Cogen returns to work after revealing affair

Jeff Cogen, in a 2013 photo when he was Multnomah County Chairman (KOIN 6 News, file)
Jeff Cogen, in a 2013 photo when he was Multnomah County Chairman (KOIN 6 News, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Multnomah County Board Chairman Jeff Cogen returned to work following his confession last week that he had a year-long affair with a policy adviser.

Cogen, a married father of two, allegedly admitted to the affair with 41-year-old Sonia Manhas, the director of policy at the Multnomah County Health Department, after an anonymous email was circulated alleging that she had received a promotion last year due to her relationship with him.

A security guard said he would call the sheriff’s office if KOIN 6 News tried to go to his sixth floor office.

Manhas took a vacation day from the Health Department on Monday.

On Friday, the county released hundreds of pages of emails that were exchanged between the Cogen and Manhas. The other four county commissioners also released a joint statement calling for “a sufficient inquiry by the County Attorney to provide answers for the people of Multnomah County.”

Political science professor Jim Moore said the emails between Cogen and Manhas would shed light on whether it was just two people chatting with each other or if Cogen tried to use his influence to help her get promoted.

“The emails that came out over the weekend indicated that he played a bigger role in her promotion and things like that,” Moore told KOIN 6 News. “We have to figure out what’s going on with that because that becomes a breech of public trust, if that’s really what’s going on.”

KOIN 6 News reporter Ken Boddie contributed to this report.

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