Chief of Staff
Michelle, a first-generation child of immigrants and child of US Naval officer, has lived across the United States and abroad. Her upbringing, marked by frequent moves, changing schools, and connecting with diverse communities, has deeply influenced her career. She studied Political Science at San Diego State University and International Conflict Resolution at American University in D.C., channeling her passion for activism into community service.
Her career began in social and environmental justice along the San Diego/Tijuana border region. She later led statewide policy advocacy for six EJ organizations in Sacramento. Her journey led her to Oregon, where she has worked in the non-profit and public sectors for nearly two decades, prioritizing racial and social justice for under-resourced communities.
After directing a youth-focused non-profit in Hillsboro, Michelle joined the City of Portland managing the Friends & Partner program at Portland Parks, fostering community park advocacy. Then served as an analyst and operations supervisor at the Office of Community and Civic Life. She joined Commissioner Mapps’ office in 2021 as senior policy advisor to Environmental Services and briefly the Water Bureau. Michelle co-authored Portland’s landmark paid chosen family bereavement and pregnancy loss leave policy, enacted in October 2021 to national recognition while supporting other agencies to draft similar policies.
Michelle remains committed to community through career mentorship and volunteer roles. She served previously as the Chair of the Latino Leadership Council of Washington County, recipient of the Washington County Annual Public Health Award, and former co-leader of the City of Portland's LatinxPDX affinity group. Outside of work, she enjoys family biking in her neighborhood, supporting her kids at soccer games, and cheering for the Thorns and Timbers.
Deputy Chief of Staff
Cynthia Castro returns to City Hall after serving as Chief of Staff for Multnomah County Commissioner Dr. Sharon Meieran. In this role, she progressed Commissioner Meieran’s policy priorities of behavioral health and homelessness, was the lead budget negotiator, and supervised Commissioner Meieran’s policy, constituent relations, and administrative team.
Cynthia hopes to act as a bridge between Multnomah County and the City of Portland to improve collaboration, coordination, and effectiveness in addressing Portland’s most pressing issues and support the City through structural and institutional changes.
Cynthia’s extensive experience at the City of Portland includes stints as a Senior Policy Advisor for Commissioners Carmen Rubio and Amanda Fritz. Under these Commissioners, Cynthia was the liaison to Portland Parks and Recreation (PP&R), the Office of Equity and Human Rights, Tribal Relations, and the Regional Arts and Culture Council. Cynthia also spent years working for PP&R, most recently as the Director of the Charles Jordan Community Center in North Portland.
Cynthia has championed equity through involvement with the City’s Diverse and Empowered Employees of Portland (DEEP), Latinx PDX City Employee Affinity Group, PP&R’s Fostering Equity Support Team (FEST), and Portland World Soccer Program. Cynthia also brings a public health and research background and nine years of experience as a collegiate coach and athletics administrator.
Cynthia received her B.A. in Anthropology from Arizona State University and her Master of Public Health from Oregon State University. She is a 2018 Emerge Oregon graduate, a 2020 Portland City Council candidate, serves as Co-Chair for Common Cause Oregon, and is a Rosewood Initiative board member. Cynthia lives in Southwest Portland with her family and enjoys sports, Portland’s food scene, and the outdoors.
Andrew joined City Hall after working at the State Legislature, where he was Chief of Staff to a State Senator. He is passionate about creating innovative public policy and working to develop inclusive communities where everyone can thrive.
Andrew is the oldest of six siblings and grew up in Illinois before attending the University of Oregon. He is a proud Duck, receiving both his undergraduate and law degrees at UO. As a new father, he wants to help create the best version of Portland for his son to grow up in. Andrew lives with his wife and son in Southwest Portland. Andrew roots hard for Oregon Duck athletics and enjoys hiking and traveling with his family.
Constituent Services Representative
Clay recently joined Commissioner Mapps’ office as the constituent services representative after over 10 years of restaurant and parks management and customer service experience. Clay has called Portland home for the last five years.
Originally from southwest Florida, Clay has fond memories of growing up near the Gulf of Mexico, which is home to some of the most beautiful and ecologically important coastal habitat in the world. Clay moved to Alaska in 2015 to work at Denali National Park, where they spent their days helping people from all over the world learn about Alaska’s natural wonders. They spent their weekends backpacking hundreds of miles through Alaska’s fantastic wilderness. Clay’s interests in protecting critical habitats and wildlife and backpacking made Portland an obvious choice for their next adventure. They were also drawn to Portland for its reputation as a space that celebrates queer people.
Clay returned to school as an adult at Portland State University where they earned an Environmental Science Degree with highest honors in 2022. Clay has a profound love for planet Earth and a deep connection to their place in the natural world, which has instilled a passion to pursue climate justice and environmental justice in everything that they do.
In their free time, Clay volunteers with a variety of Oregon non profit organizations to protect Oregon’s natural resources. They recently completed a count of the remaining glaciers on Mount Hood, which had not been done since 2003; they also surveyed habitat for wetlands and potential beaver habitat in Mount Hood National Forest; and, worked with climate scientists to assess scientific consensus around GHG emissions and CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.
Executive Assistant and Scheduler
Nalie is the middle child of 5(6) wonderful adults(now), born in a very musically inclined household; both parents migrated from Haiti, which makes French Creole her first language.
After teaching in an early childhood education facility for almost 21 years, 2020 shifted her interest and skills towards administrative work.
Nalie worked as an office manager at a physical therapy clinic for two years. That move was similar to working with children; she fit right in helping people from numerous cultural backgrounds.
Nalie enjoys hanging out with her siblings and doing almost anything, like bowling, softball, game nights, movies, singing and listening to music. Since she has no children, her four nephews are her world.
Nalie is taking a break from a YouTube page she started for young children in 2018; she plans on recording again to keep the little ones happy with songs, book reading, and story-telling.
Nalie is excited to be here at City Hall, doing all the things she enjoys the most: helping people.
Senior Policy Advisor
Senior Policy Advisor Jacq Tjaden oversees Environmental Services and Water, both bureaus Jacq has worked in. A champion for thriving communities, responsive services, and good governance, Jacq holds a Bachelor of Science in Community Development from Portland State University and associate degree from Mount Hood Community College.
Since 2009, Jacq's public sector experience includes positions in the critical services the community relies upon including 9-1-1, water, sewer, garbage, and sustainability. Notably, as the Equity Manager at the Multnomah County/Portland 9-1-1, in 2022 Jacq introduced the federal “Transform 9-1-1 Blueprint” which Jacq co-authored the equity initiative with nationwide researchers, 9-1-1 directors, and chiefs of law enforcement agencies, and community activists.
Anchored by the resilience of immigrant heritage from war-torn countries, Jacq is a lifelong local resident who embodies an ability to navigate complex challenges with a resourceful spirit. This drives Jacq’s dedication to enhancing government functions for the wellbeing of all.
Jackson is a sixth-generation Oregonian with ties ranging from Pendleton to Southeast Portland. Since he was 17, he has followed a lifelong passion and joined many food trucks and restaurants, including world-famous Portland institutions like PDX Sliders and Kenny and Zuke’s. These years of service experience put him in close contact with a wide variety of people from all over the city, state, and country. During his time at the University of Oregon, Jackson helped supervise the student wing of the University of Oregon Foundation. He learned the value of his communication skills and used them to secure tens of thousands in donations for academic programs, scholarships, and student services across campus. He took a particular interest in the Pathway Oregon scholarship program and made it a goal to support this needs-based scholarship fund as much as he could. Jackson believes education should not be closed off to those who cannot afford it.
Since he no longer works in restaurants, Jackson loves spending his free time cooking elaborate and delicious meals for anyone patient enough to wait for him to get his food just right (He promises it is worth the wait). He also enjoys hiking, biking, sitting in the shade, and playing tour guide for anyone new to the city.