What I've Been Up To.
Short biography of who i am, passions, life story.
Despite significant research suggesting that freeway expansion has never solved traffic congestion, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced their intention in June of 2017 to move forward with a proposed $450 million expansion of I-5 through the Rose Quarter in Northeast Portland. Because of the project's troubling inadequacies addressing the Portland region's significant needs for investment in infrastructure that addresses growing gridlock and concerns over climate change and air quality, I worked with fellow community members to launch the "No More Freeway Expansions" coalition. Our team assembled over 450 community member signatures and endorsements from 26 organizations representing public health experts, environmentalists, local parents, transportation advocates and economists to sign a letter and raise our concerns at Portland City Hall. 35 individuals testified during a September Central City Comprehensive Plan hearing, and I led a community walk to the hearing that morning. I am currently managing our burgeoning political strategy, communications, and coalition building efforts. Our coalition has won significant earned television, radio and print media, including a cover story in The Portland Mercury, as well as development commitments from City Council to study congestion tolling before costly freeway expansion.
On May 16, 66% of Portland voters approved the largest bond in state history to remove lead, asbestos and radon from all ninety schools in Portland Public Schools' district and rebuild three high schools and a middle school. The campaign was unique for a myriad of challenges; the district's leadership was undergoing significant transition, the measure was referred to voters only two months before ballots would be cast, and the timing of a Special Election led many to speculate the lower turnout would make it difficult to turn out the voters necessary to approve the bond. I worked with Wright Public Affairs throughout the Spring of 2017 to run social media, produce press releases, collect over 250 endorsements, and write 14 Voter Pamphlet Statements for Portlanders for Safe and Healthy Schools campaign in support of Measure 26-193.
Our campaign ran a robust field game, conducted significant grasstops engagement to build community trust, and utilized unique and innovative opportunities to leverage endorsements (we worked with everyone from affordable housing advocates, disability rights groups and Aminé, an up-and-coming rapper who graduated from Benson Polytechnic) to convince voters to support the bond. The Portlanders for Safe and Healthy Schools campaign conducted outreach in six languages, and visited over 50 PTAs in a month to engage volunteers and turn out voters.
For just under four years, I served as board president of Oregon Walks, the state's pedestrian advocacy organization. Oregon Walks advocates to make walking as a transportation option safe, convenient and accessible for every Oregonian in the state, regardless of which community they call home. Under my stewardship, the organization grew significant in scope, size, and stature to be a preeminent voice and advocate for transportation justice in municipal, regional and state conversations.
Oregon Walks now employs nearly 3 FTE, is overseen by a robust and engaged board of directors, and collaborates closely with programs and organizations advocating for affordable housing, climate-smart communities, Safe Routes to School, elimination of racial profiling, thoughtful urban design, livable streets, and equity partners across the city, region and state. Oregon Walks played a prominent role in spearheading the collaborative advocacy campaign to push the City of Portland to adopt policies for implementing Vision Zero to eliminate traffic fatalities, and successfully pushed for the first Vision Zero policy in the country to explicitly address the potential negative impacts of additional traffic enforcement on vulnerable communities.
As Board President, I worked tirelessly with our staff, community stakeholders, elected officials, bureaucrats, planners, funders, and the abundant community advocates to continue to bolster an organization that advocates for an equitable, intersectional, and community-empowering approach to pedestrian advocacy. The organization is moving forward with ambitious plans for organizing for livable streets with existing and emerging community resources in East Multnomah County in the years ahead.
On May 17, 2016, 52% of Portlanders voted to increase funding for municipal transportation for the first time in over thirty years. I worked with ProspectPDX as the campaign manager for the Fix Our Streets Portland campaign, which raised $64 million for road maintenance and safety improvements through a temporary ten-cent gas tax. Our campaign solicited and received the endorsement from over fifty community organizations and advocates from across Portland; I authored ten pamphlet statements in the voter's guide, coordinated press releases and media outreach, and highlighted the dire need for investments in sidewalks and crosswalks in Portland's most vulnerable neighborhoods. We were opposed by out-of-state opponents in the Petroleum industry, who dumped $70,000 for mailers and a disinformation campaign. I coordinated campaigns to write letters to the editors, managed social media across three platforms, arranged for testimony in support during the voter referral at City Council, wrote numerous press releases highlighting community endorsements, and highlighted the voices of Portlanders who wished for safer streets. I also debated the measure on a local television's public affairs show, which was an oddly bizarre experience. The victory was a culmination of years of working with community advocates in Portland's active transportation field, building pressure and support for elected officials to invest in eliminating traffic fatalities, and campaign experience from decades of electoral organizing in previous positions.
The following November, I conducted similar work with Measure 26-178, which renewed a local option levy for maintenance and operations for regional conservation, working for political affairs firm Strategies 360. The Protect Our Natural Areas campaign similarly engaged coalition building work with partners across all three counties, building relationships and soliciting endorsements between environmental justice, conservation, business, and public health advocates. Notably, the levy was approved resoundingly across all three counties; it represents the first funding Measure for regional conservation investments to pass with majorities in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties. I conducted social media, wrote press releases, spoke at events and fundraisers, and coordinated door knocking campaigns with the League of Conservation Voters.
The Oregon Bus Project engages and inspires the next generation of Oregonians to participate in politics through youth-led voter registration drives, progressive policy promotion and leadership development programs. As Outreach Coordinator of the Oregon Bus Project, I led the program's voter registration drives, built a volunteer base of enthusiastic high school students, and passed the #FreshStartOregon bill through the Oregon Legislature. The law provides a legal pathway for expungement of petty marijuana crimes for as many as 60,000 Oregonians, and Oregon's successes led to similar legislation being introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer in Congress that summer. I also conducted the Bus Project's social media, outreach, and logistics for passage of New Motor Voter, the first automatic voter registration legislation in the country. I also coordinated the organization's voter registration drives for the 2014 cycle, working closely with immigrants' rights organizations in support of driver's cards for undocumented residents. I ran Brewhaha! events that discussed local political matters, and orchestrated the Bus' 2015 National Voter Registration Day, which mobilized over 140 volunteers to register 1230 Oregonians to vote in 12 communities and 35 schools across the state on a single day.
In other relevant employment contracts, short-term positions and internships, I have produced content, coordinated programmatic offerings and events, and provided administrative support for the Outdoor School for All Campaign, New Approach Oregon, Portland Public Schools, Oregon Environmental Council, Bicycle Transportation Alliance, The Intertwine Alliance, Groundwork Portland, and Oregon Metro.
- Keynote speaker, Pennsylvania Greenways and Trails Summit: "Walking the Walk: Committing to Coalition Building for Equitable Communities" Reading, PA, September 2017
- YIMBYtown 2017 - Presenter: "Intersectional YIMBYism," Oakland, CA, July 2017
- YIMBYtown Conference - Presenter: "Whose Backyard, Anyway?" Boulder, CO, June 2016
- Oregon Active Transportation Summit - Attendee, Portland, OR, April 2015
- International Trails Symposium - Presenter "Trails for All" Portland, OR, April 2015
- Vision Zero Cities Conference - Attendee: Brooklyn, NY, November 2014
- International Trails Symposium - Presenter "Youth Engagement with Trail Planning": Phoenix, AZ, April 2013
- Washington State Trails Coalition Conference - Presenter: "Youth Engaged in Planning: Three Strategies, Three Projects, Three States" Vancouver WA, October 2012
- Oregon Active Transportation Summit - Presenter "Economics impacts of the Midtown Greenway" Salem, OR, April 2012
- Association of American Geographers Conference - Academic Research Presenter, "A Greenway Runs Through It," Washington DC, April 2010
Select Conferences and Presentations
- 1000 Friends of Oregon: Land Use Leadership Initiative - Mentor, 2015-2016
- Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability: Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee - Networks, 2013
- 1000 Friends of Oregon: Land Use Leadership Initiative, Student - 2013
- Boise Neighborhood Association Communications Chair, 2011 - 2013
- Portland Parks and Recreation: North Portland Greenway Project Advisory Committee - Member, 2012
- Oregon Metro: Regional Active Transportation Plan - Youth Representative, 2012-2014
- 107ist: Member, 2011 - Present