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Members of the Commission
Chair Stephen Ying  
Chair 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
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Vice Chair


Commissioner Ping Khaw-Sutherland  
Vice Chair Mari Watanabe
Mari Watanabe - Portland
Mari Watanabe is currently employed at the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) and heads up two programs under the PBA's umbrella. As the Program Director of Leadership Portland, Mari oversees the 10 month leadership program designed to develop community leaders for today and tomorrow. As Executive Director of Partners in Diversity, Mari oversees this non-profit whose mission is to help companies recruit, support and retain new professionals of color in Oregon and SW Washington.
Appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber in May 2011, Mari serves as vice-chair on the Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs under the umbrella of the Oregon Advocacy Commissions.
In March of 2011, she was one of 13 Japanese American delegates selected to represent the U.S. in Japan as part of the 2011 Japanese American Leadership Delegation sponsored by the Japan Foreign Ministry and U.S. - Japan Council. Mari's last day on the delegate trip was in Tokyo and unfortunately experienced the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11th. 
Kathleen Jonathan - Keizer

Bio and photo coming soon.


Commissioner Ping Khaw-Sutherland  
Commissioner Ping Khaw-Sutherland
Ping Khaw-Sutherland - Portland
Ping Khaw-Sutherland 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 Joseph Santos-Lyons 
Joseph Santos-Lyons - Portland 

Joseph Santos-Lyons is a Chinese-American adoptee, musician, minister and cultural organizer.  Born in Portland and raised in Clackamas County, Joseph has worked for democracy, human rights and systemic change that address the root causes of inequities for 25 years in Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts and the Philippines.  Currently he serves as staff for the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, a community organization with over 2,000 constituents that works to advance racial equity in public policy.  He is also affiliate community minister with the First Unitarian Church of Portland.  Previously he has served the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, Unitarian Universalist Association and Coalition for a Livable Future.
He is passionate about his family and neighborhood, spending time outdoors with his partner and three school age children, and tending to a prolific plum tree.  Joseph has been a performer in Portland Taiko, a multicultural trainer, and is particularly interested in the rising community of color electorate.
Commissioner Michelle Vlach-Ing  
Commissioner Michelle Vlach-Ing
Michelle Vlach-Ing - Salem
Michelle Vlach-Ing is an attorney in private practice with Crowell Ing, a Law Firm in Salem Oregon. She obtained her bachelor degree at the University of Hawaii in 1998 and her Juris Doctorate from Willamette University College of Law in 2001.
Michelle’s practice consists of acquisitions of trademark and copyright registrations and litigation in the state and federal courts, as well as international arbitration. She has tried or managed case cases involving contract disputes, patent infringement litigation, trademark and trade dress infringements, copyright infringement, cybersquatting, antitrust, business and employment law.
Her interests include cooking, hiking, camping, SCUBA and traveling.
[Read full bio] 

Oregon Legislative Assembly Representatives

Senator Michael Dembrow - D - Portland, District 23
Michael Dembrow is the state representative for Oregon House district 45, which includes Northeast Portland, the city of Maywood Park and the Parkrose area. He serves on the House Committees on Education (as Vice-Chair); Health Care; Human Services; and Workforce Development (a subcommittee of the Business & Labor Committee).

Michael is currently serving his first term in the legislature, but he has been active in his community for well over two decades. 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. In 2007, he was appointed to the State Board of Education by Governor Kulongoski.

Representative Gene Whisnant  - R - Sunriver, District 53
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. 
[Read full bio]