Commissioner Vega Pederson's October 2017 Newsletter

JVP principal for a day

Dear friends and neighbors,

I proudly served as the first Latina to be elected to the Oregon House of Representatives and serve as the only current Latina member on the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners. This month, I dedicated some time to honor and celebrate all of our Latin American-descendant communities in Multnomah County. Here’s a snapshot of how we celebrated:

JVP principal for a day 1
JVP coffee
JVP latinx proclamation
JVP principal for a day 2

Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Proclamation
My office kicked off this month by marking an important step forward in the collective Latin American identity by including the term “Latinx” in the proclamation recognizing Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month. The term “Latinx” removes the masculine gender of “Latino” and is inclusive of women, queer, trans, non-binary, and gender nonconforming individuals. Newly appointed state Representative and fellow mexicana Andrea Salinas shared her thoughts in support of the proclamation. I am proud to be elevating the importance of our local Latinx communities, and encouraging us to fill the gaps in representation of Latinx at all levels of leadership.

Visiting Margaret Scott Elementary
One of the highlights of the month was visiting third graders at Margaret Scott Elementary School with state Representative Diego Hernandez. We read She Persisted, a children’s book by Chelsea Clinton highlighting women leaders -- one of whom is Supreme Court Justice and puertorriqueña Sonia Sotomayor. It’s important for children to see themselves reflected in positions of leadership, and I’m grateful to Rep. Hernandez for joining me in spending time with our next generation of leaders.

Supporting Latinx-Owned Businesses
One of my favorite places to eat in District 3 is La Calaca Comelona (“The Hungry Skeleton”), a Mexican restaurant owned by chef Patricia Cabrera. My staff and I visited the eye-catching taqueria for a quick bite to eat -- you can catch some footage of the visit, including an interview with Patricia, here.

JVP Marissa Madrigal

Uplifting Latinx Employees of Color
Our Employees of Color Resource Group practiced our values of equity and belonging at this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. I was glad to deliver opening remarks and to take the time to call attention to important social and political issues facing Latinxs communities in 2017. I also paid respects to our friends and family dealing with recent tragedies in both México and Puerto Rico -- though they may seem far away, our families have existed across borders for generations, and as a community we will continue to weather the storms together.
I’m grateful to have spent the month honoring and appreciating the diversity of cultures within our Latinx communities.


Rally for Recovery

JVP rally for recovery

Earlier this month I was honored to speak at the Rally For Recovery, where leaders, advocates and recovering addicts, spoke about the need to improve access to treatment and services for those struggling with addiction.
Drug and alcohol addiction touches so many threads of our social safety net: of foster kids in Oregon, half have parents struggling with addiction; for kids in the state’s youth corrections system, that figure jumps to 75 percent; and one-in-three people experiencing homelessness say addiction played a role in losing stable housing.
We can and must do more to help those struggling with addiction. You can read more about this event and the funding and providers Multnomah County works with here.

In the community 

I hope to see you at the following events in our community:

Senior R. Fair

Senior Resource Fair

My office, in partnership with Elders in Action, will be hosting a senior resource fair on Saturday, October 28th. Multnomah County and its partner organizations provide many important services to older adults in our community, but too often it can be difficult to access those resources. That’s why we’re bringing them to you.

The event will feature representatives from many Multnomah County departments, Portland’s Bureau of Transportation, AARP, and many more. For a full list of participants, click here.


Where: Midland Library, 805 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97233
When: Saturday, October 28th, 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Please contact Hayden with any questions at: 503-988-5217.      
That’s what Briana and her three year old daughter Sylvia were doing. They picked up books as part of the Summer Reading program and regularly stop in for the healthy meals the program provides. The rotating weekly menu includes turkey sandwiches, chicken burritos, hamburgers, sloppy joes, along with fruit, vegetables and a milk.
I worked alongside, Gabby, a summer lunch coordinator, at the library. Gabby speaks fluent Spanish and brought a smile to everyone’s face that she encountered.

You can find summer meals at locations throughout our region by texting FOOD to 877-877 (or COMIDA for a reply in Spanish). The program runs through August 25th. For more information regarding the library events calendar, visit  

City Club Friday Forum

I’ll be a panelist at City Club’s November 3rd Friday Forum, Where Are We Going? The Future of Transportation in Portland. I’ll be joined by state Representative Barbara Smith Warner and Sarah Iannarone, associate director of First Stop Portland. You can find more information about this event here.  

Town Hall with Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer


I’ll be hosting a town hall with State Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer on Tuesday, November 7th, at Portland Community College’s Southeast campus. We’ll be giving an update on the work we’ve done this past year and a preview of 2018, as well as answering questions.

Where: PCC Southeast, 2305 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR 97216, Great Hall
When: Tuesday, November 7th, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Please contact Hayden with any questions at:

Help wanted! 

The Office of Community Involvement is looking for two new members to serve on the Community Involvement Committee. For more information on how to apply, click here.

Question of the Month: What's your favorite political song?

"Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On.' I love Motown - my mom raised me on it - but this song and album represented a sea change in the type of music Gaye was known for and spoke to the need for connection during the 60's and 70's that strongly resonates today." - Commissioner Vega Pederson

“There’s really no competition: Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Ghost of Tom Joad.” - Chris Fick, Chief of Staff

“I can’t choose a favorite, but Queen Latifah’s ‘U.N.I.T.Y’ is up there.” — Ana del Rocío Valderrama, Policy & Research Director

“‘Non-Stop’ from the Hamilton Soundtrack. To quote Hillary Clinton: ‘We should have more songs about the Federalist Papers.'” - Hayden Miller, Constituent Relations & Policy Liaison

You can find a list of our favorite political songs via Spotify. We also welcome your suggestions to our list! Send your favorite songs to

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