information
COVID-19 Safety, Recovery and Resilience

Face coverings are required in indoor public spaces and many outdoor spaces. State policy
Access City programs, people and projects helping Portland recover. Portland United

Volunteer. Play. Stay. Shop. Show the Rose City a little love. Here for Portland

About the Portland Utility Board

Information
Basic information about the purpose and current board members.
On this page

Purpose of the Board

The Portland Utility Board (PUB) is a community oversight body whose purpose is to advise City Council and bureau leadership on budgetary and policy matters related to the two utility bureaus, the Bureau of Environmental Services and the Portland Water Bureau. PUB believes every person is entitled to clean and affordable drinking water, healthy communities, and healthy watersheds.

PUB believes and acts upon anti-racist principles. We must hold ourselves and the Bureaus accountable for identifying and addressing racism, systemic racism, and structural inequities. In interacting with the PUB, while every person has the right to share their personal perspective, we stand against wrongful conduct, particularly any conduct that is targeted toward people that are made vulnerable by systemic inequities.

Read the full version of PUB's Beliefs, Values and Anti-Racist Principles:


PUB has 11 voting members and three ex-officio members. One voting member of the PUB is a current employee in a represented bargaining unit with the Portland Water Bureau or the Bureau of Environmental Services. Members are appointed by the Mayor, in consultation with the Commissioner-in-Charge. The Mayor and Council strive to have PUB reflect the diversity of the Portland community.

Current Members

Voting Members

Kaliska Day (Co-chair) is a project manager with Wenaha Group and with over 16 years in construction management brings a unique perspective on how utilities impact practical installation. She has familiarity with a breadth of government agencies as well as experience serving several years on the Portland Bureau of Transportation Bureau Budget Advisory Committee. This provided a great opportunity to see the interconnectedness of government and it was rewarding to give input to the process as it would be on the board. She volunteers with the Oregon Native American Chamber which provides opportunity not just to connect with native communities but also many other diverse communities of color. She joined the PUB in 2019 and brings a unique perspective and voice to the construction industry and the effects of government decisions on contractors as well as a voice to the native community and advocate for a severely under-served demographic.

Term: July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2022

Co-chair Term: July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022


Karen Williams (Co-chair) brings experience in hydrogeology, watershed planning, water quality and public administration to PUB. After several years as an environmental geologist and project manager, she joined the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and supported watershed councils, local governments and others working across Oregon to measure and improve stream quality.  She's now a policy analyst at DEQ and helps to reduce air pollution from cars and trucks. Karen has enjoyed past service on boards for small nonprofit organizations, her union, neighborhood association, and community budget advisory committees. 

Term: July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2022

Co-chair Term: July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022


Alexander Lopez III (Alex) is a social worker and environmental geologist (registered in Oregon and Washington) working to center community perspectives in environmental remediation and policy. Utilizing his scientific background and social work education and experience, he strives to understand, call attention to, and mitigate the human impacts of environmental degradation, particularly on communities that have suffered historic and ongoing marginalization. Alex has over 15 years of experience performing environmental remediation work in Oregon and has worked on projects ranging in size from large superfund sites to small residential properties. He has experience with local, state, and federal environmental regulations and uses that experience while engaging with the public to help community members understand the legal and technical aspects of environmental cleanup work. He is particularly interested in brownfield redevelopment and superfund community engagement. Additionally, Alex has an interest in environmental policy, particularly as it relates to environmental justice issues. Alex holds bachelor's degrees in Geology (geophysics) and Mathematics from the University of Texas and will be graduating with a Master of Social Work in August 2021. 

Term: July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2024


Cayle Tern earned a BS in Business Administration from California State University, Chico,  and Master of Social Work from Portland State University. Cayle is a first-generation refugee from Laos, a leader in the in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community. Cayle serves on the Pacific Islander and Asian Family Center Advisory Board, a Board Member of the East County Rising PAC, a Councilman Member of Service International Employee Union PAC (Oregon), and a recently elected Reynolds School Board Director. Cayle has 15 years’ experience as a Human Services worker with the Oregon Department of Human Services. Social Justice and Equity is at the forefront of every conversation and the Portland Utility Board should be no exception. 

Term: July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2024


Gabriela Saldaña-López is a community organizer in Portland. She was born and raised in Southeast and East Portland and has a double BA from the University of Oregon in Planning, Public Policy and Management, and International Studies with a concentration in nonprofit administration. She joined PUB in 2019 and brings a unique perspective, connections, and experience through her community organizing and event coordination roles over the years and is passionate about advancing actions that can begin to address disparities in Portland. 

Term: July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2022


Jasmine Varela is an Operating Engineer at the Portland Water Bureau. 

A member of the PWB since 2006, her experience spans 3 divisions including Maintenance & Construction (Utility Worker), Customer Service (Water Meter Technician), and Operations (Operating Engineer), additionally she has been involved with the bureau's safety committee for over 10 years. Jasmine's education includes a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Oregon DHS certification as a Water Treatment Operator Level II and Water Distribution System Operator Level III. 

Outside of work, Jasmine is a Varsity Assistant Volleyball coach at Rex Putnam High School (GO KINGSMEN!!!) and has been involved in community coaching for 23 years. She has a deep passion for helping teens become leaders on and off the court and takes her teams to the Oregon Food Bank and the Ronald McDonald House to volunteer and set an example of service in our community.

Term: July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2024 


Julia DeGraw is the Coalition Director for the Oregon League of Conservation Voters and has spent her entire career in the environmental nonprofit sector. She was born and raised in the Portland Metro region and has lived here her entire life except for four years of college in Wisconsin where she earned a BS in Environmental Studies and Sociology from Northland College. Much of her career has focused on water issues including her nine year stint at Food & Water Watch as the Senior Northwest Organizer where she often advocated for Portland water issues. She is passionate about ensuring a clean environment for future generations, sanitation and clean affordable water for all, and dismantling systemic racism in Portland. Her experience interacting with thousands of residents from her campaigns for public office, alongside her professional experiences make her uniquely suited to serve the diverse interests of people of Portland on the PUB.

Term: January 1, 2021 - June 30, 2023


Karen Spencer is the Chief Operating Officer and a founding team member for Firmcast dba Searchfunder.com, an online community and technology platform for search funds. Karen is a member of the State Bars of California and Oregon, as well as the US Patent & Trademark Office.  She has over 25 years of experience as in-house and external counsel with a focus on intellectual property, commercial agreements and the legal implications of business decisions. Karen has a wide range of interests, volunteer engagement and training, including the Oregon Youth Development Council, Portland Parks Foundation, improvisational acting and managing an award-winning blues band. She joined the PUB in 2019 and brings a range of skills in strategic planning, legal analysis, leadership and teamwork to the Board.

Term: July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2022


Robin Castro is a working class East Portland renter and Senior at Portland State University pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies. She’s an elected member of the student government at Portland State - representing over 26,000 university students and is a founding member & Treasurer of the only progressive student group on campus. She comes from a long line of working class men and women who have experienced economic hardship and hopes to merge her personal experience with poverty and her educational background to provide procedural and environmental justice for her community.

Term: January 1, 2021 - June 30, 2023


Theresa Huang is a planner serving as Project Development Specialist at the Urban Greenspaces Institute. Spending her childhood in Taiwan and upbringing in Oregon, she brings her experience and perspectives that shaped her passion for environmental and social justice to help bring people and nature closer to each other. In addition, she also has a deep understanding of the barriers to engagement and communications that many underserved communities face, especially with the immigrant and refugee community. She completed her studies in environmental studies and urban planning at UO and PSU, and has experience in planning, environmental restoration, urban forestry, and community outreach through her work with Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Friends of Trees, and other nonprofits based in Eugene. Theresa is also a board member of Depave, a local nonprofit that removes over-paved areas to transform it into greenspaces.

Term: January 1, 2021 - June 30, 2023


Tom Liptan, fasla - As a landscape architect Tom worked with the City of Portland, Bureau of Environmental Service for 26 years. He was the catalyst behind research and development of vegetative systems (Green Infrastructure) for rain and stormwater management. He started at BES in Customer Service where he worked across all city neighborhoods and particularly on the eastside Mid-County Sewer Project. Then he was assigned as the team leader for the preparation and implementation of Portland’s first MS4 permit. He participated in the city’s CSO compliance project and watershed planning. These projects required extensive interaction with other city bureaus including PBOT, Parks, Urban Forestry and Water Bureau. Since the 1990s he has documented the benefits of stormwater management using vegetated systems and the economic pay-back of such approaches. The first ecoroof in Portland was installed on his garage roof in 1996, over the next several years BES initiated the construction and monitoring of numerous green demonstration projects which all proved to be very successful. Before coming to Portland, he started his career as a parks, forestry and lake restoration planner with the city of Orlando Fl. Designing his first “green” stormwater management project in 1978. In 1980 he, with his family, moved to Portland. He went into the private sector working on commercial and residential developments and the first light rail project in East Portland. He has been recognized for this green infrastructure work and has presented papers at more than 200 conferences in the USA and internationally. He volunteers with GRIT (greenroof advocacy), Urban Greenspaces Institute, 82nd Ave Coalition and he testifies at city council, PSC, Urban Forestry, and Design Review regarding green infrastructure. In his book, Sustainable Stormwater Management, (Timber Press 2017) he documents 40 years of green infrastructure. Today he continues to research the benefits of vegetative systems and provides pro-bono consultation to developers and municipalities.

Term: January 1, 2021 - June 30, 2023


Ex-officio Members

Amy Chomowicz is a governance policy analyst for the newly-formed Project Management Office (PMO).  During her 25-year tenure with BES, Amy has held several different positions which combined technical and policy work with program management.  Amy started at BES at the grant manager for a $10 million EPA grant for watershed restoration.  She has managed several programs such as the Columbia Slough Watershed program, the city’s Ecoroof Program and the Stormwater Stewards Tree Team.

These programs were public-facing and focused on providing services to multiple types of populations in Portland using an equity lens.  Amy has served on many bureau committees including the PEER program and the Committee for Equity and Diversity.  Amy also has a background in energy conservation and electric utility experience. 

Outside of work, Amy volunteers with Friends of Trees, and she is on the board of the Green Roof information Think-tank, a small non-profit that provides education about sustainable stormwater management.  Amy has a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science from the University of New Hampshire, and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Washington. 

Term: July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022


Arielle Bradford is currently an Environmental Technician II at the Bureau of Environmental Services. Her experience spans stormwater and wastewater service portfolios in step with real-world work, and she brings a broad range of experience in environmental science, water quality, and ecosystem restoration work. Arielle has a strong passion for equity, diversity, and inclusion. Her knowledge and experience managing the intersection of community engagement, water quality, regulatory compliance, revenue, and operations and maintenance strategies will add value to topics presented at PUB, and empower her to bring PUB greater awareness of the needs and experiences of our employees and customers, particularly Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. Arielle’s passion and values center on serving the Portland community with a transparent lens and focus on clean and affordable water resources for all Portlanders.

Term: July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022


Sarah Messier is a Water Quality Information Program Coordinator at the Portland Water Bureau.

Sarah has worked in the Water Quality Information group at PWB since 2014. Her work includes managing the outreach and education components of the Lead Hazard Reduction Program, producing the annual Drinking Water Quality Report and other water quality communication materials, preparing for emergency communication events, and increasing native language and disability access to water quality information. She is also a member of the bureau’s Outreach Committee. Sarah has a Bachelor of Science in Marine and Freshwater Biology and a Masters of Science in Marine Resource Management.

Outside of work, you can find Sarah exploring nature with her family, baking with her two young kids, tending her houseplants, and reading as much as she can.

Term: July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022