Meet our office


The team that works with Commissioner Rene Gonzalez comes from many places, but we all share a goal: to help restore Portland's safety & livability. 

Shah Smith

Shah Smith 
Chief of Staff

Shahriyar (Shah) Smith is our Chief of Staff. Prior to joining the office, he ran Commissioner Gonzalez’s successful 2022 campaign for City Council. In that capacity, he worked closely with neighborhoods, activists, business leaders, and concerned citizens in every neighborhood of our city. He brings 20 years of public affairs and strategic consulting experience with him to the team.

Shah was born and raised in Oregon. The son of Iranian immigrants, he also spent significant time in Iran during his youth. He speaks fluent Farsi and works with others in the Iranian American community to raise awareness for the ongoing struggle for the rights of women in Iran. Zan, Zendegi, Azadi.

Shah earned bachelor’s degrees in philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology from Portland State University; as well as a Master’s of Science in Sociology, focusing on Islamic Immigration and the structure and pattern of transnational migration more broadly. His ongoing academic interests include how research informs public policy, and the ethics of state power in service of social justice and equity goals.

Grace Zarpak

Grace Zarpak (She/Her)
Policy Advisor

Grace was born and raised in Portland, Oregon.  After graduating from Ulysses S. Grant High School she attended Lewis & Clark College where she majored in Political Science.  Upon graduation she began working in City Hall for Mayor Potter.  She continued her work in City Hall working for Mayor Adams and Mayor Hales.  In 2014 she moved to Washington, D.C. to attend Howard University (HU!) where she received her Master's in Elementary Education. 

She taught for seven years in Maryland and D.C.  This is when she realized that teachers truly do have superpowers.  In 2022 she returned to Portland to work for Commissioner Gonzalez as a Policy Advisor.   

When not working she enjoys reading all things mystery, cooking/baking, and taking long walks with her husband and young son.   

Nick Coffey

Nick Coffey (He/Him)
Policy & Administrative Specialist


Nick was born and raised in Liberty, Missouri, not far from the original starting point of the Oregon Trail. While working towards his political science degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, he worked for the Missouri Democratic Party and former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. Nick found his passion in local government, working for various Kansas City council members and Mayor Quinton Lucas.

In his youth Nick visited Portland regularly to see family members. He set his sights northwest when it came time for a change of scenery. Now calling Portland home, Nick is excited to be part of Commissioner Gonzalez’s team. He shares the belief that all Portlanders deserve safe, livable neighborhoods that are well equipped for the future. In his free time, Nick enjoys camping trips in the Cascades, visits to the coast with his friends, and checking out shops and restaurants in his corner of the Sullivan’s Gulch neighborhood.

Grace Galvez Mora

Grace Galvez Mora (She/Her)
Deputy Chief of Staff


Grace was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador. There she earned a Bachelor's degree from Polytechnic University of Ecuador and worked in aviation administration prior to relocating to the United States in 2013. She proudly became a U.S. citizen through the naturalization process and has earned two associates degrees from Pierce College in Washington.  

 Prior to joining Commissioner Gonzalez’s team, Grace spent eight years with Amazon in various roles of successively greater responsibility, one year in the Mayor’s Office and also at the Public Environment Management Office. She brings a wealth of experience in high-performance project, programmatic, and personnel management. In addition, Grace is a certified medical interpreter providing critical language translation and emotional support to diverse family and individualized needs throughout the Greater Portland medical community. Grace is the proud mother of a 10-year-old boy and is conversant in the indigenous language of Runasimi (Quecha), in addition to English and her native Spanish. 

Edna Aguirre Velázquez

Edna Arilesdy Aguirre Velázquez (She/Her)
Constituent Services Representative 


Edna was born and raised in Mexico. She first came to the United States in 2019, when she moved here with her husband and two children for work. She has recently become a permanent resident.  

Prior to moving to Portland, Edna studied law at CEUX and got her MBA from Cetys University, both in Mexico, and she ran her own logistics business.  

Like many families, the COVID-19 pandemic turned Edna’s life upside-down, as she needed to change careers to support her family, as her husband’s company closed. During this time, she worked in a 24-hour assisted living facility, providing in-home health care for residents with disabilities.  

Over the last few years, she has been focused on giving back to her community, volunteering with CASH Oregon, which supports Portland’s low-income Latino community. She is also passionate about immigration rights, and supporting Portlanders for whom English is not a first language.  

Outside of the office, Edna enjoys spending time with her family, Portland’s beautiful outdoors, cooking, and taking trips.  

Cassidy VanDomelen

Cassidy VanDomelen (She/Her)
Communications Coordinator


Born and raised in Hillsboro, Oregon, Cassidy attended Oregon State University where she received her degree in Environmental Economics & Policy. She went on to demonstrate her talents by coordinating the world-renowned 2021 Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, where she honed her skills in photography, drone videography, and event management.

Cassidy brings her passion for her community to the forefront. She strives to inspire young people to become involved in local government, especially in areas which pertain to their individual needs and interests. As the Communications Coordinator for the Office of Rene Gonzalez, Cassidy uses her experience to provide prompt, transparent, and authentic media and messaging to the deserving community of Portland regarding public safety. As a downtown Portland resident, she deeply understands the importance of making her home a safer place for everyone – now, and for generations to come.

Harrison Kass 
Policy Advisor


Harrison Kass was born in Manhattan and raised in Newtown, Connecticut but is now proud to call Portland home. Harrison holds a BA in History from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon School of Law, and an MA in International Relations and Global Journalism from New York University. Harrison is a member of the Oregon State Bar.

Before joining Commissioner Gonzalez's team, Harrison worked for Mayor Wheeler. Also a journalist, Harrison writes for The National Interest, where he covers politics and national security. 

Harrison holds a Private Pilot's License and was selected as a Pilot Trainee and Officer Candidate with the US Air Force before being medically discharged.

Harrison played semi-pro hockey and still skates regularly. Harrison is a guitarist with a profound appreciation for hair metal.