Community on whether Cogen should resign: 107 yes, 39 no

PORTLAND, Ore. - A steady stream of folks - some strangers, but most friends - voiced support at Thursday's board meeting for Chairman Jeff Cogen.

That hasn't been the trend.

A total of 107 people have called or emailed the county calling for Cogen to resign - compared to just 39 people who have encouraged him to stay in office, according to emails released Thursday by Multnomah County.

For all the emails with glowing remarks of Cogen, three times as many are harsh demands for him to leave. Several of them said they had voted for him but now are ashamed.

"It's sad to see the attitude of some elected officials that they are above the law or above scrutiny. We have been plagued with this kind of person in elected office. The girlfriend was forced to resign, why is Mr. Cogen still in office?" Todd Doty wrote on Thursday morning.

One person called the fact that Manhas was forced to resign while Cogen has stayed "sexist."

"This is unbelievably unfair and sexist. We are not living at the turn of the 20th century! If she had to go, Jeff has to go," wrote the anonymous writer, also on Thursday morning.

Of the positive notes, many people lauded his work in the community, encouraging him to stick it out.

"Jeff Cogan (sic) is not a criminal. His behavior does not render him unworthy of his job. Take a deep breath and get past this, please. There are more important issues," wrote Nancy Leon on Wednesday night.

"We need your vision and leadership. I know it has to be rough for you and your family, but you should know there are a lot of us out there who strongly support you and hope that if it is what you want, that you will stick it out," wrote Rick Nitti on Monday afternoon.

In addition to the 57 emails to the county about Cogen, 89 people have telephoned the county, said county spokesman David Austin. Of those phone calls, 67 have called for his resignation.

Not all the input from the detractors was so vehemently critical of Cogen. One person, Paul Koch, praised Cogen, but wrote that he believes it's just the better choice for him to resign.

"As much as I like you, deeply appreciate your leadership and hard work, I must advise you to step down. From my many years of experience in government, I see no value to you, your family or the citizens of the county to stay in office and fighting this out," Koch wrote.

"Those on the commission who would rally around you and encourage you to stay in the position are not giving you the best advice for you, your family or the county community," he added.