Members of the Commission
Mari Watanabe - Portland
Mari Watanabe serves as the program director of Leadership Portland with the Portland Business Alliance where she oversees all aspects of their 10 month leadership program designed to develop civic leaders and as executive director of Partners in Diversity, a non-profit whose mission is to help employers recruit, support, and retain professionals of color in Oregon and SW Washington.
She currently serves as chair of the Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affair, a position she was appointed to by Governor Kitzhaber in July 2011.
Mari also serves on the City of Beaverton’s Diversity Advisory Board, Washington County Cultural Coalition, Business for Culture and Arts Diversity board, National Veterans Network, plus others.
She worked in apparel manufacturing with garment companies such as Union Bay Sportswear, Nordstrom, and Nike for 25 years before leaving to pursue a career in the non-profit arena.
David Yuen Tam - Eugene
David Yuen Tam is the President of Tam Global Consultants a Eugene, Oregon based company. He is a professional consultant specializing in renewable energy technologies, sustainable business development, sustainable real estate consultant and investor who possess over 20 years of experience helping U.S. and international firms grow and expand their business. Tam Global Consultants help provide relevant and up-to-date information pertaining to the various aspects of business development and market information for global companies.
Mr. Tam has been consulting businesses since 1995 on a variety of different levels such as real estate development projects, manufacturing, marketing, government contracts, investor identification, merger and acquisition, grant funding, management of cross cultural and cross border teams, performance improvement, business restructure, global market entry and expansion as well as many other global business challenges that business face.
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Commissioner Hussein Al-Baiaty
Hussein Al-Baiaty - Hillsboro
I came to the United States in 1994 from Saudi Arabia; which is in itself a true miracle. My parents, six siblings, and I left the regime of Saddam in 1991 for a desert refugee camp in Saudi Arabia that we spent the next 3 years enduring. This unforgettable experience became the fuel to my desire to take advantage of every positive opportunity I can. The United States has allowed my family and I to live in peace and prosper. I was able to attend Portland State University, study Architecture and Graphic Design, and begin to pursue my passion.
In 2005, I began with only one screen printing press and a vision to create art on tshirts. It was a learning process as I progressed through my college years and constantly working at my passions. This was a humbling time in my life as I decided creating my own path through screen printing and designing after receiving my degree. It was inevitable with the lack of jobs and downturned economy in 2008 being an entrepreneur would become a career. The opportunity within my community and ability to be creative allowed me a path to grow my small printing operation. We have now expanded to a multipress operation employing 4-10 people in Hillsboro, Oregon.
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Commissioner Kathleen Jonathan
Kathleen Jonathan - Keizer
Kathleen Jonathan is currently employed at Salem-Keizer Public Schools as a Community School Outreach Coordinator (CSOC) working with English Language Learners (ELLs). She has been in her current position since the school year, 2004-2005. Her position was created due to cultural misunderstandings and misconceptions between the community she serves and the school district. As part of her work, Kathleen shares cultural insights and/or presentations with school staff and shares the school culture and expectations with families and community members to help bridge cultural differences. She is passionate about her work and enjoys connecting with people.
Kathleen is a native of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawaii at Hilo in 2002. She and her family moved to California right after her graduation to continue with her education, and then moved to Oregon. She and her sons have come to consider Oregon as their third home.
Ping Khaw - Portland
Ping Khaw has participated in Asian and multicultural activities in Portland as a leader, a participant and advocate—and often as a professional artist. For the last 20 years she herself has designed and conducted cross cultural workshops, seminars, exhibitions, trainings and outreach efforts geared to many Asian and Middle Eastern populations. She has worked as the U.S. Census 2010 Partnership and Media Specialist under the U.S. Department of Commerce. Currently, she is growing an import-export business where she’s trying to build cross cultural opportunities for her own company in much the same way she does in the community. She is also the president for the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon and SW Washington.
|Commissioner Bennie Moses-Mesubed|Bennie Moses-Mesubed - La Grande
Bennie Moses-Mesubed is currently the Multicultural Center Director at Eastern Oregon University where she works to develop comprehensive programs focused on diversity awareness, education, and to promote an inclusive educational environment that nurtures cross cultural communication and fosters the exchange of diverse perspectives and ideals. In addition, she works to advocate and provide support, resources and services for underrepresented students to enhance student learning, growth and academic success in order to meet institutional diversity strategic priorities.
Bennie earned her Master’s in Business Administration degree at Eastern Oregon University. Over the years, she has been involved with different local and state groups/organizations such as the La Grande Shelter from the Storm, La Grande Oregon Rural Action, Arts East, Community Connection Transit Advisory committee, Oregon Community Foundation Scholarship committee, APANO Leadership Institute and the CANN National Alliance Board. She is passionate about diversity work and empowering people to build skills and a comfort level that allows them to engage in safe, yet thought provoking conversations on diversity. Bennie is a native of the Republic of Palau and has lived in La Grande, OR for over 20 years with her husband Clinton and 4 daughters – Cira, Kaiya, Jennah and Keana.
|Commissioner Chanpone |
Chanpone Sinlapasai-Okamura - Portland
Chanpone Sinlapasai-Okamura is a partner with Marandas & McClellan. She represents clients regarding general immigration law matters including visas, citizenship issues, consular processing, deportation defense and appeals. Ms. Sinlapasai-Okamura focuses her practice in assisting children who have been abused, abandoned and neglected, and individuals who are survivors of domestic violence, serious crime, and human trafficking. Ms. Sinlapasai-Okamura received her J.D., from Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, 2002 and is a member of the Cornelius Honor Society. She has her B.A. (English & Philosophy), from Santa Clara University, 1998. She is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA Oregon) and currently serves as the co-liaison for Immigration Custom’s Enforcement. Her volunteer work includes chairing the DOJ’s Immigrant Crime Victim’s Rights Enforcement subcommittee, member of the Victims of Crime Act Advisory Committee for the State of Oregon, DOJ’s Immigrant Crime Victim’s Right Compliance Project Advisory Committee, F.B.I. Citizen’s Alumni Board (Oregon FBI Council on Community Outreach), Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association, Oregon Minority Lawyer’s Association, and Oregon Women’s Lawyer’s Association.
||Commissioner Stephen Ying|Stephen Ying - Portland
A man of heart and passion, a reputable activist, Stephen Ying’s dedication and involvement with the community has brought forth positive results for the Portland community. His efforts span the scope of raising money for the American Red Cross in support of the earthquake in China to working with Travel Portland to promote our city as a destination for Chinese tourist and investors. Stephen stands for change and progress. He invests and provides his time freely for the betterment of the community.
The service that Stephen has been involved in crosses many platforms that include being on several Boards of Directors, Associations, and Committees –
- Co- Chair Oregon Civil Rights Council
- VP of Oregon Fujiang Sister State
- Board of Directors of Portland Kaohsiung Sister City
- Board of Directors of Portland Shuzhu Sister City
- Board of Directors of the Portland Chinese Gardens
- Old Town China Town Neighborhood Association
- Old Town China Town Business Association
- Old Town China Town Vision Committee
- Advisory Service Coordination with the Central Portland Police precinct
- Advisory Committee for the Urban Renewal River District
|Oregon Legislative Assembly Representatives|
Senator Michael Dembrow - D - Portland, District 23
Michael Dembrow is the state senator for District 23, covering portions of NE and SE Portland and the city of Maywood Park. First elected by voters in 2008 to the state house, he is serving his first term in the senate after being appointed to the seat in November 2013. Voters re-elected Michael to the senate in November 2014.
No stranger to public service, Michael is an English instructor at Portland Community College's Cascade campus in North Portland. He has been teaching writing and film studies at the college since 1981, and served as the President of the PCC faculty union for 16 years. He continues to teach one or two classes per term when the legislature is not in session.
Michael earned his undergraduate degree in English from the University of Connecticut and his Master's degree in Comparative Literature from Indiana University. Michael and his wife Kiki have lived in District 23 for over 30 years. They have a son, Nikolai and a daughter, Tatyana and two grandchildren. Michael is an avid runner and has completed the Portland Marathon multiple times. He and Kiki are proud parents of two whippets.
Representative Gene Whisnant - R - Sunriver, District 53
Representative Gene Whisnant
Gene Whisnant is serving his fifth term as State Representative for rural Deschutes County, House District 53. He was appointed first on September 5, 2003. For the 76th Legislative Session Gene will serve as a Co-Chair of the House General Government and Consumer Protection Committee. He will also serve on the House Judiciary Committee and the Joint Ways and Means Committee. Gene is a retired US Air Force Colonel. After completing a 27 year military career, he moved to Deschutes County and immediately became involved in the Deschutes County Republican Party. He was elected as the party Treasurer in 1997. In 2000 and 2002 he served as Chairman of the Deschutes County Party.
Interested in his community’s well being, Gene serves on the Deschutes County Commission on Children & Families since 1999. He presided as vice chair and chairman of the 15 member volunteer Board and currently participates as an ex-officio member.
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