In 2019, my first term as a County Commissioner, I rolled up my sleeves and helped establish a Good Neighbor Agreement between the Laurelwood Center, a new low-barrier shelter for adults experiencing houselessness, and the four nearby neighborhoods in the Foster-Powell community. At first, many community members and business owners were concerned about the shelter. I created a Steering Committee so community members, business owners, shelter providers, and elected officials could share their concerns and feedback in an effective and productive way. After eight months of listening sessions and public input meetings, our work culminated in a Good Neighbor Agreement that outlined clear expectations for everyone, and includes communication guidelines and processes for resolving questions in the future. As of January 2022, the shelter has housed 1,000 people and seen 300 move into permanent housing.
Additionally, In my time as County Commissioner, I have:
To learn more about what I plan to do as Multnomah County Chair, read my Housing and Houselessness Plan here.
I first ran for office as a mom driven by a desire to make sure all kids, no matter their zip code, have access to connected sidewalks, safe housing, and educational opportunities, so one of my proudest accomplishments is how I championed Preschool for All. Preschool for All will provide free, universal, quality preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds in Multnomah County.
It started in 2018, when we built a broad coalition of parents, educators, businesses, and advocates. Importantly, we centered the voices of parents with the least access to quality preschool as we developed the policy language. In 2020, we finalized the policy language, after negotiations I had with other advocates who were working on a similar preschool ballot initiative. And in November 2020, Multnomah County voters overwhelmingly passed Preschool for All. As County Chair, I will continue using this approach to ensure this program meets its growth targets and cost expectations, provides a diversity of enrollment options for families, and achieves universal status in 2030.
Read more about my future plans to support Preschool for All here.
Reproductive healthcare and reproductive justice are basic human rights. Everyone should be able to access the healthcare services necessary to take care of not only their bodies, but enable them to determine and control their economic futures. As a life-long supporter of reproductive justice, I am grateful to have helped Oregon become one of the most pro-choice states in the nation.
To learn more about how I will continue to defend and advance access to safe and affordable reproductive care for our communities, read my Reproductive Justice page here.
In 2010, as a working mom from East Portland, I got involved in my local neighborhood association because I was worried about things we didn’t have in our part of Portland—things like sidewalks to keep my kids safe, or parks for them to play in, or grocery stores to support our community. That’s why I was so proud, in 2014 as a State Representative, to successfully fight to fund $1.8 million for 18 crossing beacons on some of the most dangerous intersections in East Portland. Because we deserve the basic infrastructure to keep our communities safe and to grow our business.
Additionally, some of the other major Transportation wins I’ve helped pass include:
To learn more about how as Multnomah County Chair I plan to reshape our transportation system into one that prioritizes climate resilience, safe walkways and bike paths, and affordable and reliable public transit, visit my Transportation & Infrastructure page here.
The climate crisis is humanity's greatest threat, and in every one of my roles, I have advocated for comprehensive policies to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. In 2015, as a state legislator, I championed the passage of the groundbreaking Coal to Clean bill, a first-of-its-kind law to transition off of coal-fired power while doubling the state’s commitment to clean electricity by 2040. The Coal to Clean bill significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions from utilities, putting Oregon on a path to meet our own reductions goals. I also carried the Clean Fuels legislation on the House floor, which reduces the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold in Oregon. In 2016 the Sierra Club recognized me with the Distinguished Achievement Award for my efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
As a County Commissioner, I have also led the way on multiple important climate policies:
Read more about my plans to help protect our climate and make Multnomah County a place everyone can thrive: Climate Action & Resiliency
We face an epidemic in gun violence, nowhere more so than my East Portland district, and we need immediate interventions to break cycles of violence. Over the past two years, I‘ve fought to invest in community-based organizations that have deep relationships with those suffering the brunt of this epidemic. For example, in 2021, I successfully included a $300,000 budget amendment to create the Public Safety Village, a program that partners with and trains nonprofits to help increase their capacity to provide gun violence prevention & intervention programs. I also co-sponsored an amendment with Commissioner Jayapal that funds three neighborhood-focused violence prevention projects in NE Portland, East Portland, and Gresham. And I’ve listened to East Portland families impacted by gun violence to hear their experiences firsthand and discuss how we can support families harmed by community violence.
Our community-based organizations already have deep relationships with families who are suffering the brunt of the gun violence epidemic. As Multnomah County Chair, I will invest in these programs and relationships to make sure they have the support they need to reduce gun violence.
As the COVID virus continues to evolve, we will need to evolve with it. We also know that communities of color and low-income communities continue to face the brunt of the public health crises in our region. When COVID hit, I advocated for COVID-19 vaccination sites in East Portland when a lack of transportation options, language barriers, and confusion about the need for health insurance or documentation contributed to lower vaccination rates throughout my district. I’m proud to report that East Portland is now home to several vaccination sites. I worked with Latinx community leaders and organizations to hold a press conference calling on the Governor and the Oregon Health Authority to provide more attention and resources to combat the scourge of COVID impacting our Latinx community. And in June 2021, my office organized volunteers and staff to spread the word about vaccination clinics in East Portland neighborhoods, distributing multilingual flyers in local businesses, ethnic grocery stores, restaurants, barbershops, and other locations that people visit regularly and trust.
As your next Chair, I will fight to address equity and public health issues for everyone.
I’m a working mom who grew up in a large, loving Mexican-American family with hard working parents, with my dad in the steel industry and my mom doing child care. Helping working families has always been at the heart of what I do. When I was a state representative from 2013-2017, passing the Women’s Economic Success Agenda was at the heart of my work. This included:
As a County Commissioner, I made sure Preschool for All improved conditions not only for the County’s children but our workers as well. As part of our Preschool for All program, I worked with AFSCME, a labor union representing public employees, to ensure living wages for the hundreds of teachers and teacher assistants, who are overwhelmingly women and often women of color. I also fought to expand the County’s Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) program, which provides after-school activities, access to social services and navigation assistance, and resources to families, at Russell Elementary School and Kairos PDX.
No matter what issue it is, I will always support working families as your next Multnomah County chair.
As a Latina elected official, I know that the work of dismantling structural racism requires deep engagement with the systems that drive education, employment, transportation, and public safety opportunities alongside and in collaboration with BIPOC and Latino/a/x communities in order to identify and address the deeply ingrained sources of discrimination that are prevalent in all of these systems. That work requires centering the voices of Latino/a/x and other marginalized communities in the decision-making process.
As the first Latina to serve in the Oregon House in its 163 year existence, advocating for the needs of our Latino/a/x communities was a top priority, including In 2013, when I fought to expand drivers’ cards to undocumented immigrants, an effort which laid the groundwork for the successful implementation of that plan in recent years. That same year, I sponsored HB 2787 which expanded in-state tuition to children without documentation.
As a Multnomah County Commissioner, I’ve continued this work.
As Multnomah County Chair, I will continue to support Latinx, BIPOC, and Immigrant communities.