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Oregon Housing Stability Council Members

Council Chair Claire HallPhoto: Council Chair Claire Hall

Claire Hall has served 14 years as a Lincoln County Commissioner. She has made housing and homelessness the primary focus of her work at the local, state and national levels.

The US Interagency Council on Homelessness honored her with the "Home for Every American Award." She received the award at a conference in Washington DC in 2008. Ms. Hall was one of two county officials to receive the award.

The Commissioner has served as Chair of the Association of Oregon Counties. She represents a rural coastal district that faces steep housing challenges. She also previously served as Co-chair of the Oregon Ending Homelessness Advisory Council.

Council Term
7/01/2018 to 6/30/2022

Councilmember Sami Jo Difuntorum

Photo: Councilmember Sami Jo Difuntorum

Sami Jo Difuntorum is a member of the Kwekaeke band of Shasta from the Upper Klamath River canyon of Northern California. Ms. Difuntorum presently serves as the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) board member representing Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and previously served as the NAIHC Chairwoman for two terms.  Ms. Difuntorum has been employed as the Housing Executive Director for the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians since 2010 and previously worked for a Tribally Designated Housing Entity in California for 16 years.

Her experience in tribal housing spans 26 years and includes providing testimony to the United States Congress during the reauthorization of the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA), representing the National American Indian Housing Council at the first tribal leader meeting with the White House, and membership on the Indian Housing Block Grant Formula Negotiated Rulemaking Committee.  

Ms. Difuntorum has served on numerous boards and committees including co-chair of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Housing Committee, Chair of the NAIHC Legislative Committee, Vice-Chair of the Northwest Indian Housing Association, Chair of the National Congress of American Indians Housing Sub-Committee, and as board member of the former Lincoln Community Development Corporation. 

Ms. Difuntorum currently resides in Oregon.

Council Term
11/25/2019 to 06/30/202

Councilmember Barb HiginbothamPhoto: Councilmember Barb Higinbotham

Barb Higinbotham served on the Community Action Partnership of Oregon (CAPO) board for the past 10 years. She has held the positions of Treasurer, Vice Chair, and Chair and has worked on many committees. The federal Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 established the Community Action Network. The network became the delivery system for federal antipoverty programs in Oregon. Working with this compassionate group of CAPO leaders has been very rewarding.

Barb is currently the Executive Director for Community in Action (CinA).CinA is part of the Community Action Network representing Harney and Malheur Counties in rural and frontier areas in Oregon. Barb founded the CinA as a non-profit organization in 2009. It expanded to offer more programs and funding to support low-income residents in the service area.

Prior to working with the CinA, Barb served as the Regional Operations Manager for the State of Oregon Employment Department. She represented 13 counties in Eastern Oregon. She is also the former Deputy Director for Student Loan Fund of Idaho. This was a non-profit corporation that covered the administration of the Title IV Aid programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965 serving the state of Idaho.

Council Term 
09/23/2019 to 6/30/2023

Councilmember Mary FerrellPhoto: Councilmember Mary Ferrell“ style=

Mary Ferrell is the founder and Executive Director of Maslow Project. A lifelong Oregonian, Mary graduated from Southern Oregon University and began working with children and families in 2000 as an advocate in the public school system for the civil rights of homeless students.

Mary founded Maslow Project in 2009 in response to a need in her community. Her vision was to offer a service delivery model that works best for those needing help – low barrier, trauma informed, and responsive to changing needs. Maslow has gained national and international attention and Mary has received numerous awards for outstanding service and community impact. Mary’s experience brings a lens as a service provider to a population that often has extensive barriers to housing, education, and employment.

Mary is an American Leadership Senior Fellow, Vice Chair of the Jackson County Continuum of Care, and has served on numerous advisories and initiatives in support of her State and community. She currently sits as a Governor appointed member of the Oregon Housing Stability Council.

Council Term 
10/01/2020 to 6/30/2024

Councilmember Candace JamisonPhoto: Councilmember Candace Jamison

Candace Jamison is the Executive Director of the Marion County Housing Authority serving low-income families, seniors, veterans and farmworkers living in rural Marion County Oregon. Previously she spent a decade working for Home Forward (formerly the Housing Authority of Portland) where she supported vulnerable communities impacted by rising housing costs and displacement. Candace has served on the Board of Directors for Northwest Pilot Project, a nonprofit assisting low-income seniors experiencing housing instability, since 2017. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Mid-Willamette Valley Housing Alliance. Candace completed her undergraduate studies in Community Development and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Portland State University.

Council Term 
10/01/2020 to 6/30/2023

Councilmember Mary LiPhoto: Councilmember Mary Li

Mary Li is the Director of the Multnomah Idea Lab (MIL) at the Multnomah County Department of County Human Services. The MIL is charged with seeking policy and innovation within the human services and government sectors. The MIL aims to positively change community conditions resulting from poverty and racism.  They accomplish this by practicing:

- Human-centered design
- Seeking out critical thinking and research
- Conducting applied research tests in the real world

Council Term 
07/01/2018 to 6/30/2022

Photo: Councilmember Gerardo F. Sandoval, PhDGerard F. Sandoval, PhD

Dr. Sandoval is an associate professor at the University of Oregon. He serves in the department of planning, public policy, and management.

His research intersects areas of urban planning, immigration, and community change. This includes issues such as housing affordability in low-income neighborhoods.

Dr. Sandoval has published in journals focused on urban planning and community development including:

- The Journal of Planning Education and Research
- Urban Studies
- Community Development
- The Journal of Urbanism 

He received his Ph.D. and MA in city and regional planning from the University of California at Berkeley. He received his BA in community development from the University of California at Davis. Dr. Sandoval served as an intelligence officer in the U.S Army National Guard. 

Council Term 
05/03/2017 to 6/30/2020

Councilmember Charles Wilhoite

Charles Wilhoite is a managing director with Willamette Management Associates in Portland, OR. He works on all types of valuation engagements for the firm. Charles is also the leader of the firm's tax-exempt entity and health care services practice.

Charles has performed the following types of financial analysis and valuation assignments: 

- Merger and acquisition valuations
- Post-acquisition purchase price allocations
- Business and stock valuations
- Ad valorem property tax 
- Income tax, and gift and estate tax valuations
- Forensic analyses
- Employee stock ownership plan feasibility studies and valuations
- Economic damages calculations
- Charles has testified throughout the country about valuation, financial and economic issues across a wide variety of industries.

Charles holds the following credentials:

- Certified public accountant (CPA), 
- Accredited in business valuation (ABV) and certified in financial forensics (CFF) by the AICPA
- Certified management accountant (CMA) and certified in financial management by the Institute of Management Accountants
- Accredited senior appraiser (ASA) in business valuation as designated by the American Society of Appraisers
- Certified valuation analyst (CVA) as designated by the National Association of Valuators and Analysts
- Certified business appraiser (CBA) as designated by the Institute of Business Appraisers
- Certified fraud examiner (CFE) as designated by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Charles currently serves on the board of directors for:

- The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco – Portland Branch
- The Portland Business Alliance
- Meyer Memorial Trust
- Legacy Health
- PacificSource Health Plans
- Metal Toad Media
- The U.S. Bank of Oregon
- The Nature Conservancy

An Oregon resident for 24 years, Charles resides Portland with his wife Tammy, for the past 20 years. Charles and Tammy have three children.

Council Term 
09/25/2017 to 6/30/2021


Councilmember Javier Mena Councilmember Javier Mena

Born in Ecuador, Javier Mena immigrated to Portland in 1982. He served in the Army for two years and graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Economics and minor in International Studies. He has over 25 years of finance and public policy experience in the private and public sectors.

Mena currently works as the affordable housing manager at the City of Beaverton. To ensure the City continues being the most diverse city in the state, he focuses on ensuring affordable rental and homeownership housing opportunities are available to all, especially Black, Indigenous, People of Color and marginalized communities. Until July 2018, he was the assistant director of the Portland Housing Bureau, where he had worked since 2010 in various roles. He worked with more than 40 nonprofits and service providers that partnered with the Housing Bureau to ensure the City's housing and rent-assistance programs were fulfilling their mission. Mena also has an extensive record in the finance industry, working for Wells Fargo until 2006 as an assistant vice president.

Mena currently serves on the Boards of Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH) and Community Housing Fund (CHF); he also serves on the Oregon Zoo Bond Oversight Committee

Council Term 


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