PORTLAND –Jeff Cogen’s refusal to step down despite the four other members of the board of commissioners calling for his resignation Thursday shifted much of the public discourse away from his extramarital affair, and onto the Multnomah County Chair’s political future.
Now, in order for Cogen to lose his position as head of the county, he would either have to face a recall, or be convicted of a felony or another offense pertinent to his office, the Multnomah County Charter states.
After stern words from Commissioners Deborah Kafoury and Loretta Smith opened Thursday’s board meeting, Cogen took the floor, expressing remorse for his affair with fellow county employee Sonia Manhas.
Cogen, however, said he would not step down, and instead called for an investigation by the Attorney General to continue in order to determine if his affair was an abuse of power.
“I believe the investigation will find no abuse of power, but in any rate, why call for an investigation without being willing to even let it begin?” Cogen said. “The media has been filled with accusations, innuendo and judgments about my behavior. But we have a system of fact finding before condemnation.”
Cogen expressed frustrations with what he called his colleagues' “rush to judgment.” His statements were followed by public testimony with many members of the community showing support for him.
Despite his once rising political star growing dimmer, Cogen said he wants to get back to business as the head of the county.