Small Portland Catholic School Back to In-Person Sessions

Credit: Cathedral School | 5th grade Cathedral School student

PORTLAND, Ore. — As more school districts across Oregon figure out plans to bring more kids into the classroom, there are some schools that have already brought students back for full-time in-person learning.

Many larger districts in the state have complicated decisions to make when it comes to how to safely offer limited in-person instruction for students.

But for some smaller schools, like Cathedral School in Northwest Portland, the transition has been a little easier.

“We are opening up, but it’s going to be far from business as usual,” said Amy Biggs. She’s the principal at Cathedral School, a private Catholic school serving kids in Pre-Kindergarten to eighth grade who are now in class for full-day, in-person learning.

“We have everyone here Pre-K through eighth grade that has chosen to come. We still have a distance learning option for our kids at home,” said Biggs.

She said 81% of the 260 students enrolled are choosing to attend in person.

In the fall, teachers taught kids online from their classrooms. The school soon brought back its youngest kids for limited in-person instruction. The majority of those kids were already participating in the school’s daycare program and were familiar with the school’s COVID-19 safety protocols, which made the transition to full in-person learning easier.

This week, middle school students joined younger students, coming back for full-day, in-person school.

Biggs said the size of the school along with the state’s revised guidelines and metrics have been crucial to reopening.

“Small schools like Cathedral School, 260 kids, 30 or fewer staff members, we can do things in a safe way because of our size and we don’t bus. We have one class at every grade, so it’s really appreciated because the revisions have helped us open up.”

Biggs said a number of safety measures are in place.

“We are using three different entrances to the building rather than one entrance […] we’re taking everyone’s temperatures. We’ve got contact tracing where we’re recording everyone who drops the kids off and who picks them up,” said Biggs.

They’ve also got shields on students’ desks, which they’ve tried to space apart.

“We have places where they’re not quite six feet, but I’ve got the 35 square feet in the whole room and then the distance between kids is maximum extent possible,” Biggs said. “We’re adhering to all ODE [Oregon Department of Education] standards.”

Biggs said right now in their middle school classrooms, there are between 21-25 kids in the room.

Students have to wear masks too, something Biggs initially thought might be an issue.

“Our kids that have been home are so excited to be back at school that all of our safety precautions, they are willing to do and they are really good at policing each other. It hasn’t been a problem at all. They’re used to wearing a mask. They’re used to hand sanitizer,” said Biggs.

The only time those masks come off is during lunch. Students stay at the same desk all day while teachers of different subjects rotate in and out.

For bathroom breaks, groups of kids go at designated times.

“Every hour one of my staff members is going through the bathrooms and spraying them all down with the electrostatic cleaning sprayer,” Biggs said.

Kids are grouped together into cohorts for recess as well.

Beth Sanchez has two children who attend Cathedral School, one in kindergarten and the other in sixth grade. She is excited her kids get to go back to in-person learning.

“We’re ecstatic really. We’re hoping that all the schools can get there. I think it’s so super important for kids to be in person,” said Sanchez.

She said while her sixth-grade son was doing well with online learning, she became concerned about the lack of socialization with peers.

“They need to have that interpersonal connection,” Sanchez said.

She said her son told her there were a lot of rules to follow. With this being his first week back, Sanchez said her son is figuring out what he can and can’t do.

She expressed confidence in the school and Biggs.

Biggs said before kids even came back, she asked parents to be partners and to talk to their kids about what to expect.

“Let them know ahead of time, you’re not going to get up and walk around the classroom,” said Biggs.

“I can’t have them all sitting on the top of the slide in a big pile like the eighth-grade girls love to do.”

She said she’s continuing to ask families to keep social distancing and wearing masks.

You can find the source article here.

Portland Groups to Celebrate MLK Jr. with a Day of Service

FILE – In this 1960, file photo, Martin Luther King Jr. speaks in Atlanta. (AP Photo, File)

Local organizations and volunteers plan to help clean up Portland this Monday, Jan. 18, as part of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

SOLVE, the Portland Business Alliance, and the Portland Lodging Alliance will all be out cleaning different areas of the city. Volunteers can meet at four locations: the Benson Hotel, Providence Park, Northwest Academy, and Urbanite. Check-in goes from 8:45 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

Volunteers will be provided with cleaning supplies, as well as safety information, before fanning out to clean along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and other areas of the city.

The event is part of SOLVE’s monthly efforts to clean up the Rose City. More information about the non-profit, including how to register for Monday’s event, can be found online.

All spots are filled up right now, but you can still put your name on the waiting list.

The Sunshine Division is partnering with Kaiser Permanente to provide 90,000 meals in honor of Martin Luther King Day. While the group has suspended all volunteer work due to the coronavirus pandemic, they do have more information on volunteering as opportunities arise on their website.

Boxes will be handed out between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday. To receive a box, you can visit one of the Sunshine Division’s food pantries:

  • 687 N Thompson St, Portland, OR 97227
  • 221 NE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97230

Some groups, like the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, decided to postpone their annual ‘day of service’ events to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Portland Trail Blazers…Breaking Through for the Win at Sacramento

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, gets some help getting up from teammates Robert Covington, left, and Derrick Jones Jr., right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) AP

 Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum had an interesting perspective on the way the team rallied from down 20 in the second quarter at Sacramento to trail by three and then went down 19 in the third quarter only to come all the way back to win, 132-126 Wednesday night.

“Honestly, I don’t know what’s more impressive,” McCollum said. “Coming back from 20 twice or going down 20 twice.”

He had a point.

It’s not often that a basketball team at any level digs such a hole twice in one game and still wins. But the Blazers (7-4) had three things going for them at the Garden 1 Center.

First, Damian Lillard had a special night. He became the first player in NBA history to have at least 40 points and 13 assists with zero turnovers. Secondly, the Kings (5-7) played at a dizzying pace that both led to their big leads and contributed to their downfall.

And finally, the Blazers simply didn’t quit.

“I think it says a lot about our character as a team and what we’re becoming,” Lillard said. “I think we’ve always been that team that didn’t lose fight. We’ve always stayed in it and fought to the end. But I think we’re a little bit more experienced now. We brought in some experienced guys.”

The Kings were scorching hot early while building a 58-38 lead with 7:20 remaining in the second quarter. However, McCollum said the Blazers didn’t truly feel like they were down 20 points because the game moved at a fast pace and possessions were piling up.

“You just kind of understand you need to string together stops.” McCollum said. “Offensively, we were in good shape.”

Stringing together stops didn’t seem possible in that moment. The Kings were on pace to score 198 points. Sacramento guard Buddy Hield, who finished with 26 points, was seemingly in a zone. Right there with him was point guard De’Aaron Fox, who finished with 29 points.

“They’re athletic, they know how to play, they got shooters,” McCollum said. “They got scorers…They’re a talented team.”

Down 20, it was in that moment when the team dipped into its bag of trust. Lillard said the team trusted the changes made on defense during training camp. Trusted the offense. Trusted one another. They didn’t splinter and go their own ways.

“We stayed together and we fought,” Lillard said.

Portland figured things out and cut its deficit to 68-65 at halftime. That was the good news. The bad news was that center Jusuf Nurkic picked up three personal fouls within three minutes late in the second quarter.

His fourth foul came on an offensive charge at 10:43 in the third quarter with Portland down 72-68. Portland coach Terry Stotts took Nurkic out of the game at 9:01.

“I was mad when coach pulled me out in the third quarter…,” Nurkic said. “I didn’t want to go down 20 again.”

Two minutes and 46 seconds later, Portland trailed 94-75.

At that point, the game could have easily gone further south. The Blazers were on the road. The Kings were rolling. Nurkic was in foul trouble. It was the first of a back-to-back with Indiana (7-4) up next at home Thursday night.

But because the Blazers had already come back once, according to McCollum, they believed they could do it again.

“It’s just about getting stops, getting easy baskets and then just a testament to us kind of staying together.” McCollum said.

Portland chipped away at the Kings’ lead until the Blazers trailed just 105-100 entering the fourth quarter.

“More than anything else, I like the way we fought back after things weren’t going our way in the third quarter,” Stotts said.

The Blazers and Kings went back and forth until the score sat at 117-116, Kings with 5:55 remaining.

That, Lillard said, is when the Blazers found their final push.

“At that point, I think our experience and our resolve really showed,” Lillard said.

McCollum hit a three on an assist from Lillard to give Portland a 119-117 lead and the Blazers never trailed again. The Blazers did allow a 127-120 lead with 3:20 remaining become 128-126 lead with 42.3 seconds on the clock.

But Lillard scored on a drive to the basket and the Kings missed their final three shots.

“We made plays on both ends of the floor to win the game and I think that the pace that they play at gave us the opportunity to do that,” Lillard said.

The Blazers felt good about walking away with the win, of course, but doing it by overcoming multiple bouts with adversity showed that this team could figure things out even in the most trying of circumstances.

Still, Nurkic didn’t appear eager to go through that experience again.

“I hope we don’t need that no more,” Nurkic said.


The original article can be found here.

Akadi Will Close Dec. 31st, but Promises to Return

Owner Fatou Ouattara says her West African restaurant will be back bigger and better than ever.

By Katherine Chew Hamilton

Akadi offers dishes from the Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and Ghana. Owner Fatou Ouattara is temporarily closing the restaurant so she can further expand the menu. IMAGE: COURTESY CHRISTINE DONG

Attention fufu fans and peanut butter stew stans: Akadi, one of the few West African restaurants in Portland, will close temporarily on December 31. But don’t fear—the restaurant plans to make a big comeback as early as June 2021.

Chef and owner Fatou Ouattara attributes the closure to a number of factors. She’d been planning to expand the restaurant prior to the pandemic, since the current location’s kitchen on NE MLK was too small to efficiently serve the 200 customers it can seat indoors and outdoors at full capacity. But Ouattara says business was down 60% during the pandemic, especially since the shutdown meant no more catering events like weddings and African cultural events at local universities. Ouattara laid off ten of her twelve employees during the shutdown. The likelihood of expanding in 2020 seemed nearly impossible, so Ouattara is stepping back for the next several months and plans to reopen the restaurant sometime in late 2021 in a bigger location. The loyalty of her customers, plus a grant from Prosper Portland, meant that Akadi was able to go on hiatus rather than close permanently. “It was really impressive to see how the community got together to make sure we didn’t close,” says Ouattara.

Thankfully, customers don’t have to wait until Akadi returns to get a taste of the restaurant’s food. Starting in January 2021, Green Zebra Grocery will begin carrying vegan dishes from Akadi in its deli section, as well as the restaurant’s bottled hot sauce (complete with labels designed by Portland art gallery Fisk Projects).

Ouattara is taking this opportunity to step away from busy restaurant life to return to the Ivory Coast, where she grew up and where much of her family lives. “After five years of not being there, I miss the family,” she says. But this trip isn’t just for family time—it’s also a time for Ouattara to hone her cooking skills and expand her culinary horizons. 

Ouattara will spend several months honing her culinary skills in rural villages in Africa. IMAGE: COURTESY CHELSEA COLE

“This is actually the perfect time to go get more recipes, expand the menu, and include other countries on the menu,” Ouattara says. Right now, the menu at Akadi focuses on food from her native Ivory Coast like attieke poisson (fried or grilled whole fish with grated, fermented cassava), plus a number of dishes from Burkina Faso, where her mother grew up, such as peanut butter stew and shosho (black eyed pea stew). There are a few dishes from other West African countries including Ghana and Nigeria on the menu, too, but customers have been requesting more Nigerian and Ghanaian dishes.

On her trip, Ouattara plans to refine her Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso dishes with her mother and grandmother in the kitchen. She’ll also head to rural villages in Nigeria, Ghana, and even South Africa, spending about a month in each country so she can learn more recipes to bring back to Akadi. Asked why she’s venturing to small villages rather than big cities, Ouattara replies:

The best dishes in Africa, that’s where you find it. You have to go deep into the village where people barely speak English. When you go to the city side of things, it mixes a little bit with colonization, and white people coming in, and some spices coming in, depending on which country colonized. If you go into the capital city, you find places that have things like Dijon mustard, which I serve at the restaurant…. But what I’m trying to do is keep it all traditional.

It’ll be hard to find many of the ingredients she needs for these traditional dishes, Ouattara acknowledges. But she’s planning to change that, too, by bringing back seeds and working with local Portland farm Happiness Family Farm to grow crops like cassava leaves and jute leaves. There’s a bit of culinary exchange involved, too: Ouattara is going to bring CBD oil (Oregon-grown, if possible) to the Ivory Coast with her and, with the help of her mom and grandmother, will experiment with replacing the traditional palm oil with CBD oil in her recipes.

While the new Akadi promises to be bigger, with a wider array of dishes than before, the old location isn’t going away. Ouattara plans to turn that space into a test kitchen, where she’ll continue to hone her recipes. It’ll also be a cooking school offering free classes to local high school students who are interested in food. “In culinary school, I don’t think they teach any West African food, or any African food at all,” Ouattara says. The school will also offer classes for the children of West African immigrants to maintain connections to their culinary heritage. “For the immigrants that come to the US and don’t have time to teach their kids, that can be the place where they come to learn the food and recreate the African holidays that we still celebrate.”

First COVID-19 Vaccines Have Landed in Oregon

Trucks carrying the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine departs Pfizer Global Supply plant in Portage, Michigan on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. (Joel Bissell | Joel Bissell |

The first shipments of the long-awaited coronavirus vaccine have arrived in Oregon, although officials don’t expect to begin inoculating any residents Monday.

The shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were expected to arrive at 10:30 a.m. Monday but instead arrived by about 7 a.m., according to the Oregon Health Authority. A Legacy Health facility in Northeast Portland and Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center in Tualatin received the first two 975-dose shipments.

It’s not immediately clear when the first vaccinations will begin, although an agency spokesperson suggested it may be Wednesday.

Frontline healthcare workers will be the first to start receiving the vaccine, followed by residents of nursing homes beginning next week. They will need a second dose three weeks later in order for the vaccine to offer its full protection. The vaccine is estimated to be about 95% effective.

“In recent weeks, as COVID-19 vaccines reached the final stages of approval, I have said time and again that hope is on the way. Today, I can tell you that help is here,” said Gov. Kate Brown, in a news release. “The first shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Oregon, the first of many that will be distributed across the state.”

“We are in the middle of some of the hardest days of this pandemic,” Brown continued. “Our hospitals are stretched to capacity, and too many families are losing loved ones just as we enter the holiday season. So many Oregonians have suffered and sacrificed in the last ten months. But starting this week, and each week following –– as vaccines become more widely available –– we will begin gaining ground again in our fight against this disease.”

Legacy, the first healthcare group to receive the vaccine, said it had not yet determined when it would start vaccinating people against COVID-19. Legacy has two freezers on hand and expects two additional storage units to arrive Tuesday.

Among other hospitals that will soon receive shipments: Kaiser Permanente, which has two hospitals in the Portland area, will receive 975 doses Tuesday and plans to begin vaccinations Friday at its Sunnyside and Westside Medical Center. The healthcare organization has a freezer in Washington and Oregon to store the vaccines.

Oregon Health & Science University in Portland and Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario, along the Oregon-Idaho border, also will receive 975 dose shipments Tuesday.

In all, Oregon is expected to receive 35,100 doses this week. More than 24,375 of those doses are going to hospitals and health systems. The other 10,725 doses will go to nursing homes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Oregon to choose the first sites to receive the vaccine, and the system of distribution is being monitored, according to the Oregon Health Authority.

Across the country on Monday, healthcare workers began receiving immunizations. Among them, a critical care nurse in New York and workers at a medical center in Ohio.

On Sunday, a scientific review panel for Oregon, California, Washington and Nevada reviewed the data on the Pfizer vaccine and determined it was “safe and efficacious.”

Last week, a U.S. panel of scientists reviewed trial data and gave the vaccine its stamp of approval. The federal Food and Drug Administration on Friday granted the vaccine an emergency use authorization for people ages 16 and older. The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, said Sunday he recommends the vaccine.

By the end of December, Oregon could receive between a total of 197,500 and 228,400 doses of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, according to the Oregon Health Authority and the governor’s office.

Brown said the state will “work to ensure” groups disproportionately effected by COVID-19 — including Black, Latino and tribal communities — will have “equitable access to vaccination.”

There are more than 4.2 million residents statewide — and estimates of when everyone who wants a vaccine gets one range from summer to fall. It’s unknown precisely when children younger than 16 will get the OK to be inoculated. Scientists say more study is needed before giving the vaccine to younger children.

After healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facility, essential workers will be next in line to get inoculated. But the state has yet to decide who will be defined as an essential worker and what order those workers will be vaccinated in within that group.

After that, people with underlying conditions that put them at high risk of severe complications from COVID-19 and people older than 65 will be given vaccinations.

It will likely be sometime in the spring before the general population’s turn in line comes up.

Patrick Allen, director of the Oregon Health Authority, urged Oregonians to continue to wear masks, avoid gatherings and take other public health safety precautions because vaccinations are still months away for most Oregonians.

“The vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel, but we will be in this tunnel for several months,” he said in a news release. “We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing to help our friends, neighbors and ourselves stay safe.”

Coronavirus in Oregon: Latest news | Live map tracker | Text alerts | Newsletter

— Aimee Green;; @o_aimee

— Andrew Theen;; 503-294-4026; @andrewtheen

With Love, From PDX

There is something truly special about being able to give that hard to shop for person on your list a unique and special gift that reflects where you’re from.  That is exactly what this week’s local small business With Love, From PDX will help you do.

Owned by the beautiful Inger, who also curates the fabulous gift boxes, With Love, From PDX combines her passion for the community and the fabulous locally-made goods you can find in Portland to make her gifts.  By doing so she is able to help support over 75 other local small businesses.  She launched her company in 2015 and her website makes it easy for you to curate a gift perfect for the person receiving it.

With Portland being such a diverse, innovative, creative community Inger can truly find some unique gifts.  It doesn’t matter if the person you are shopping for is into wine, snacks or loves things to bring a unique flair to their kitchen there is something that everyone will love.  My Copy of May 2020 Graphics  (1) copy 5


Breaking Down the November 2020 Market Action for PDX Metro


The recently released November 2020 Market Action Report for the Portland Metro area held few surprises for those currently looking to purchase a home in Portland or one of its surrounding suburbs. In fact, it reinforced what we already know: inventory is extremely low, while the average and median sale prices of homes are continuing to slightly rise based on the amount of competition out there.

It doesn’t help that the amount of new listings took a drastic dip of 36.3% from October, though they were up 5.7% from November 2019. One might speculate that perhaps this was impacted by the election and COVID, or maybe simply a traditional holiday slow down, but I don’t think this is necessarily the case.

To get a better grasp, let’s look at some of the other metrics in play. Similar to  active listings, the amount of pending listings also dropped in November, down 20.1 percent from October, and even the amount of closed listings decreased 13%, though closed sales were up 25.3% from November of 2019.

What also saw an increase? The year to date average sale price, which has risen from $459,300 up to $492,000. Similarly, the average median home price has increased from $410,000 up to $438,000.

November 2020 logged the lowest amount of inventory recorded in RMLS history: 1 month. This means that if all the homes that were currently on the market were to be gobbled up by everyone looking to buy a home out in the PDX Metro Area, it would take one month for all of the homes to be gone. This is severe, especially considering that in November 2019 there was 2.4 months worth of inventory, and 2.8 in November 2018. That is an additional 1.4 months worth of inventory gone.

So why are we seeing the numbers that we are? Though the initial pause we had in real estate at the beginning of the pandemic contributed to creating a pent up demand for housing, the demand has yet to abate. In fact, with many remaining at home to work or oversee distance learning, there has been an increase in buyers looking for homes with more room. Low mortgage rates have also given an extra push to those on the fence, edging them into the buying pool. Add these factors to the low inventory we normally see at this time of year plus the fear from potential sellers of not finding a place to move to once their home goes pending, and you have an anemic market.

It will be interesting to see what January brings, whether the amount of homes to come to the market will significantly rise or not. I believe that while we will see more sellers come to the market, there will still be a noticeable deficit between what is available and the amount of Buyers still looking.

Looking for advice on how to make your offer irresistible to Sellers and stand out from the crowd? Or are you considering selling your home but are uncertain about the best way to do so in this competitive market? Check out the About page on for ways to contact me to schedule a consultation today!Market Action (3)



Major Diversity in 2020 Portland-Area Elections

PMG PHOTO – Desi Nicodemus broke barriers by becoming the first African American man to serve on the Milwaukie City Council.

The November 2020 elections ushered in a sea change for politics in the suburbs around Portland: Voters gave the nod to a new crop of young, diverse elected officials who could change the face of politics in the tri-county area for years to come.


After a tight race and an automatic recount, Travis Stovall, an African American small business owner and community leader, has been elected mayor. He brings a community-oriented mindset to City Hall and a fresh perspective as someone who has never held public office before.

“It is such an honor to be Gresham’s next mayor,” Stovall said. “I want to thank the voters and my supporters for getting my campaign across the finish line.”

Stovall becomes the first elected African American mayor of a large suburb in the Portland area. (Ken Gibson has served as mayor of King City in Washington County since 2016; the mayor of King City is appointed by the City Council, not elected at large.)

In Gresham, while Stovall took an early lead in the election, the results remained in flux as the gap narrowed with every update. Candidate Eddy Morales, who is Latino and a member of the City Council, kept things close, and a difference of 13 votes led to the recount. That process ended Wednesday, Dec. 2.

Stovall faces a $13-plus million budget shortfall and the impact of the coronavirus on his community. He also said he plans to address racial injustices, get Gresham businesses and employees back to work post-COVID, build more affordable housing for all income levels and address community safety.

Stovall and Morales are joined on the City Council by Vincent Jones-Dixon, a community leader who was appointed to serve on the council and who then ran and won. Jones-Dixon also is African American.

All three are young for elected officeholders: Stovall is 47, Morales is 40 and Jones-Dixon is 31.

Washington County Board of Commissioners

Nafisa Fai may be the perfect embodiment of the diversity and laid-back lifestyle of Washington County: while running for the Washington County Board of Commissioners, her campaign page featured a photo of her in a headscarf and a tech vest.

Fai, 43, won, and becomes the first Black and first Muslim person to be elected to the Washington County Commission. Her district includes Beaverton, Aloha, Cooper Mountain and Reedville.

“I think people are really excited about my campaign because they see themselves in me,” said Fai, a public health professional.

She came to the United States when her family fled war-torn Somalia as refugees. She lives in Aloha with her husband Sam and two children.


Wlnsvey Campos is the new legislator in House District 28, which serves Beaverton and Aloha. She becomes the only Hispanic member of Washington County’s legislative delegation and, at 24, also the youngest. She replaces Rep. Jeff Barker, who retired. (“Wlnsvey” is pronounced “wins-vay.”)

Campos said her candidacy was informed by her work as a case manager for the Family Project of Beaverton, an organization dedicated to serving families experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity.

“There are so many people who will never know what it is to have to go to a public library restroom and roll sheets of toilet paper so your family can save $8,” she said. “There are people who will never know what it is to be a child and navigate insurance companies (for their parents) because we don’t have translators available.”

Meanwhile, in Washington County, voters sent Ricky Ruiz, 25, to serve in House District 50, replacing Carla Piluso, who retired. Ruiz grew up in Rockwood. He works for the city of Gresham as a community services coordinator, where his role includes leading youth recreation programming, supporting public safety with the Neighborhood Ready Program, overseeing the Youth Advisory Council, and serving as a city Spanish interpreter.

During the campaign, Ruiz reflected on the challenges of running as someone within the coalition of Black, Indigenous and people of color. “As a BIPOC candidate, we have to work two to three times as hard as your traditional candidate,” he said. “I work a ful-time job, I work on a school board, I don’t have wealth.”

That race encapsulates the new diversity of suburban Portland politics: Ruiz beat Amelia Salvador, a Latina commercial real estate broker who also runs a small business specializing in marketing and brand development, as well as specialty event design work.

The diversity extends beyond Portland and its suburbs: the 2021 Oregon Legislature will have 11 members of racial/ethnic minorities, easily the highest in state history. That includes two senators and nine representatives. The coming year’s diversity also includes representatives of Oregon’s LGBT community; one in the Senate and three in the House.


Desi Nicodemus broke barriers by becoming the first African American man to serve on the Milwaukie City Council, earning a vast majority of the Nov. 3 vote despite running against three other candidates.

“Milwaukie’s ready for change, especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion,” Nicodemus said. “If I can inspire other BIPOC community members to run for public office, that would be great.” He is a teacher in the North Clackamas School District.

In Cornelius, Doris González Gómez and Angeles Godinez-Valencia won races for two seats on the City Council. It has been years since a woman served on that City Council, and the governing body has not proportionately reflected the city’s changing demographics — more than half the population identifies as Latino.

Cornelius has a Latino-majority City Council for the first time ever.

Meanwhile, in Happy Valley, David Emami became the first Iranian-American city councilor in that town — or in the state.

“I will make sure that everyone in our community feels welcome and respected,” Emami said. “Breaking barriers isn’t easy, but I hope that my involvement with the city will continue to inspire others to chase their dreams and get more involved in their community.”

He defeated Ana Sarish, who would have become the first Indian American councilor in Happy Valley.

Joining the Lake Oswego City Council is Massene Mboup, who hails from Senegal. He’s lived in Lake Oswego for nine years and in Oregon for 20 years, and has served on the city’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force as well as the school board’s budget committee. He is also one of the founders and the executive director of the International Leadership Academy in Lake Oswego.

“We live in times that are very challenging and times that are very complicated,” Mboup said. “It’s important to have folks that understand the root causes of all of this.”

Mboup has had a big year: he also graduated with his doctorate degree in education from Portland State University in June.

Oregon City Commissioner Denyse McGriff made history a second time with her election victory. With her appointment by city commissioners in March 2019, she became the first person of color to serve on the Oregon City Commission. On Nov. 3, she became the first person of color elected to the Commission.

“I have been humbled and grateful for the outpouring of the support that I’ve received for this campaign,” McGriff said. “My goal is to do my very best for everyone, no matter whether we agree, and we’re not always going to agree, but I’ll always listen.”

Gladstone voters chose to increase the diversity of their City Council by electing Annessa Hartman, who is Indigenous and of the Cayuga Nation. She became the first Indigenous person elected to the Gladstone City Council.

“My campaign has changed the norm for the type of person who is getting involved with local politics at all levels,” Hartman said. “I hope that I have inspired people no matter what they look like to participate in democracy.”

While the voters in November ushered in a new class of diverse — and often young — office holders, the newcomers aren’t alone. They join others including:

• Smart Ocholi was appointed to the King City City Council in 2016 and still serves; he moved to the United States from Nigeria in 2002 and served in the U.S. Army.

• While not a minority, a 21-year-old, Rory Bialostosky, has joined the West Linn City Council.

• While not a suburbanite, Khanh Pham of Portland joins the Legislature, serving in House District 46; she is the daughter of Vietnamese refugees.

Reporters Max Egener, Dana Haynes, Christopher Keizur, Clara Howell and Raymond Rendleman, as well as intern Shauna Muckle, contributed to this article. Oregon Public Broadcasting, a news partner of Pamplin Media Group, also contributed.

The source of this article can be found here.


Do You Love Looking at Christmas Lights?

Probably the best part of winter is seeing all the beautiful lights start twinkling in the night. I like to drive around and try to find the BEST display in my neighborhood. ⁣
But if you’re taking the whole family or going as a group, I’ve got a list of the best places in town for Christmas lights: ⁣
Now through January 5th, 2021
Now through January 3rd, 2021

Is your Zestimate Accurate?

Let’s be honest thanks to the internet there are so many different ways for sellers and buyers to get information about their own homes, as well as homes in their community it can make your head spin.  You fill out price calculators, pre-qualifying certifications, mortgage estimates, and value tracking….all online.  That’s a whole lot of information to be sharing, and it probably looks great when you are looking at it.  It feels empowering to have all of those numbers sitting in front of you, but you need to ask yourself are they actually correct?  And should you trust them?

The reality is that many of the big box website calculators have been known to be off – sometimes by as much as $100,000 or more, and that’s a huge amount when you’re trying to decide if you should sell your house right?  You’re probably asking yourself why are they off by so much?  Well here’s the truth:

  1.  They use your WHOLE county’s data – not just your neighborhood.  They’re looking at the whole pie, not just your piece of it.
  2. They don’t perform a Comparative Market Analysis which can only be done by a Realtor® to come up with the value.  Instead they use AI.
  3. They don’t take renovations or improvements into consideration.
  4. They weight their results heavily on the prices of homes that have recently been listed at, not the price that the homes actually sold for which skews the data.

So yes, an automated estimate can be a great starting point, it’s safe to say that it does best paired with a real estate agent who can gather more personal data about your neighborhood, street and any improvements or repairs that are needed in the home.  As a Realtor® I’ able to do the research need to know where your home stands in the current market, and what kid of market conditions you’re going to be dealing with. That alone can be a major difference in the listing price that is going to bring you top dollar and still allow for a quick sale.

If you’re reading this thinking that you may need some guidance around the area of automatic home evaluations, and feel like you have no place to start please reach out to me.  I am happy to help you through the process with no pressure, no sales tactics, just the help and guidance that you need.  Please feel free to email me at