Tag Archives: Jeff Cogen

Best quotes from Street Roots interviews in 2011

“I don’t think we’re in the buggy whip business just yet. But I sometimes wonder if we’re going to be the last. I’m not nostalgic, but I enjoy, and still think most people do, the printed book. It’s a question of how much you have to accommodate the new technologies and how much you continue to make what you do important to people.”

— Michael Powell, former owner of Powell’s City of Books, on reading and books, Jan. 20

“The plans that are now called Cadillac health plans are what we used to call adequate health plans. There’s been a trend in this country over and over, to blame segments of the population for our health care costs rising out of control. And the truth is that the blame lies in the fact that we don’t have a health system. We don’t allocate our health resources or make decisions in a rational way, based on what the needs are and what our resources are. Instead we have this for-profit industry all trying to eat from our health-care pie.”

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Physicians for National Health Program, doctor, activist, on the health-care system and reform, Feb. 4

“The reality is, to be successful on the housing front, locally and at the state level, we need a big coalition. Part of this is about the confidence and maturity of a movement, and its willingness to build a big tent.”

— Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner, on resource development for housing and homeless services, March 4 Continue reading

A talk with Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen on what’s wrong, what’s right, and what could be

By Israel Bayer, Staff Writer

From “Shakedown Street” at Grateful Dead shows to creating the first certified organic bakery in Portland with the Portland Pretzel Company, Jeff Cogen approaches life with a different perspective, and that includes his leadership of the most dynamic county in Oregon.

Today, Cogen is leading by example and has taken on progressive projects at the county including food production, fighting for people experiencing homelessness and poverty, and even taking on the chemical industry.

Street Roots recently sat down with Cogen to talk about politics, his ambitions and issues facing the people of Multnomah County.

Israel Bayer: We hear so much about the dysfunction of government and wasteful spending. Can you talk a little bit about how the county has to overcome this kind of thinking and give some examples of how local governments are working together to improve the region’s quality of life?

Jeff Cogen: The leadership of Multnomah County works really well together right now. Our challenge is letting people know we are working for them, and trying to behave in a way that people can see we are taking actions in a way that builds people’s confidence — especially in this country where we have to rebuild peoples faith in government — because there has frankly been a very organized right-wing campaign to make government the enemy.

Really what government is, is people coming together to take care of their collective needs. I think it’s so important that we get people buying into and understanding that we have it in our capacity, in our own community and as a country, to solve our problems.

I.B.: A lot of average people, the same people on the Barack Obama train three, four years ago, are starting to fall like flies and become disillusioned. How does the average Portlander play a role in moving a conversation forward that government is not bad?

J.C.: That’s a great question, and I don’t have magic answers for this. For me personally, I try to focus on what we are doing locally. I have been really saddened that President Obama’s heartfelt integrity to work with people has been met with very effective cynical attacks.

Regardless of how the president has responded to these negative attacks, I feel like what we have going on in Portland and Multnomah County is reason to believe that, “Yes, we can.” It’s more tangible. And for me I can wrap my hands and head around what’s happening locally, and believe that the decisions we make mean that local government matters. In some ways the most powerful thing we can do is to show the nation a model of government making a difference, government doing positive things, government helping solve our problems. And that’s why I get really fired up to do the work locally. Continue reading

Extra! Extra!

Don’t let the cool breezes make you give up on summer. There’s hot stuff coming your way this weekend — and that includes Street Roots! Your friendly neighborhood vendor will be stocked up come Friday morning, so have your dollar and a friendly smile ready to go. Here’s what’s rolling off the press right now:

‘Never say never’: A talk with Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen on what’s wrong, what’s right, and what could be.

A very gendered experience: The first survey of its kind reveals startling statistics about the health and experiences of homeless women.

A good read: This summer, Portland writer and educator Laura Moulton took it upon herself to bring a mobile library to the streets. Her project captured the attention of not only people experiencing homelessness, but the community at large, people in the media, and a devoted cadre of volunteers.

 ‘I have a sense of urgency, but we need to do it right.’ Controversy over the city’s fair housing audit doesn’t sway efforts to push forward on a plan for more tests.

Plus commentary from The Bus Project and the Center for Intercultural Organizing, along with more news, a new vendor profile and some of the best poetry from the streets. And the crossword is back! Don’t forget to grab your Street Roots before you head out of town, or make sure you get one before next week begins. Your vendor will thank you!