Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen admits to affair

PORTLAND, Ore. - Multnomah County Chair Jeff Cogen admitted that he had an extramarital affair with a female county employee, KATU's news partners Willamette Week reported Tuesday night.

KATU News has since independently confirmed the report. Cogen released a statement through a county spokesman to KATU News.

He said the affair has ended. Cogen also won't be at work as county board chair for a while and is taking vacation time to be with his family.

Cogen tried to dodge television cameras Tuesday night by lying in the backseat of a SUV as staffers drove it from the parking garage at the Multnomah County Building in Southeast Portland.

The affair became public after an anonymous email was sent to all five Multnomah County commissioners, WW reported.

He told Willamette Week he regrets the harm he's caused his wife and children and he doesn't plan to resign.

Cogen admitted to the year-long affair with Sonia Manhas, who is the policy and planning director in the Multnomah County Health Department.

She recently received a promotion. Other county workers speculated that Manhas got the promotion because of her relationship with Cogen.

Cogen said he doesn't believe his relationship with Manhas violated county rules because "she is not my subordinate," he told WW. He also said his relationship with Manhas did not in any way help her in her career.

Cogen's political career in Portland started in 1999 when he was the spokesman for the Multnomah Commission on Children and Families. In 2006, he won his first elected position on the Multnomah County Commission. In 2010, he was elected as Multnomah County chair. In 2011, political insiders expected Cogen to run for mayor and were surprised when he didn't.