Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury learned early that any one person can make a difference after watching her mother open their Northeast Portland home to women escaping domestic violence or families with nowhere to sleep. Her parents were public school teachers who both held elected office. Even their garage was turned into one of the county’s first collection sites to recycle glass.
Those early lessons shaped a deep commitment to public service. After graduating from Grant High School, Deborah earned a Bachelors of Arts in English at Whitman College. She returned to Portland to work on Portland Public Schools campaigns and represent North and Northeast Portland in the Oregon House of Representatives. She served two years as the House Minority Leader. As she took time to focus on raising her three children, she also served on the board of Transition Projects.
In 2008, voters elected Deborah to the Multnomah County Commission where she worked to help families in crisis stay in their homes or be rehoused as quickly as possible. She led efforts to replace the crumbling Sellwood Bridge and is the leading voice to replace the county’s 100-year-old central courthouse. Throughout, she helped stabilize county finances by working to find a permanent funding source for the libraries and using innovative partnerships to better serve our community.
She has worked closely with the city of Portland, and state and federal officials to end homelessness and increase funding for early childhood education, after-school and mentoring efforts and child abuse prevention.
In October, 2013 she resigned to run for chair as required by the county charter. Described by newspaper editorial boards as smart, low-key, level-headed and experienced, she was elected Multnomah County Chair on May 20, 2014. She took office June 5, 2014.
Deborah lives in southeast Portland with her husband Nik Blosser and their three children, Alexander, Jacob and Anna.
Contact the chair's office by phone at 503-988-3308 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.