Community Engagement Advisor
Anna Marie Allen knows firsthand what it means to be part of a marginalized community. That’s why she’s passionate about bringing those communities to Multnomah County’s realm as the Community Engagement Advisor for Chair Deborah’s Kafoury’s Office.
“How do we make an inclusive place for folks to come forward and share their ideas and their solutions?” She asks. “I really wanted to be a part of the work to move things forward and bring community identified priorities to the forefront.”
A member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe, Anna grew up in Portland and Southwest Washington and spent some summers on a reservation in Idaho. Although Anna had to drop out of school due to family circumstances, she returned to her education, receiving her G.E.D. in 2009.
Anna was later hired at the Native American Youth & Family Center (NAYA) as a youth advocate. There, she worked with Native youth who were experiencing similar life challenges as she had. After several years, she became NAYA’s Development Coordinator.
In October 2014, Anna received the Portland Monthly “Emerging Leader Award” for her work in heading the Young Native Ambassadors Program--a program that creates leadership opportunities for Native youth facing struggles around school and the judicial system.
Anna decided she was ready for a new work challenge in July 2015 and was hired to work in Chair Deborah Kafoury’s office as a community engagement advisor. She’s been in that position ever since, and her responsibilities include connecting with organizations across the County and planning community outreach events for Chair Kafoury.
Anna was also instrumental in Multnomah County’s 2015 adoption of Indigenous People’s Day in place of Columbus Day.
“The transition from Columbus Day is important to my community and it’s important to me,” she says. “I think it opened up a door for the Native community to have a stronger presence here at the County and educated those who don’t see Columbus Day as a day of genocide.”
In the spring of 2016, Anna received the Gates Millennium Scholarship--a college scholarship program for students of color-- as one of 1000 recipients out of more than 53,000 applicants. Now, she’s working towards her master’s degree in political science at Portland State University.
In her free time, Anna enjoys making jewelry and volunteering at events and celebrations in the Native community.