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Jim Francesconi confirms he may run for county chair

Former Portland City Commissioner Jim Francesconi confirmed Thursday that he is considering a run for Multnomah County chair and hopes to make up his mind in the next few weeks.

“I’m seriously looking at running for county chair," Francesconi said. "I'm still working through the process, talking to folks and talking to my family.”

A personal injury lawyer for Haglund Kelley Jones & Wilder, Francesconi said he'd like to focus on health care for the underserved, youth employment and other issues the fit squarely within the county's mission.

"They serve the poor," he said. "They're the best place to close the gap between the rich and poor, which is the No. issue in the county, in the city, in the state and in the country."

Francesconi was elected in 1997 to the Portland City Council, and wound up serving for eight years. He ran for Portland mayor in 2004 and proved a prolific fundraiser, which many believe worked against him in his unsuccessful bid against ultimate winner Tom Potter.

Francesconi later become influential in setting state higher education policies as a volunteer member of the State Board of Higher Education.

Before entering politics, he had his own law practice for 18 years.

Francesconi holds a B.A. in humanities from Stanford University and a law degree from the University of Oregon.

Francesconi said he’s leaving on a trip with his family Friday for two weeks and will discuss his possible candidacy during his trip. "I'll decide in a few weeks," he said.

Former Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen recently stepped down from the post mid-term, following requests from fellow county commissioners that he resign in light of his admitted sexual affair with a county health manager.

County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury has said she intends to run for the open county chair’s seat, though she has not yet filed for the race. County Commissioner Diane McKeel said she’ll consider entering the race, and other candidates also may emerge.