Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury won another term Tuesday, despite controversy over the past year involving her rocky relationship with a colleague.
Early returns showed Kafoury far ahead of her three challengers, none of whom mounted a serious campaign. During her first four-year term chairing the county, Kafoury focused much of her time on homelessness and establishing a joint Portland-Multnomah County agency that has increased the number of shelter beds. She also succeeded in finally selling the Wapato Jail, which county leaders finished building 15 years ago but never found the money to operate.
Over the past year, Kafoury has clashed with Commissioner Loretta Smith, who has accused Multnomah County of institutional racism. Her temper boiled over in late December when Kafoury, after an unpleasant exchange with Smith at a public meeting, was caught using a derogatory term toward Smith as the meeting adjourned.
Kafoury will be joined on the board by Susheela Jayapal, a former general counsel for Adidas America and an immigrant from India, who defeated three other candidates to take the seat in District 2. She’ll represent Northeast Portland and the seat formerly held by Smith, who was term-limited out of office and running for Portland City Council in the primary.
In other Multnomah County races, Sheriff Mike Reese, a former Portland Police chief, won an uncontested re-election campaign.
And former journalist Scott Learn, an auditor with the state of Oregon, and Jennifer McGuirk, a county performance auditor, will face a run-off for county auditor.