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The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability loses a beloved colleague and racial equity champion

News Article
Last week, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and the Portland community lost a dear friend and colleague, Tony Lamb. 
Published

Those who knew Tony lost a shining light in their eyes. Those who worked and played closely with him, shared laughter and conversation with him, also lost an irreplaceable friend. 

Tony’s passion for racial justice and equity was a driving force in his work at BPS. His willingness to challenge racist systems and institutional practices within the City for the good of his community was just as powerful. 

At BPS, Tony played significant roles in reshaping how the City centers racial justice in our work, especially in analyzing who benefits from our current land use system and addressing the long-term displacement harm experienced by Black, Indigenous and people of color. He was a key part of our team working to address displacement in our community. His determination was matched by an indelible heart that made it a privilege to collaborate with him.

Tony once described doing racial equity planning at BPS as his dream job, and it was a dream for BPS to have him. He modeled how to work accountably with BIPOC communities to change our policies in order to meet their vision for a just and equitable future. His commitment to results-based outcomes and accountability to BIPOC communities – as well as internal culture changes for BPS – will be one of his lasting legacies with us. 

Perhaps his greatest gift to us was the way he prioritized the care of his colleagues and building community. It’s a gift we are putting to use today as we continue to grieve our loss. 

Before joining BPS, Tony was the Director of Economic Development at the Rosewood Initiative, where he supported Black-led and Black-serving organizations and programs. In 2018, he received his Masters in Urban Planning from Portland State University. 

Tony loved the outdoors and enjoyed exploring the Cascades while backpacking and trail running. He also had boundless energy for working with community groups like Play Grow Learn and serving on the board of the Community Cycling Center. Tony Lamb was a true joy to be around. We will miss his smile, intellect and passion. 

It is our commitment to push forward as an anti-racist organization working for racial equity and restitution. We are also committed to creating a culture where mental health needs are normalized and safe to share. We will continue to work across the City to provide support for staff who may struggle with depression, addiction or thoughts of suicide. We affirm these commitments in honor of Tony’s legacy. 

Friends have set up a memorial site for Tony, which includes links to community organizations he was involved with, for people to donate and share in his memory.  

You can read Tony’s obituary in the Oregonian

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