The Metro Council voted Thursday to appoint 13 people to the committee overseeing the greater Portland region’s $652.8 million affordable housing program.
The program, approved by 59 percent of the region’s voters in November 2018, is aiming to provide stable affordable housing for 12,000 people in greater Portland.
The committee includes a faith leader, an electrician, an entrepreneur and a first-generation American.
“This committee brings a great diversity of experiences to the table,” said Metro Council President Lynn Peterson. “They’re the right group to make sure this program gets housing built in a way that make fiscal sense and provides affordable homes in an inclusive, equitable manner.”
The committee will review the plans for housing development from seven jurisdictions – Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties, and the cities of Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham and Portland – to make sure the local plans are reasonable proposals to use each jurisdiction’s portion of the housing bond. They’ll also be responsible for tracking the construction of the 3,900 homes planned for the bond measure.
Committee members include:
Manuel Castenda, president of PLI Systems, Inc., a construction firm specializing in soil stabilization. At age 14, Castenda emigrated from a remote village in Mexico and would become the first in his family of 12 siblings to graduate from high school. While building his company, he has also served his community as a trustee for Pacific University, a mentor with the Port of Portland Mentor Program, and in leadership positions with both the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce and the Washington County Business Council. Castenda is a father of four and lives in Beaverton.
Serena Cruz is the executive director of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation, where she oversees fundraising, public relations, advocacy and community partnership activities in support of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center. Cruz also serves as a Founders Circle Member of ninety-nine girlfriends and a board member for the Oregon Historical Society and Foundations for a Better Oregon (Chalkboard). She served eight years on the Multnomah County Commission. She lives in Northeast Portland, where her 11-year old daughter attends Harriet Tubman Middle School.
Melissa Erlbaum is the executive director of Clackamas Women’s Services, the most comprehensive service provider in Oregon serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence, elder and vulnerable adult abuse, trafficking and sexual exploitation and stalking. Erlbaum has worked in the field of public safety, criminal justice, victim services and homeless services for over 20 years, beginning as a volunteer at St. Luke’s Rape Crisis Center in New York City.
Steven Holt is the lead pastor of Kingdom Nation Church, a congregation in Rockwood, and the founding principal of “Try Excellence,” a consulting and facilitation firm that works to improve community and customer relationships. In the 1970s, Holt was involved in a program that bused African-American children from their inner city neighborhoods to predominately white suburban schools, an experience that proved instrumental in his ability to communicate across many lines. He is a founding member of the Freshwind/11:45 movement which addresses the need for mentorship and gang intervention in the Portland metro area, working with prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, law enforcement and other local pastors to strategize best practices for gang impacted youth.
Mitch Hornecker is a lifelong Oregonian and is the co-founder of New Avenues for Youth and currently serves on the boards of New Avenues, Meyer Memorial Trust, Center for Homeless Research and the California Casualty Insurance Company. He is also a member of the Allocation Committee of the Portland Children’s Levy. From 2008-2016, Hornecker was a partner at Howard S. Wright Construction. Prior to joining Howard S. Wright, Hornecker was a shareholder for 22 years at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt. He is married to Elisa de Castro Hornecker and has three children.
Mesha Jones is the community property manager for a multi-family residential apartment complex in Gresham and has worked in property management since 2012. Through lived experience both as a renter and landlord in Oregon, she has seen the impact of a continually changing rental and housing market in Multnomah County. Jones brings experience in Oregon landlord tenant law and fair-housing. Born and raised in Oregon, she would like to see the implementation of more affordable housing options for the community she serves. She lives in Gresham with her two children and husband.
Jenny Lee is the advocacy director at the Coalition of Communities of Color, a cross-cultural alliance of culturally specific organizations taking collective action for racial justice. Prior to her role at CCC, she was the Housing Policy Director at Neighborhood Partnerships, where she helped convene the Oregon Housing Alliance. She also worked as the public policy director for Hawai‘i Appleseed in Honolulu, where she engaged in coalition-building, legislative advocacy, and policy research on a range of issues, including economic justice, housing, public assistance, education, and immigrant rights. Her background includes work in disability rights, domestic violence, racial justice, and mediation, as well as a year serving as an AmeriCorps member at a SUN School in Southeast Portland.
Ed McNamara has more than 45 years of experience in construction, community development, real estate development, and asset management in Portland. McNamara has developed and operated more than 1 million square feet of residential and mixed-use buildings including more than 1,100 units of affordable housing (many with supportive services). Before starting Turtle Island Development in 2002, Ed’s experience included work as a building contractor, as executive director of REACH CDC, as director of development for Prendergast & Associates, overseeing a HOPE VI project for the Housing Authority, and as a policy advisor to Portland Mayor Sam Adams.
Steve Rudman’s local public service career spans over 35 years in affordable housing and community development. He served as executive director of Home Forward from 2001-14 and as director of the Portland Bureau of Housing and Community Development from 1993-2001. Rudman has been an active board leader with many community organizations, including being a founding member of Portland Youthbuilders, Portland Housing Center and REACH Community Development. Rudman is semi-retired and works as a part-time consultant locally and nationally. He enjoys traveling, gardening, music and baseball.
Bandana Shrestha is the director of community engagement for AARP Oregon. She leads AARP’s statewide community and volunteer engagement efforts to secure quality of life for all as we age. Bandana also leads AARP’s livable community work in Oregon, including growing and supporting the Network of Age-friendly Communities in the state, advocating for policies and program that enhance affordable and accessible housing options, and expanding transportation and mobility options for all. She serves on the board of APANO and 211Info. Bandana lives in Clackamas and admits to being a reluctant outdoors enthusiast and an avid crafter.
Shannon Singleton is the executive director at JOIN, an organization that provides street outreach and housing placement support to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. While studying at Temple University in Philadelphia, she worked with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. Singleton has learned the importance of centering and elevating the voices of people experiencing poverty and homelessness as well as how to build power through grassroots organizing. Her path eventually led her here to Portland, where she earned her Master of Social Work from Portland State University, and she has worked as for the Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, and at the Portland Housing Bureau. Singletons erves on the Welcome Home Coalition Steering Committee and the Portland Housing Advisory Commission, and she co-chairs the Home for Everyone Coordinating Board.
Andrew Tull is a Principal Planner and Urban Designer at 3J Consulting where he leads the residential development arm of the company with more than 15 years of experience. He holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from Washington State University and a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Kansas State University. Tull sits on the Portland Homebuilders Board of Directors and the Government Affairs Committee and is a National Director with NAHB. Tullis also actively involved with the Westside Economic Alliance, the Clackamas County Business Alliance, the American Planning Association’s Oregon Chapter, and the Oregon Chapter of the National Association for Office and Industrial Providers. Tull lives in Beaverton.
Tia Vonil was born and raised in Chicago and attended the University of Notre Dame and the United States Naval Academy before living abroad in Paris for eight years. Upon returning to the U.S., Voniljoined the IBEW Local 48 electrical apprenticeship and became a licensed electrician in 2017. She has worked in both the public and private sector, as well as in residential, commercial, and industrial applications across multiple states including Oregon, Washington, Montana, and North Dakota. Vonilcurrently works as a union electrician for the Port of Portland and serves on the IBEW Local 48 Political Action Committee. Vonilpreviously served as a board member for Oregon Tradeswomen from 2013-18. She lives in Clackamas County with her partner and one-year-old puppy.