This Week's Curator: Sonja Mckenzie of Parkrose School Board and Planned Parenthood

My name is Sonja Mckenzie and I grew up in Katy, TX, a small suburb outside of Houston TX. I am a former school teacher. I have been in Portland for 20 years now and it is home. I am a busy mom to four teenagers!! My 2 oldest attend Parkrose High School, and my youngest, twin girls, attend Parkrose Middle School. Managing the life of our busy family keeps me busy. I am a Volunteer Coordinator with Planned Parenthood CW. I manage the Volunteer program for all 7 Health Center locations in the region. I love working with Volunteers! In 2017, I was elected to the Parkrose School Board. Recently, I was elected to the newly created OSBA Members of Color Caucus as  Regional Director. In addition, I was appointed to the Board of Dress for Success Oregon in 2017. Volunteering in the community is a way of life for me and my family. I am busy, but I feel the work is vitally important. 

This Week's Curator: Oregon State Senator Shemia Fagan

Senator Shemia Fagan is the child of a single father and a mother who experienced homelessness in East Portland for most of Fagan’s childhood. Fagan, a civil rights attorney and mother of two, served two terms in the Oregon House where she delivered millions of dollars for new sidewalks in East Portland. When the Oregon Senate failed to act urgently to address our housing crisis, she primaried a Democrat incumbent with over 40 years experience. Fagan won with over 60% of the vote. She is serving her first term in the Oregon Senate where she is focusing on housing and bridging the gap between the Capitol and the people.

This Week's Curator: Shawn Fleek, Director of Narrative Strategy for OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon

My name at birth was Shawn Fleek, and in 2015 my last name became popular slang. My Tinder bio used to say “I love Portland enough to tell it when it makes mistakes, and I want people in my life who love me that way.” I grew up in Northwestern Pennsylvania, the son of two factory workers. I’m a queer cis man, able-bodied, non-neurotypical. I’m multiracial. My grandmother raised me to be proud of and identify with my Native ancestry. We’re descendants of the Northern Arapaho tribe. I’m a transit-dependent renter, I’ve lived in Portland since 2007, and in that time I’ve lived in 14 apartments because again: renter, Portland. I recently became the Director of Narrative Strategy for OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon; I get to help all sorts of audiences understand OPAL’s amazing work organizing in East Portland and across the state to reduce race and class disparities, and achieve environmental and climate justice. In my spare time I write stories, run Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, enjoy cinema, drink tea, and eat the best food I can find or make.

This Week's Curator: Andrea Valderrama, Vice Chair of the David Douglas School Board and City Hall Advisor

Andrea is a first generation Latinx raised in east Oakland by her mother, a political refugee of Perú and has been living in Oregon for the past 18 years. Her passion for civic engagement, community activism, and policy work are rooted in her experience cleaning houses while in school and being raised in poverty by a single mother. Andrea has been a Senior Policy Advisor in City Hall for the past 6 years, working previously for a Commissioner and now for the Mayor. Andrea was the first person of color to ever serve on the David Douglas School Board in outer east Portland and is currently serving as Vice Chair. She earned her BA from the University of Oregon and graduated as a first-generation student from PSU’s CUPA, having earned her Executive Master of Public Administration degree. 

This Week's Curator: Damon Motz-Storey of Foster-Powell and the Portland Gay Men's Chorus

Damon Motz-Storey grew up Quaker in Denver, studied math, music, and education at Haverford College in Philadelphia, and then moved to Portland in 2016 to take a job with Physicians for Social Responsibility, which works to reframe climate change, environmental pollution, and militarism as human health issues. Damon lives in an environmental and social justice community house in Foster-Powell with 12 really cool humans, the majority of whom are queer and people of color. He sings Bass 2 in the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus and attends Multnomah Friends Meeting, a Quaker congregation in SE Portland.

This Week's Curator: Kip Kesgard, Timbers blogger and Wilkes resident

By day, Kip Kesgard is a business analyst for U.S. Bank of Oregon, working out of the Columbia Center Operations location just off 181st and NE Sandy. He has been employed with U.S. Bank for 29 years in various capacities, having moved to Portland back In October 1989. After living In Beaverton for many years, Kip also lived In the Raleigh Hills, Gabriel Park, and Northwest Portland areas until moving to East Portland in 2005. He commuted from Northwest Portland to Gresham for many years until he moved into his current residence with his wife, mother-In-law and pack of cats. When Kip isn’t working, he spends his time at the gym or playing soccer, and one of his other Interests is the Portland Timbers. Kip has been writing a blog covering the team since 2007 for Oregonlive.com until he left the publication and started his own independent blog. Kip’s wife is his photographer, taking photos at each match, and they spend their weekends walking about their neighborhood, taking care of their cats, or simply enjoying Portland and all that it offers.

This Week's Curator: Jon Isaacs, of Montavilla and Uber

Jon Isaacs grew up in Milwaukie, just south of Portland, with the exception of his early teenage years, which were spent in Tampa, FL. He graduated from Rex Putnam High School and attended Oregon State University, graduating in 1996. While at OSU, Jon got involved with the student government and the Oregon Student Lobby (now OSA), which led to a career in politics, organizing, and now public affairs. Jon worked in student and community organizing at the local and national level until 2001, when he began working for progressive Democratic campaigns in Oregon. Jon says, “People forget, but this state was mostly a Republican led state until the middle of last decade. I’m very proud of my work on the team that led the turning of the tide from Red to Blue in Oregon from 2004-2008 serving as the Campaign Manager and Senior Political Advisor to then House Democratic Leader Jeff Merkley, and now US Senate Jeff Merkley. Jeff, as you know is from East Portland.” Jon’s first son, Jay, was born during the 2008 Senate campaign as well. In 2009, resigned as Merkley’s State Director. He has since worked in a variety roles trying to find a balance between work that impacts the community and having time for his family. Jon got divorced in 2015, and has his kids half-time. He and his sons (Jay 10, Sam, 6) moved to Montavilla in 2016. He was recruited and accepted a job at Uber, leading their public affairs work in Oregon and several other Western States that year. Jon and his family absolutely LOVE living in. Montavilla. Jon says, “It’s such a unique Portland neighborhood, and it feels like our own city away from the city. But it has definitely opened my eyes to the inequities I always knew existed, but now I see on a daily basis. I see the problems, but I also see the progress and opportunities. I am excited to write about both.” Jon’s priorities in life are his kids, his partner, Diana Bailey, who owns and runs her own Immigration Law Firm, Bailey Immigration, and his work for Uber. In his personal time, he is a big Portland (Blazers, Timbers) and Oregon State University sports junkie. He also helps run a variety of gaming groups - tabletop, dungeons and dragons, starfinder.

This Week's Curator: Madi Carlson, Family Biking Advocate

Madi Carlson is a car-free single mom of two and has only lived in Portland for a year, but she finally feels at home after a lifetime of moving up and down the west coast. Previously, Madi and her family lived in Seattle for eight years, so it was easy to visit Portland often and she was an honorary Portlander before becoming a real one. Madi has been enamored with the Pacific Northwest since she was a kid when her family camped their way from California to Canada to visit relatives in the summers.

Madi is a family biking advocate and loves to bike around Portland with her kids. She’s the Co-Director of Kidical Mass PDX, an organization that strives to promote biking with kids in the Portland area, with an eye to underserved areas and populations. The Kidical Mass PDX folks love riding bikes for transportation, for an active lifestyle, and mostly for fun! They work to help people feel safe riding their bikes, especially if they don’t already feel that way.

When Madi is not biking around Portland with her kids (on weekdays that's 20 miles a day, escorting one to elementary school and then the other to middle school) she spends her time writing about family biking.

This Week's Curator: Rachelle Dixon, Multnomah County Democrats Vice Chair

Rachelle Dixon is a caterer, a foodie with a social justice agenda, and a tireless advocate for her community.  She currently holds a couple of political titles, including Vice Chair of Multnomah County Democrats. Rachelle is also an Urban Farmer that loves watching things grow. 

This election season, Rachelle is running for the position of East Multnomah County Soil and Water Director for Zone 1. This is a write-in campaign that has kept her surprisingly busy. As Vice Chair of Multnomah County Democrats, Rachelle is also working to support other elections, especially those in outer east county. When she is not working, you can find Rachelle trying out new plant-based foods, gardening, or socializing with friends.

This Week's Curator: Khanh Pham, of APANO and Portland Clean Energy Initiative

Khanh Pham lives and works in the Jade District, a neighborhood roughly located between 82nd Ave and 92nd Ave, between SE Division and SE Powell Blvd. She works as the Manager of Immigrant Organizing at APANO, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, which is also in the Jade District. Khanh has been working for the past three years on the Portland Clean Energy Initiative, which allows her to combine her passions for organizing and strategic communications for racial, economic, and climate justice. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her 4-year-old daughter and working on a side project called Chia Sẻ Tin Tức, a Vietnamese translation project. She is proud to serve on the board of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, also located on SE 82nd Ave.

This Week's Curator: Caity Hubert of Parkrose

Caity Hubert is a born and bred Oregonian, and has lived in the Portland area for her whole life. She has been in the beauty industry for over a decade, and has owned a salon in NE Portland for over three years. Caity is a wife and mom. She spends most of her days exploring, eating, and having fun in Portland with family and friends. Caity likes to explore locally owned businesses between working from home. She takes salon clients a few days a week.

This Week's Curator: Caterer Anne Tegtmeier

Anne Tegtmeier is a single mom and small business owner, having started Fan Fare Theme Catering just over a year ago. She specializes in geeky events, of course, but enjoys the challenge of finding all kinds of different ways to celebrate people and their events through food. Anne’s first career was as a modern dancer, her second was as a massage therapist and later a lactation consultant (both of which are still her day jobs), and she just started her third act as a caterer, since theme parties and food have been her favorite extracurriculars all along. Anne still dances for the joy and sweat of it when she can, loves writing in a variety of genres, and is raising a gem of a visual artist, her 10 year-old daughter Lily.

This Week's Curator: Multnomah County Commissioner and City Council Candidate Loretta Smith

Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith is a candidate for Portland City Council, Position 3. Loretta is a mom, a daughter, a sister, a grandmother, a person of faith and a life-long public servant. She has 30 years of experience working to make the community better. She is an 8-year Multnomah County Commissioner and every day she fights to help those who have been left behind. Spending 21 years working for U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Loretta learned from the best on how to work collaboratively and effectively to get things done. 

This Week's Curator: City Council Candidate Jo Ann Hardesty

Jo Ann Hardesty is a candidate in the upcoming November election for City Council, Position 3. Jo Ann currently spends most of her time on campaign-related activities. Prior to running for office, she served as President of the NAACP’s Portland chapter, operated a small consulting business, produced a weekly radio show on KBOO, and served on various boards and commissions as a volunteer.  She also used to have more time to read and go see live jazz shows.

This Week's Curator: Erica

Hi, I'm Erica. I live in the Portland half of Rockwood, have spent most of my life working in disability rights, and though I might not be as big of a name as the people coming before me or after me, I represent more of the everyperson of East Portland. My roots run deep here; I can bore you with tales of the 80s sewer scandals or show you where the plane crash happened; I struggle daily with that I constantly find myself forced to choose: live in the part of town where all the queer people live but have 34 roommates and always be the only person of color in the room, or stay here, where you belong in general but end up a bit isolated.

Because I'm an everyperson, and because I know I wouldn't have a job anymore if I were outed and I already exist way too close to the margin financially, you don't get my real name or real face. I know this might be weird, but multiple people can assure you I am an actual person and I have lots and lots of things I am qualified to opine on, whether it's the tensions of belonging to a group of people with no organized local advocacy or crappy behavior on the MAX or the struggles of trying to get your groceries on public transport or how awesome our parks are out here.

This Week's Curator: Gus Kroll of HOMEpdx

Gus Kroll is a stay-at-home parent hanging out with two busy kids under the age of 5, while his wife of 10 years (she’s awesome) pays the mortgage.

Gus also works half-time at a small organization called HOMEpdx with folks who are living on the margins downtown (some living outside, some are marginally housed) and he’s lucky enough that he’s able to take his kiddos downtown with him for a lot of his work and they get to join in the small community-building work in their own way. If you ask, the older one would love to tell you about some of the friends she has downtown.

You also might find Gus busy on Mt. Scott-Arleta Board or working on The Arleta Triangle on summer weekends.

This Week's Curator: Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann

Lori Stegmann is a Multnomah County Commissioner representing East County.  She was elected to the County board in 2016; prior to that she served 6 years on the Gresham City Council.  She is a small business owner and has been for 25 years. She has two daughters and is a caretaker for her elderly mother.

Commissioner Stegmann came to this country when she was 6 months old.  She was part of the famous Holt airlift that brought 3000 babies from South Korea to the United States to be adopted into families here. She became a US citizen at the age of 4 and attended public school in East County.  She grew up in the communities that she now represents as a County Commissioner.

Because she represents different cities, school districts and service districts Commissioner Stegmann knows each one is unique and tries to make sure she is building strong partnerships across those boundaries.  That means she is often spending time out in her district during the week, in the evenings, and most weekends.

This Week's Curator: Sam Stuckey, Architect and Mill Park Neighborhood Association Board Member

Sam Stuckey is a native Portlander, who grew up in the Alameda/Irvington area and moved to the Mill Park neighborhood a little over a year ago when he and his wife were lucky enough to buy their first home.

"My day job as an architect keeps me busy (too busy sometimes), but when I’m not designing buildings I try to spend as much time exploring my new community.  Growing up in an “inner” Portland neighborhood, it’s almost embarrassing how little I knew of East Portland when I moved here. I’m still discovering new restaurants, food carts,  local businesses, and parks. 

"I’m also a board member with the Mill Park Neighborhood Association.  I started attending meetings as soon as I got to the neighborhood and it has been a great way to establish roots and create a deeper connection to my neighbors."

This Week's Curator: Tricia Brand, Dean of Students at Portland Community College, Southeast Campus

Tricia Brand is a Senior-Level College Administrator in private liberal arts, public research, and
community college settings. She is currently serving as the Dean of Students for Southeast Campus of Portland Community College. Located at the corner of SE 82nd and Division, Southeast Campus is the newest campus for Portland Community College, providing comprehensive educational offerings for East Portland and the greater metropolitan area.

Tricia is a scholar, practitioner and educator guided by her curiosity about the world and her desire to serve the community in which she lives. Within higher education, Tricia is committed to
promising and innovative practices in the areas of college access, achievement, equity and inclusion, student retention and persistence, civic engagement, leadership, and self-authorship through student development. She enjoys social media, mobile photography, arts, culture, nature and spending time with her spouse, their cat, Malcolm, and their rescue miniature schnauzer, Esmerelda.