County officials sworn in at Parkrose High

Read this story to learn the first words spoken by Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler to a reporter, as he vows not to neglect East Portland …

Multnomah County Ted Wheeler, as he is sworn in by Tina Velasquez of SE Works. His wife and newborn child stand with him, at the podium at Parkrose High.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For the first time anyone can remember, newly elected and re-elected Multnomah County officials were sworn into office in outer East Portland.

Although there was little advance publicity, Parkrose High School was teeming with activity on January 2.

Well-wishers swirled throughout the Student Center, meeting and greeting Jeff Cogen, Multnomah County Commissioner, District 2; Bernie Giusto, Multnomah County Sheriff; LaVonne Griffin-Valade, Multnomah County Auditor; and, Ted Wheeler, Multnomah County Chair.

The swearing-in ceremony and reception began at 6:30 pm. In turn, four county officials were called to the podium to take the Multnomah County Oath of Service.

During the ceremony, Multnomah County Chair-elect, soon to be Chair Ted Wheeler reviews the notes for his prepared remarks while sitting with his wife and baby.

The former candidates thanked their supporters, related stories from their campaign, and promised to do their best for citizens of the county.

“This being my second time around, I get to offer a little advice,” quipped Sheriff Bernie Giusto, looking at the county’s new officers. “No matter what they tell you, this job isn’t really all that tough. I just make it look hard.”
County’s new boss speaks

After being sworn in, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler said during prepared remarks, “People in the nation have lost confidence to solve problems. Without public confidence, we cannot raise the public funds necessary to support our infrastructure. Nor can we build the partnerships we’re going to need in order to make healthier and more productive communities. These are the hard facts.

“From this moment on, I’m taking ownership and responsibilities for these problems and challenges. My administration will be about offering specific solutions, and the leadership and conviction to implement them.”

Wheeler admonished citizens to not merely observe county government in action, but instead to get involved in the myriad of volunteer activities available throughout the county.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the new county leaders – Chair Ted Wheeler, Commissioner Jeff Cogen, Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade, and Sheriff Bernie Giusto – share a light moment as they greet their electorate.

Chair’s first interview
Giving us his first interview as County Chair, we asked Wheeler why he selected Parkrose High School as the location for the ceremony.

“I thought it was very important that we pick a location that is central to the county,” Wheeler told us, “because there are people all throughout this county who are represented by the County Chair. I want to let people know I represent all of them.”

The new office-holders’ celebration included cake ‚Äì lots of cake!

We asked the new chair whether or not his representation will include the residents from Parkrose to Powell-Gilbert.

“I have spent enough time in outer East Portland,” he replied, “to know that people here feel neglected by local government. I’m going to make sure that, as we pursue policies, we’ll include input from people in East Portland.”

He paused for a moment, and added, “Quite frankly, I will be there personally in East Portland. They will not feel neglected under my administration.”

Multnomah County’s new boss greets well-wishers at the conclusion of the formal program.

¬© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East PDX News

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