Ready to serve: Liesl Wendt takes oath of office as county commissioner

Tuesday, 10/22/13 - 1:47 pm

On her first day in office, Commissioner Liesl Wendt pledged to bring energy and consideration for those in need as she supported the work Multnomah County does to provide services to the public.

The new commissioner took the oath of office during a Multnomah County Board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 22. She will represent District 1, which includes Portland and unincorporated Multnomah County west of the Willamette River and inner Southeast Portland, until the May 2014 election.

Wendt is the designated replacement for former Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, who stepped down Oct. 18 to run for county Chair. She will fill the District 1 seat until May when an election will determine who will fill the remainder of Kafoury’s four-year term ending on Dec. 31, 2016. The election for the District 1 seat is May 20, 2014.

“I hope to bring perspective for those who often don’t have a voice and respect for continuing the great work underway at the county,” Wendt said. “I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t feel like this job was another opportunity to work for those at risk.”

Wendt, 43, is taking a leave of absence as the director for Self-Sufficiency Programs at the Oregon Department of Human Services. She is the former chief executive officer of 211info, a statewide community information organization that connects people with human services to meet basic needs, such as food and shelter. Wendt has worked at local nonprofits, including the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Oregon Food Bank. She also served on former Portland Mayor Tom Potter’s staff as director of neighborhood engagement.

Wendt said she was excited to join the county board and employees in serving the public.

“I’m lucky and privileged to be working with such an inspiring group of women and leaders,” Wendt said. “When I look at the work of Multnomah County, it’s felt in neighborhoods, in infrastructure, emergency services and care for the most vulnerable. I know that work doesn’t happen by accident. It happens because of a dedicated and caring workforce.”

“And I think of many examples of how that has impacted my own life, whether it’s a skilled librarian helping me find a new novel; the health clinic at Cleveland High School that provides timely help to many students; to ensuring the safety of the Sellwood Bridge, which I drive over regularly,” Wendt said. I’m honored and proud to serve you.”

Learn more about Commissioner Wendt.