Faced with a resolution calling for his resignation, Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen refused to resign Thursday.
During the public comment portion of the meeting where all four county commissioners voted in favor of Cogen stepping down, 18 out of 20 people voiced their support for him and asked that he remain chair of Multnomah County.
Those numbers have not been as favorable from people who were not at Thursday's meeting.
Cogen is the county's highest-ranking official. He admitted to an affair with county worker Sonia Manhas last week after an anonymous email ended up in the hands of two Portland newspapers. She resigned from her job in the health department Wednesday.
By Thursday afternoon, nearly 150 people had contacted Cogen at his county office by phone or email to weigh in on his job status. By a nearly 3-to-1 margin, those constituents asked him to step down, according to the county's communications director.
Some emails came from previous supporters who said things like, "While I share your political points of view on many issues, it is time for you to resign. You crossed ethical lines and everyone knows it."
Others suggested stepping down was the "noble" thing to do. Some, however, were far more harsh, calling Cogen a "coward" or "shallow."
One email, signed by "A resident of Multnomah County who voted for you (once)," said, "She resigns: you don't?," referring to Manhas. "I spent 40 years as a professional in the workplace. It's astounding how little changes."
Cogen did have his supporters reaching out to him, as well.
In emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, supporters used subject lines like, "Hang in there, Jeff" and "Caring and support: I'm with you."
One email with the subject line, "Privacy Rights," said, "I and many others are sick of having public business derailed and good public servants lost because of puritan witch hunts based upon private indiscretions."
Others talked of meeting Cogen and described him as kind, determined and "the best thing that's happened in recent memory to Portland politics."
The number of calls made to county offices to weigh in on this situation totaled 89 by 3:45 p.m. Thursday. Of those, 67 asked for Cogen's resignation, while 22 supported him staying in office.
In all, a total of 107 calls and emails combined to the county offices said Cogen should resign, while 39 wanted him to stay.
By 6:30 p.m., a Fox 12 poll posted Thursday showed more than 70 percent of responders voted for Cogen to resign.
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