Board confirms Kim Melton as interim designee for Multnomah County Chair

September 6, 2018

The Multnomah County Commissioners on Thursday confirmed Kimberly Melton to serve as an interim County chair in the event Chair Deborah Kafoury is unable to fulfill her duties. County code requires an interim be designated in the event of a vacancy. Melton, who is the current chief of staff for the Chair, would serve until an election or appointment.

“She is possibly one of the smartest people I have ever met in my life,’’ Chair Kafoury said, adding it wasn’t just her opinion. Melton holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and master's from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as notable professional experience.

Melton was an award-winning statehouse and education journalist who reported for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans and The Oregonian newspaper in Portland. She joined Stand for Children in 2011 where she served as statewide Communications and Policy Director and Policy and Community Organizing Director for the Multnomah County area.

Melton joined the County in 2015, where as a policy advisor for Chair Kafoury, she focused on youth and family issues, early learning, public health and deepening partnerships with underserved communities. She was named chief of staff in February 2018. In that position, she is responsible for developing the Chair’s overall policy agenda and managing day-to-day operations and supervising the chair’s office and staff.

Chair Kafoury said it was Melton’s “great work” that led the to County make "a monumental shift" in how the SUN Service System allocates dollars and supports services in a more culturally sensitive way.

I don’t think there is a person who would disagree about what a fabulous person she is, actually I think she should be president of the United States,’’ Chair Kafoury said.

“Ditto,’’ said Commissioner Sharon Meieran. “I can’t think of a person who is more qualified, more personable and I am thrilled to support her as designee.’’

Commissioner Loretta Smith echoed that support saying she did not think there was anyone more competent who could do the job. A third commissioner, Jessica Vega Pederson, added her support.

“Although I hope it is just a formality, I have no doubt at your capability to fulfill the role.’’ Vega Pederson recalled working on changes at the SUN program and being impressed by the grace, consideration and openness she displayed in difficult conversations and situations.

Melton responded, “I really appreciate your vote of confidence in me, I can’t think of a more meaningful honor and opportunity to serve and continue to be a resource for this community. Thank you.’’