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About the Oregon Advocacy Commissions Office

About Us

The Oregon Advocacy Commissions Office’s chief responsibility is supporting the statutory charges of the 4 Commissions, Oregon Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OCAPIA), Oregon Commission on Black Affairs (OCBA), Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs (OCHA), and the Oregon Commission for Women (OCFW), each with 9 Governor-appointed Commissioners and 2 legislators appointed by the Senate President and Speaker of the House and confirmed by the Senate.  Historically, this has included providing support for the OACs (Oregon Advocacy Commissions) working within their 7 Strategic Priority areas (listed below) to identify problems and long standing challenges to communities of color and women regarding Intersectionality, Rural Issues, plugging in to the Policy Arc, identifying Best Practice, and, researching policy remedies.  Providing this support includes working collaboratively with the OACs, the Governor’s Office, legislators, and State partners; maintaining a liaison with and growing partnerships with constituent community groups and research partners in state government and Oregon universities; growing constituent representation in leadership positions in state government; recommending action to policy makers and the Governor on key issues facing their constituents, legislative tracking; developing and submitting testimony; and, representing the OACs with policy makers and partners, as needed, to inform ongoing policy work and advance the OACs’ initiatives.

History of the OACO

The Oregon Advocacy Commissions Office (OACO) was established by statute in 2005 to serve what had previously been 4 separately staffed Commissions focused on growing equity, leadership and success among Black, Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic Oregonians and Women.   This was done in order to more efficiently serve the Commissions during tight economic times and grow collaboration between the Commissions on their statutory missions improving the economic, social, legal, and political equity of their constituent populations. The OACO was initiated in 2006 and staffed at the beginning of 2008 with an Administrator and Executive Assistant.  In 2010, the OACO moved its offices from Salem to Portland to allow ease of access to the Commissions’ main constituencies and to grow its reach in several key areas: Growing future leaders with internships and leadership development for students of color and women; building expertise and resources affecting poverty, health, education and justice; and partnering in policy research and projects focused on priority areas.  In 2015, a permanent .5 position of a Policy Research Analyst was added to the OACO staff, and in 2021 this position became full-time. A permanent full-time Public Affairs Specialist was also added. In 2023 HB 2995 extended the work of the Health Equity Task Force and three positions were added until June 2026.


Interim Executive Director – Terrence Saunders
Executive Support – Ava Stevens
Policy Research Advocate - Kyl Myers, PhD
HB 4052 Team Lead - Mika Ingram
Public Affairs Specialist - Saba Saleem
Project Facilitator - Kaj Jensen

 OACO Agency Plans

2023-25 Strategic Plan

2023-25 Succession Plan

2023-25 Government 2 Government Plan

2023-25 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Plan

Strategic Priority Areas

The primary strategic priority of each of the four Advocacy Commissions is addressing education disparities among students of color and women, pre-kindergarten through higher education and the trades.


Policies that affect wage equity, jobs, careers, diverse workforce and leadership, small business, poverty, and attainment are part of the OAC’s strategic priorities.

​Overrepresentation of communities of color in the justice and corrections systems, hate crime and stalking protections, profiling, community policing and training, access to justice are strategic issues for the Oregon Advocacy Commissions.
Housing and stable families are essential to thriving. Addressing disparities in foster care, hunger, homelessness, housing displacement, and safety are key indicators.

​Housing and stable families are essential to thriving. Addressing disparities in foster care, hunger, homelessness, housing displacement, and safety are key indicators.

OAC’s strategic priorities include access to care, health coverage, culturally competent care, health education, and better health outcomes for all.​

Being an active part of community, leadership, social/government institutions and accessing opportunities are key to success for all Oregonians.

​Equal protection from environmental and health hazards, and meaningful public participation in decisions that affect the environment in which people live.