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OCHA Looks to Assist Cities
July 2010 - Local Focus, A Publication of the League of Oregon Cities
Nearly four decades ago, the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs (OCHA) was founded to address Oregon migrant and seasonal farm worker needs, focusing primarily on housing conditions, clean drinking water and education. OCHA is a non-partisan advocacy commission
mandated by law towards implementing policies benefiting Latinos in Oregon.  
 
“We currently work to build a state where Latinos have economic, political, social and legal equality,” said OCHA Commissioner David Molina.  
 
Recently, two members of the commission visited The Dalles, meeting with City Manager Nolan Young, Police Chief Jay Waterbury and Mayor James Wilcox, along with leaders from the local Latino community. After weeks of correspondence, the commission members made the trip to introduce themselves and facilitate a conversation between city officials and local Latino community residents.  
 
Molina said the feedback the commission received was very positive. “We heard over and over, ‘thank goodness an organization exists like the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs, we’d not heard about you before.’”  
 
 Molina said the commission has recently helped launch a Facebook community page to enhance communication between the commission and members of the Latino community. “We would like to hear from other cities as well,” Molina said. “We invite them to utilize and call on us to help drive solutions in their communities.”  
 
Appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate for a three-year term, OCHA members from Medford to Portland bring expertise, insight and passion, collectively providing counsel and recommendations to elected officials on issues impacting Latinos, as well as collaborating with key partners on special projects. Commissioners serve multiple functions: liaison, communicator, negotiator, policy and advocacy advisor and diplomat.