Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal has submitted her resignation from the county board effective Nov. 1, according to multiple sources. She is stepping down to pursue the Democratic nomination for the 3rd Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).
Leaving her seat will allow Jayapal to focus on what is likely to be intense competition for a seat that was last open in 1996, when Blumenauer won a special election to replace now. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in the district that covers much of Portland.
Jayapal, a former corporate lawyer, first won election to the county board representing District 2 (North and Northeast Portland) in 2018 and won reelection in 2022. Per the terms of the Multnomah County charter, she must resign her seat to run for another office. “No elected official of Multnomah County may run for another elective office in midterm without resigning first,” the charter says. “Filing for another office in midterm shall be the same as a resignation, effective as of date of filing.”
When they take office, Multnomah County commissioners designate a successor, should they leave office before their term ends. Jayapal designated as her replacement Jesse Beason, the President and CEO of the Northwest Health Foundation, a Portland nonprofit.
That means Beason, whose current job pays $193,000 per year, according to the Northwest Health Foundation’s tax return, would take on a second full-time job until Jayapal’s replacement is elected next May or November.
Updated Nov. 1: Jayapal officially announced her candidacy Nov. 1 to succeed Blumenauer.
“We’re at a pivotal point in our country and in our district,” Jayapal said in a statement. “With the Republican majority beholden to extremist ideologues attacking our democracy and our rights in ways we’ve never seen before, it’s more important than ever that we have an unwavering progressive voice in Congress to stand up for our values and bring us together to create the thriving, equitable community we need.”
She introduced her campaign with endorsements from a slate of elected officials and community leaders, led by Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson; state Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland), the co-chair of the Legislature’s budget-writing Ways and Means Committee; and Rukaiyah Adams, a director of the Albina Vision Trust.