to grow and to learn. I successively worked to keep senior centers open, when their funding was threatened.

When I first was elected I asked myself “what’s the biggest thing I can do to make a difference in people’s lives?” The answer is, “To help provide a safe, stable home. If we can put a roof over families’ heads, then we can build the foundation of their feet”.

I have funded housing advocates to go out into the community and find homeless families, and put them directly into housing, without going into the shelter system. I believe that a stable home leaves us to more able to tackle the other problems – drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues – and provide job training.

To strengthen this “core mission” is why I am running for Multnomah County Chair.

Multnomah County Chair candidate Jim Francesconi presents his opening remarks.

Introduction by Jim Francesconi
The best job that I probably ever had in my life was being Portland Parks Commissioner and [working on] this facility – the levy that we passed to expand it, was really tremendous.

I am running for Chair of Multnomah County because we are “moving forward”, but we are leaving too many people behind. Poverty in this County has doubled in the last 11 years. That translates into having a profound impact on our young people.

We have 90,000 kids in public schools in this County. Almost half of those are in the districts of outer East Portland. Of those 90,000 kids, 55% of them are low income, 25% are poor, and 3,000 are homeless. What I’m talking to you today about, is what I talk about every day wherever I speak.

On my first day of the campaign, I was “Principal for a Day” at Reynolds Middle School. The Principal was telling me all the great things that they were doing, like raising test scores. He wouldn’t trade those teachers for anyone.

And then he told me that kids come to school and eat breakfast, at [their] school. They have lunch at school. And, they eat snacks in the SUN School program that I founded with [then] Multnomah County Chair Bev Stein. I asked the Principal what percentage of the kids are only eating at school. He told me 30% or 40%. That is in this country, and in this County. This is the story repeated in North Portland, and repeated throughout. We could do better.

The County is the place that takes care of our most vulnerable. But as the County, whose first value is social justice – it says in the mission statement – it is the County, working with others including businesses, community organizations, and City, that offers the best opportunity to close the gap between the rich and the poor that is quick killing our country, and killing our community.

That is going to take leadership. It is good to have leadership that focuses on three types of leadership in three issues that I look forward to discussing with you here today.

The first is, this has to be about the whole County – all parts of the County – not just those [areas] with the most power and the most influence.

Candidate Jim Francesconi says he has the “leadership to unite governments” while showing a Home Forward “poverty map”.

I held up this map, this Home Forward map, which shows poverty [when I spoke] at Portland Heights, and throughout this County. It shows 20% poverty areas. You can see, with rising house prices raising rents, what’s happening in this part of the community. There is a “Mason Dixon Line”; some people put it at Interstate 205. We need everybody in the County. It is the County that shares responsibility to make sure it happens.

The second thing – this is not a legislative job, this is an executive job [with a] $1.5 billion budget. It’s a County that contracts out 30% of its operating dollars. There do need to be performance measures [to make sure it is spent for] people who need them the most.

Finally it has to be about leadership. This is leadership that unites governments, businesses, and nonprofits to do difficult things. In days before I was a Portland City Commissioner, and we had more than 200 good employers take youth into their workplaces. I worked with Bev Stein create the SUN School Program.

Bank of America gave us $100,000 for the first school, Lane Elementary. David Douglas Schools were also part of this.

And third of all [sic], I’ve been working with Portland Community College to create scholarships and build links with employers.

There are three issues that we get a chance to talk about.

The first is, how we partner with schools, not only SUN Schools, but also [supporting] mental health counseling in the schools. I can tell you some stories about the lack of mental health in schools; and how we helped push the Early Learning programs like we do at Earl Boyles Elementary, or how we create more summer programs for kids. I know many kids who do not want summer to come. So that is a priority.

Second, if you have a mental illness, the odds are you are living on the street or you’re in jail. Not only am I saying this, but also the Department of Justice is saying this in a scathing report. But now, with Medicaid dollars coming into the community, we have a great opportunity to have very low income housing with wraparound services, to treat people humanel, and cheaply. If you look at the [Multnomah County] Sheriff’s [Office] budget, that’s where a lot of the cost is going.

But finally – and this is a difference in this race – this has to also be not just about supporting people in poverty, but helping people get out of it. This means that they find the dignity of work. And, work with people with disabilities, the homeless who want to work. [It’s about] kids that are going on to college, partnerships with high schools and community colleges. I don’t believe there’s a current relationship between the County and with them.

It’s about how we work together and how we move forward. That’s why I would be honored, after this discussion, to earn your vote.

Bruce McCain takes charge of the Candidate Forum, and begins asking questions of Francesconi and Kafoury.

Perhaps because he noticed that Francesconi took almost twice the time introducing himself as did Kafoury, moderator McCain remarked, “I can’t let them go on; I’m going to clamp down on the responses.”

What role do you see in the future, for the Sheriff’s office? What is their function? What is your plan for the Hansen Building at NE 122 Avenue and and Glisan Street? Finally, what about the $300 million Wapato Jail? Not one inmate spent one night in that jail.

Francesconi responds
I’ll take them in reverse order. Here’s the problem with Wapato. It’s been there for 10 years and [the County hasn’t done] anything with it. I understand some assumptions changed once it was built. The fact that it has been vacant for 10 years, costing $300,000 a year – a total of $3 million so far – and there’s been no plan and no action forward: That’s not right.

My personal belief is there two options. I personally favor a drug and alcohol facility, because it is really designed more as a treatment facility. Not only do I think this, so does a draft County report issued several years ago, which was never acted upon, agree with this. Now, Sheriff [Dan Staton] is coming out with the transition housing plan. This is going to be done. This is a priority.

Regarding the Hansen Building – it is not on the County’s priority building list. It’s one of the second-tier facilities that are coming up [for review]. I think we need a new facility, and it could be a great facility to have in Gresham or in East County. This is one the next projects that need to happen.

About the Criminal Justice budget: It’s actually about 50% of the Operating Budget, $400 million. Here, in addition to the Sheriff’s office, there’s Parole and Probation – there’s a broader question now. There’s a great opportunity for public safety reform. That is, if we are on track to actually accomplish this – it’s a great opportunity to redirect people, [keep them from] going to prison. We have to make sure that that happens.

About the urban services, like patrol in East County cities, policing Fairview, Wood Village, and Troutdale. They do that along with local law enforcement and there’s a question about how to proceed. I’m proud of the fact that I have been endorsed by two of the smaller mayors; we need to have that discussion.

Candidate Deborah Kafoury says she’s “uniquely qualified” to deal with decisions regarding Wapato Jail and Hansen Building.

Kafoury responds
I will talk about the Wapato Jail and the Hansen Building at the same time. I think that I am uniquely qualified to handle what happens, regarding both of these buildings.

It is been my specialty is a County Commissioner to take these really tough problems that other people have not solved. And by working together – because we cannot solve these problems that are too much for one government to handle – but by working with our partners, to come up with solutions.

I’ve done that with the Sellwood Bridge project. This project was ‘sitting on the shelf’ for decades while others tried to figure out how to do it. By working with the City of Portland, the federal government, and the state legislature, and others, we were able to develop the plan. And now, the bridge is being built.

We are working on getting a new downtown Portland Multnomah County
Courthouse. I helped Multnomah County solve another problem – building the East County Courthouse. It has been built since I have been on the County Commission.

As I said, we’re working to get a solution together now for the downtown County Courthouse, about which – in over 40 years – there’ve been 26 studies. And finally, we’re going to put something together, with the help of the Oregon legislature.

These are issues that are really tough. That is the reason that they had not been solved, but I have the ability to bring people together to solve these kind of problems.

As far as the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office goes, this is a really important topic, and we need to have a conversation about it. One of the things that I started doing is working with the Mayor of the City of Portland, and the mayors of the smaller cities, to talk about the ways we can better coordinate and consolidate, or differentiate, our services. Public safety is one of those areas.

Over the years, since “Resolution A” was adopted [March 15, 1953], we’ve had lines blurred and services melding together. But there are definitely areas where we need to look at who is the best to provide a given service. We started doing that with our housing and homelessness dollars – the City of Portland handles one area, the County handles another. We should do that with the Sheriff’s Office as well. We should look where Portland’s Police Chief and the police chiefs of the smaller cities can work together.

I have been endorsed by the Multnomah County Sheriff, and by the Police Chief of the City of Portland. I’m really eager to get to work to solve problems. There are no easy answers. It takes a lot of time, a lot of thought, and it takes a lot of people getting in and working on it.

The next question posed by Bruce McCain is how to deal with the homeless in Multnomah County.

How do we deal with homeless people who do not want to go to shelters? Is this even a County issue?

Kafoury responds
I touched briefly on this, but a little-known fact that most people don’t realize is that herein lay one of our problems. The County is responsible for homeless families; the City of Portland is responsible for homeless individuals. That’s one of the reasons why we have some of the problems that we do. Everybody needs to be on the same page.

Homelessness in our community is a huge issue – it’s a national issue that we’re experiencing as well. So if we can get people together to talk about this – consolidating and coordinating our services, so we’re all working together toward the same goal of ending homelessness – that’s the only way it’s going to happen.

I started on a plan couple of years ago, it’s taken a while. We brought together business and the faith community, nonprofit leaders, and different governments to look at what we could do them up with a plan. I believe that starts with consolidating services.

The last day I was in office – I had resigned my position as a County Commissioner to run of the Chair’s seat – I was having a meeting with Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who is the Housing Commissioner, to talk about this plan and about moving forward. [The plan is] still moving forward, but not moving as quickly as if I were there – you really need someone who will put some attention on this.

I do not believe that [homeless] “shelters” are the answer. I think the answer is getting people into houses, not into shelters. We’ve done that at the County with homeless families. Shelters are not a place for any person to live, especially not for families; it is especially harmful to children. The County took a small amount of dollars, and hired a housing specialist to go into the community to find families living in their cars, or who are “doubled up” in unsafe situations, and move them directly into an apartment so they didn’t go into the shelter system.

We studied this program later, and found that 80% of the families that we put into housing are still there. It is a cost-effective program, and it works.

This is the kind of strategy I hope we can work, alongside the City of Portland, an employ in the smaller cities in East County, because it’s a county-wide effort.

GABA members and guests listen attentively as candidates Francesconi and Kafoury answer questions.

Francesconi responds
I think we have to acknowledge some realities. Homelessness has increased 10% in the last two years, according to County records. Number two, according to HUD, it’s identified as one of the main issues in the country.

First, we also have to identify that we have a mental health crisis. That’s why I mentioned it in my opening remarks, before the question came up. The numbers are that two thirds of people who are homeless have mental illness issues. Outside In estimates that with homeless children, up to 90% of them have mental health issues.

We have an opportunity here with these Medicaid dollars to actually focus on mental health. And if the County doesn’t do it, nobody’s going to do it. That means we’ve got to make sure that the CCO’s [community care organizations] that have been created, do actually deliver in the area of mental health, and can free up another $20 million from the County budget that has been spent on the [medically] uninsured, to focus on mental health. That’s why I’ve been raising this as an issue throughout the campaign.

But there’s another player in this: Home Forward. Joint budgeting between Home Forward, City of Portland, and Multnomah County. The fact that this policy, that’s been described, has been allowed to exist, makes no sense.

We have to put it into a common budget, and have accountability. We have to be willing to do that. Then, we need the mental health wraparound services, like what is offered by Central City Concern – which are actually outreach and give opportunities.

And finally we need to have the 0% to 30% low income housing; that is the biggest need in this community. It is the biggest need. If we can focus on that with wraparound services – [the speaker stops abruptly]

Finally, the last [point] I want to make is that homelessness of this kind has moved east, too. Services mean the County is the one that has to make the decisions to make sure that poor people are being served wherever they are. We have to acknowledge that map [that he had held up earlier].

“Should the Portland Building be demolished to be replaced by combined City/County Facility?

Francesconi responds
No, no, it’s too expensive. Many of our schools do not have seismic upgrades. Spending that kind of money, I just don’t understand.

I’ve heard [Portland Commissioner Steve] Novick’s idea; but it’s just too expensive. Taking that money and rehabilitating other buildings – like our schools – is the best use of those resources, in my opinion

Kafoury responds
The Portland Building is owned by the City of Portland. It is an interesting concept. We do and we will have funds for rebuilding downtown courthouse, thanks to the work that I have done.

The downtown courthouse is safety issue. It is ready to collapse. It is one of the only buildings that we require people to go into, by law. 1,500 people per day go into that building. There are kids in a daycare center there, run for families who are using the court system. It’s not a sexy issue. But it is something we who operate Multnomah County need to make sure that building is safe.

I worked really hard to make sure that the Oregon Legislature realizes they are partners in this with us. While counties around the state are responsible for the “envelope of the building” and the upkeep, most of the employees in these buildings are actually state employees. There should be a partnership with the State of Oregon – and now finally, after years of discussions, they have agreed to do that in the last session.

We’ve got $15 million from the Oregon Legislature to look at space planning. We’re going to design a courthouse for the 21st century. The present “lovely” courthouse was built in 1914. And the money is also for site planning, so we’re going to look for a good spot downtown to be located.

I haven’t looked at the numbers to see whether or not it would be feasible to combine facilities along with the Portland Building. What I do like is that Commissioner Steve Novick is thinking creatively, and thinking about working together with the County to fund services and to help our programs work together.

With so many services, no one cares if the County or City provides the services. People just want government that works.

Can the new Multnomah County Chair restore faith in this division of government, Bruce McCain asks.

“The kind of scandal that ripped through County government is something that shakes the confidence people – and I’m speaking as a former employee of the County,” McCain read.

“How do you convince the people that, as County Chair, they can again have confidence in County government – which is pretty much invisible until something bad happens?”

Candidate Deborah Kafoury says that the County now has a stable budget.

Kafoury responds
The County is “the most important government that you don’t know about” – that is, unless you need it because you’re poor, disabled, or in trouble with the law. That’s when you need it and it becomes extremely important. The services we provide at Multnomah County really change people’s lives.

I’m really proud of the work that I have done in Multnomah County for the past five years.

When I got to the County Commission five years ago, we were in an unstable budget situation. We cut our budget year after year after year. While, at the same time, we were in the middle of the great recession – the demand for our services was even greater. We had to cut budgets while the demand was going up. But, we served people who needed it; we helped people’s lives change for the better. We did it because we work really hard together. We focused on what really matters most.

Because we built partnerships and worked in cooperation with others, we were able to prioritize programs that actually delivered results to people.

Last year, for the first year in way over a decade, we were able to have a solid budget. And looking out over the next five years, we are projected to be on a solid financial footing, which I’m really proud of.

I can’t control what happened surrounding [former County Chair] Jeff Cogen but I can say that the rest of the Commissioners worked very hard to make sure the services were not disrupted. And the fabulous employees of Multnomah County showed up to work even when they were feeling a lot of stress themselves.

I don’t believe that one person’s actions defined government. I’m proud of the work that I’ve done.

Of course, there’s a lot more to do, and a lot of that happens at the County Chair position. That’s why I’m running for County Chair. I believe that together, we can continue on a good path and make lives of everyone in our community better.

The County has a stable budget, Candidate Jim Francesconi responds, because creating a new taxing entity, the Multnomah County Library District, “freed up a lot of money for the County”.

Francesconi responds
It’s a good question.

Before addressing that, the Multnomah County budget is in good shape because you passed Multnomah County Library District – which has freed up a lot of money for the County.

What is important is the 4,900 workers at Multnomah County that do the work and serve people. They’ve done that before there was instability in the Chair’s office, and they continued to do it during that time. As an aside, one of the proudest endorsements the one I received from the workers of Multnomah County, AFSCME Local 88.

But I think the Chair’s special responsibility is to make sure a team is built among the Multnomah County Commissioners. This includes the department directors, [and] all the way down to the workers.

There has been some instability. When Chair Ted Wheeler left, all the sudden he’s gone on to something else, for the good of Oregon in my opinion. Then you have the episode with Chair Cogen – I think it’s recognizing that, and trying to provide some stability by creating a team. This means creating a team that can deal with those difficult things.

I guess the other thing is that is very unsettling – and, I’m not suggesting that anyone’s done this – but you can be making decisions for political reasons. It has to be about what’s in the best interest of the residents and the people being served in the County.

I’m not trying to build any kind of political career here. At this point in my life, I believe this is the best opportunity, working with the County, is to do what our country cannot, [such as] closing this opportunity gap. If we stay focused on that, I think it’s going to work out.

Every government building that gets built on East County’s property was taken off the commercial tax rolls. What is the County’s role to also help grow businesses, and put income tax revenues in the coffers – and build the private property tax base here?

Francesconi responds
First we need to acknowledge that it is the County’s role. The County does have $36 million in its budget for Economic Development. So, it’s hard to argue that is not part of the County’s role; the County needs to be visible on this issue.

Secondly we compete in regions, we don’t compete in cities or states. There is a great opportunity on the east side of the region, with industrial land that borders the cities and connecting transportation infrastructure, to help recruit businesses. There is not a Portland Development Commission to help. And there’s very low tax basis. That’s why the County needs help recruit small businesses.

Number two: I created the first Small Business Council, here in the history of Portland. We need Countywide representation, looking at opportunities there. We also need to play a more aggressive role.

More importantly than that, we need to play a more aggressive role in how we work with Mt. Hood Community College and Portland Community College business centers to actually hook people up, in a way that makes some sense.

I also think this is critical with the on-the-job training side: It’s how you connect workers and workforce to businesses by connecting with the high schools, many of whom need some help with the community colleges. There are incentives for businesses and training dollars to match up with the special focus to help “raise wage limits”.

Kafoury responds
I think that the best way the Multnomah County can help this kind of development in our community, is by doing our job well. No one else is tasked with providing services to those who need the most as Multnomah County is. That’s our job, that’s our mission.

If we do our job well, people can have housing, and if people are healthy and safe in their communities they are much more able to take advantage of services their community. They are able to get jobs, and able to be productive members of our society.

There are more than 80 organizations in Multnomah County that now provide job training, retraining, and workforce development. Multnomah County can be a convener and a partner. But, Multnomah County does not need to “reinvent the wheel”. I think going out and working very closely with these existing organizations helping to make sure that people who are taking part in the services, so parents and their children can be successful when they go to job training, and eventually get a job.

And I also do think that there are unique roles that Multnomah County can play as a convener. Right now there’s really keen opportunity in [Gresham, in] Rockwood. They have an urban renewal area that’s trying to get buildings constructed, and bring in taxable businesses that build community and race diversity of the community. That’s a goal there for Multnomah County to play because they don’t have strong voice.

I’m really happy that Josh Fuhrer [who left his seat on the Gresham City Council to take charge of the 1,211-acre Rockwood-West Gresham Urban Renewal Area] is currently running the project to make sure that they can be successful. That’s a great role for Multnomah County in helping that succeed.

I also think that Worksystems Incorporated does a fabulous job. We have partnered with them in the past, and we will continue to work with them in the future. I don’t believe past Chairs have taken a leadership role as a board member, as I aim to do. We really do need to make sure they continue to be successful.

Asking for a “10-second or less response” from each candidate, moderator McCain asked, “What is the most important capital project to undertake in the next four years: Bridge, road, transportation, Wapato, court?

Kafoury responds
For me it has to be the downtown Multnomah County Courthouse. We have money from the legislature right now in our hands, and we need to show them that we have an outcome so we can go back and get the rest of the money for the building.

Francesconi responds
I just have to correct something here. We do not have the money to build a courthouse. I talked to the [County] Treasurer about this; the downtown courthouse is a $210 million project. There is no plan at the moment to get the money for the downtown courthouse. We need one, but there isn’t money for one. Let’s be clear about that. The downtown courthouse is really critical, so I can agree we need to do it.

But, for me a priority is how we can get some transportation infrastructure in the County. This means roads and sidewalks – transportation infrastructure. This part of our County has been left out. If the County doesn’t take the role of transportation, nobody else is going to.

Moderator Bruce McCain suggests the candidates may wish to incorporate answers to yet unasked questions into their closing statements.

In their closing statements, McCain suggested the candidates incorporate three questions left unasked and unanswered:

  1. Why are you concerned about inequalities caused by a low minimum wage in comparison to inflation?
  2. How do we leverage the Multnomah County budget to get more work done?
  3. How can we move our youth into working-wage jobs, to break the cycle of poverty?


Jim Francesconi talks about his plan to “raise the minimum wage”.

Francesconi’s closing statement
I want to address minimum wage. One of the most shocking statistics that came across during the campaign is that 91.5% of Latina single women, with children under five, are in poverty. For single African-American women with kids under five, the poverty rate is about 68%.

We have to raise the minimum wage. I’ve issued a jobs plan, not well received in some quarters, that called for raising the minimum wage. President Obama has it right: We need to raise the minimum wage. I understand that, at some level, it will increase job loss. By also know we need to do this; we need to set an example.

I’m the one who passed the City of Portland Living Wage Ordinance that, in year 2000, got janitors and security workers working with the unions $9.40 an hour plus health insurance. Thus, we need to pass this. We also need transportation infrastructure.

Let’s talk about the Sellwood Bridge. The Sellwood Bridge is a nonunion bridge! Half of it at least should’ve been paid for by Clackamas County. That money should have been used for transportation infrastructure in East County.

I’ve been working to create community benefits agreements – and I’m not even in office! And, and it really is working with our high schools, community colleges, and employers in bringing in healthcare with the Affordable Care Act. There are opportunities to actually create jobs for healthcare workers.

Here’s the last thing I want to say. I’ve been thinking about my story. You may not have figured this part out, but I’m 100% Italian. My grandparents that came over were 100% Italian. They clawed; they fought their way, so my mom and dad could graduate from high school. My dad ran a bar; my mom was a bank teller; they worked so my brother, sister, and I could go to college. That’s the story that is happening throughout the community. That’s the good news!

The bad news is that these economic forces are much tougher than my grandparents had to face; that my peers had to face, and that I’ve had to face. We need a collective effort to give those Latina families that are trying to make it a chance. That’s why I’m running. That’s why I would be honored to receive your support.

Deborah Kafoury closes, saying she has a “proven record of accountable leadership, in putting Progressive Values into action”.

Kafoury’s closing statement
I’ve first I want to thank Fred and his lovely wife, for having us here today. I want to thank all of you for coming out, and listening.

As I said earlier, I think Multnomah County is such an important government. We don’t get the same level of attention that the other governments in our community do.

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished on the Multnomah County Commission. That’s why four of my colleagues are endorsing me in this race. That’s because they want me to come back and to be their Chair. We know that there is a lot more to be done, it takes someone at the top to make that happen.

I believe when we do our job right, when we focus our resources on what matters most, and we build partnerships, and we prioritize programs work – it means the Multnomah County is a place where all families have a roof over their head, and a foundation under their feet.

I offer a proven record of accountable leadership in putting Progressive Values into action. It’s having the creativity and tenaciousness to get tough things done. It’s never forgetting that if you’re not making a difference for people, then you are not making a difference.

This is why groups representing seniors, nurses, women, working families, and the environment are supporting me in this race. It is my hope you will join the. I respectfully ask for your vote.

Information about other Multnomah County Chair Candidates:


The Gateway Area Business Association meets next on April 10. Networking starts at 11:30 a.m. The meeting begins at 11:45 a.m. and ends promptly at 1:00 p.m.

This month: Mt. Hood Community College President Deborah Derr speaks regarding the school’s economic impact on the District Community and plans for the future.

They’re meeting at the Meals on Wheels (Loaves and Fishes Center); 740 SE 106th Avenue (in the East Portland Community Center, between SE Stark Street and Cherry Blossom Drive). Lunch is available for $8.00 “suggested donation”. For more information, see their all-new website: CLICK HERE.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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