Dennis replaces former chief of staff, Michael Cox, whose City Hall romance was revealed recently

COURTESY PHOTO - Kristin Dennis, the new chief of staff for Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, is shown here. Ted Wheeler didn't have to search far to find his new chief of staff.

Kristin Dennis — functioning as the Portland mayor's interim chief of staff since January — now will adopt the title permanently.

"Kristin is a trusted advisor. She brings leadership, integrity and sharp political acumen to the job," Wheeler said in a statement. "I am thrilled to have her as my chief of staff."

Dennis previously served as policy director and chief of staff during Wheeler's term as Oregon state treasurer. She has also worked for State Sen. Richard Devlin and in the legal industry. Before becoming interim chief of staff, she was Wheeler's operations director and deputy chief of staff.

Sitting at the dais from 2007 to 2010, she was the youngest person ever to be elected to the Lake Oswego City Council at age 22. A news release from the mayor's office notes that she is a member at the Oregon State Bar and a wife and mother as well.

"I am proud to work alongside a team that leads from conviction, values, and integrity," Dennis said in a statement. "We have so much to be proud of. We also have a lot of work ahead of us."

Wheeler was in need of a new right-hand assistant after reporters uncovered the City Hall romance between former Chief of Staff Michael Cox and Wheeler's legislative director late last year. The relationship raised questions about the city government's rules prohibiting a supervisor from dating a subordinate.

Wheeler maintained that the lovers didn't violate those rules, but after news broke of the affair Dec. 15, Cox was shuffled out the door by Jan. 7.

Regarding the new appointment of Dennis, Wheeler added: "It's a challenging job, and she has already stepped up. I look forward to her continued leadership."

Dennis' first day was Tuesday, Feb. 19.

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