Five Metro Councilors and the Metro Auditor took the oath of office on Tuesday at a swearing-in ceremony at the East Portland Community Center.
State Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson administered the oath of office, as she did in 2017, when she was a Multnomah County District Court judge.
Here’s a look at the six elected officials who were sworn in Tuesday.
Metro Council President Lynn Peterson
Peterson begins her second and final term of office as council president, representing all 1.7 million people in the Metro area. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and a transportation engineer by training, she worked at Metro in the 1990s before entering politics, serving as a Lake Oswego City Councilor and the Clackamas County Chair. From 2013-16, she directed the Washington State Department of Transportation, and in 2018 was elected to her first term as Metro Council President. In 2022, she wrote her first book, “Roadways for People: Rethinking Transportation Planning.”
She said it: “We meet the challenges of today by looking into the short-term. We can’t just look 50 years into the future – we have been thrown too many curveballs and realized how many people we need to incorporate into building a new plan for the future. We must set some realistic 5- year goals to build a new model of success.”
District 1 Councilor Ashton Simpson
Simpson was elected in May to represent the east part of the Metro region, including East Portland, Gresham, Fairview, Troutdale, Wood Village, Damascus and parts of Boring and Happy Valley. He is the second Black Metro Councilor, the first in 22 years. An Air Force veteran, Simpson was the director of the pedestrian safety advocacy group Oregon Walks before stepping down at the end of 2021 to begin his work as an elected official.
He said it: “Where I see challenges, I also see hope and opportunity. As I look around the room I see leaders from government and the community. That gives me hope. I ran for Metro because I believe that Metro can be the glue that binds all of those hopes and opportunities together. Metro is, at its core, a connector. My hope is that as your District 1 councilor, I can help connect problems to opportunities, connect people making a difference with people who need a difference, and connect hope to an outcome.”
District 2 Councilor Christine Lewis
Lewis was re-elected in May, and will begin her second term representing central Clackamas County and parts of South and Southwest Portland on the Metro Council. Before being elected to the Metro Council in 2018, she worked as the legislative director for the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and the campaign manager for the 2016 Portland housing bond. She is a graduate of Reed College, where she worked on the nuclear reactor. Lewis, who lives in West Linn’s Willamette neighborhood, is the mother of 3-year-old Carrick and 3-month-old McCall.
She said it: “We are at once the 40-year-old planning organization, plotting a path for sustainable growth decades into the future – our horizons far in the distance. At the same time, we are taking form as something new, stepping up and playing a major role in meeting the needs of the housing and homelessness crisis. So is it absurd, trying to be both? An agency that works in planning on the horizon and in real time meeting urgent needs? I would argue no – the balance makes us better in both roles.”
District 4 Councilor Juan Carlos González
González was re-elected in May, and will begin his second term representing northern Washington County on the Metro Council. He also works as the director of development and communications at Centro Cultural de Washington County, a position he’s held for 7 years. He grew up in Cornelius, graduated from Forest Grove High School and Georgetown University, and lives in Hillsboro.
He said it: “It takes many hands to create – not just to build the frames, to install the plumbing but to clear the fields, to dig, that you need to cherish every step of the process to deliver something. And most importantly that what makes a great place – it’s not just the great streets, the parks, the buildings, but the people that make memories at every single step of the way.”
District 6 Councilor Duncan Hwang
Hwang was elected in May to serve two years on the Metro Council. He was previously appointed in January 2022 to fill the District 6 vacancy created by the October 2021 resignation of the late Bob Stacey. Hwang’s 2022 election was for the remainder of Stacey’s term. Hwang’s parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan, and he grew up on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He came to Portland to attend Lewis & Clark Law School and worked as an attorney in Portland and Beijing before helping launch the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, or APANO, which advocates for community members and equitable development, particularly in the 82nd Avenue area.
He said it: “I want to talk about the American Dream. It is a beacon of hope for many around the world, however, that dream is increasingly out of reach. No matter how hard many work now, that pathway to prosperity and success isn’t as wide as it used to be. That’s why I ran for office. I want to make sure that the same kid doing his homework in the back of a shop on 82nd Ave today has the same opportunities to choose their own path in life as I did.”
Auditor Brian Evans
Evans was elected in May to his third four-year term as auditor. Prior to his election as the Metro Auditor, Evans was a principal auditor at Metro and the senior economist with Oregon’s Economic and Community Development Department. His office has conducted 37 audits or follow-ups since he took office in 2015. Evans spends his off time building Legos with his son enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, skiing and traveling. He is a graduate of Lewis and Clark College and the University of Wisconsin.
He said it:
“I really do not take this for granted. I’m honored to be among so many dedicated public servants and people who work to improve this region and this part of the state. … I appreciate Metro’s culture of learning, growth and moving forward.”