“I would like to thank my colleagues -- Commissioner Diane McKeel, Commissioner Jules Bailey, Commissioner Judy Shiprack and Commissioner Loretta Smith. We have come a long way together and we have a great, long road ahead,” Chair Kafoury said at Thursday’s ceremony.
“Of course, we can’t do this alone,” she continued, referring to county residents. “We need all of your support. And I know that the future looks bright for Multnomah County and all of our residents.”
Chair Kafoury took office in June 2014 after serving as the county’s District 1 commissioner. She had previously served as a state representative including two years as Democratic House Minority Leader.
This fiscal year, she’ll create her first budget as chair and release her first legislative agenda.
In her first seven months as Multnomah County Chair, Kafoury has made affordable housing and homelessness a cornerstone issue, establishing the “A Home For Everyone” coordinating board, a broad representation of stakeholders that will increase transparency, promote accountability and coordinate decision-making and efficiency in service delivery.
Major infrastructure projects that she’ll be overseeing include the completion of the new Sellwood Bridge, a new Health Department headquarters and establishing a plan for a new county central courthouse.
Commissioner Smith was sworn in for her second and final term as the commissioner representing North and Northeast Portland. Prior to her election to the board, Commissioner Smith served more than two decades as a staff member for then-U.S. Rep. and now-U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden.
Commissioner Smith plans to focus attention in the next four years on assuring underserved residents can access affordable health care, pedestrian safety, brownfield cleanup, youth employment and decreasing health care disparities in communities of color.
“I want to say thank you to the employees [of Multnomah County],” Commissioner Smith said. “You all do wonderful work. I’m just an ordinary person watching you do extraordinary things.”
Auditor Steve March was also sworn in for his second term. During his first term the auditor’s office examined the county’s contracts for cell phone service and inequities in the county’s property tax system stemming from the passage of Measure 50, which went into effect in 1997.
March was re-elected in 2014 for a term starting January 2015 and ending in December 2018. He plans to focus attention on inequities in county pay based on gender and race, as well as equitable distribution of county services.
“So many audits, so little time left,” he said.