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Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran Will Seek Chair’s Role Next Year

The emergency room doctor will compete with her colleague, Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson.

Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran today announced she will run for county chair next year.

Meieran, 57, who represents District 1 on the westside, is hoping to replace incumbent Chair Deborah Kafoury. Term limits prohibit Kafoury from running again.

Meieran joins her commission colleague Jessica Vega Pederson, who represents District 3 on the eastside, in the race.

At least two other potential candidates are said to be weighing a run. District 4 Commissioner Lori Stegmann, who represents Gresham and the outer eastside, updated her political action committee on Sept. 3 to indicate she’s running but hasn’t formally announced. Also considering the race is Shannon Singleton, who serves as the director of equity and racial justice for Gov. Kate Brown.

Meieran, who worked as an emergency room physician before first winning election in 2016, has been outspoken during the COVID-19 pandemic, urging state and local officials to move more aggressively to protect the public. As a county representative on the board of A Home for Everyone, which oversees the Joint Office of Homeless Services, she has been equally outspoken about her desire to see a more aggressive response to the plight of people who lack a home. She laid out her position in a recent op-ed in The Oregonian.

“I have been committed to the core work of the county—public health—for my working life,” Meieran says. “Multnomah County is facing multiple crises. I have the background and skill set we need to triage them and address what’s happening with a sense of urgency.”