About the Portland Utility Board

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Basic information about the purpose and current board members.
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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

Robin Castro (Chair) is a working-class East Portland renter with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies. She is an essential worker, union member and Steward for UFCW Local 555 bringing knowledge from 15 years of experience in customer service and small business management. Robin comes from a long line of hard-working people who have experienced economic hardship causing them to miss a utility bill payment from time to time! She hopes to merge her lived experience and her educational background to provide economic and environmental justice for her community.

Term: January 1, 2021 - June 30, 2026

Co-Chair Term: January 1, 2023- December 31, 2024

Alexis Rife works in the environmental non-profit sector, primarily on natural resource management . Her work is largely focused on understanding the dynamics of complex, intersecting systems that shape fisheries, especially working closely with coastal communities in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Alexis brings much experience in facilitating collaborative processes, designing and applying participatory processes, and ensuring that voices of all stakeholders are involved in decision-making. She holds a firm commitment to advancing equity and environmental justice in our world and is especially interested in access to information. Alexis volunteers with a range of local organizations, especially those in North Portland. 

Term: July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2025

Bob Sallinger has 30-years of experience working on conservation issues in the Portland Metro Area and across the state of Oregon. His areas of focus are habitat protection and restoration, green infrastructure, access to nature, and biodiversity. Much of his work has focused on urban conservation and he is passionate about creating green sustainable, equitable urban landscapes where everybody is able to enjoy the environmental, social, economic and health benefits of a healthy landscape and where wildlife is able to coexist. He has served on numerous public committees including the Portland Parks Board, as an elected Director at the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District, on the Bureau of Environmental Services stakeholder committee that developed the Portland Watershed Management Plan and on multiple budget committees for Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, Portland Parks and Recreation and the Portland Bureau of Planning. He has worked for the Audubon Society of Portland for 30-years and currently serves as their director of conservation. Earlier in his career, he ran Portland Audubon's Wildlife Rehabilitation Center where he oversaw the treatment of more than 40,000 injured wild animals. He has a degree in biology from Reed College and a law degree with an environmental certificate from Lewis and Clark Law School.  He lives with his family in NE Portland with an assortment of dogs, goats, chickens and pigeons.

Term: July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2025

Christopher Richard (Chris) is an Accountant II in the Bureau of Environmental Services and a member of AFSCME Local 189. Chris has been with the BES since 2008 and joined the City shortly after Portland converted to SAP. He has years of experience as a super user with the system in the private sector. Additionally, Chris has over 25 years of Accounting experience in both the private sector as well as public/ government sector with Accounting, Purchasing & Procurement. Chris lives in Portland with his husband John, dog Honey. He enjoys reading and all things sci-fi and fantasy.

Term: July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2025

Heather Day-Melgar is an environmental social scientist, and holds an MS in geography, and a BA in psychology. Her research interests revolve around the urban ecosystem, climate change mitigation, environmental justice, and sustainable green infrastructure, as well as the space between climate policy and on the ground action. She is interested in ensuring that Portland is using equitable, ecologically informed practices to rehabilitate urban natures for human, and more than human life. She currently works in Vancouver doing ecosystem restoration and urban forestry. From her previous career, she has 13 years of experience as a social worker, working with vulnerable and at-risk populations. She has many years of experience as a leader in grassroots community activism for social justice. Heather has interests in policy around climate change mitigation and urban development, and feels the PUB is a great way to serve her community and learn more about local policy and decision making. She volunteers with the local nonprofits Solve and Friends of Trees. In her spare time, Heather enjoys hiking, nature photography, foraging, gardening, yoga, and playing ukelele.

Term: July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2025

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, 2026

Karen Williams 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, 2025

Former Co-chair Term: July 1, 2021-June 30, 2023

Lorraine Wilson is an immigrant from the beautiful twin island state of Trinidad and Tobago, who moved to the United States 21+ years ago.  Coming from a family of educators and humanitarians, she resisted the natural path to becoming an educator.  However, over the years she has embraced her natural leaning towards learning, coaching and authentic communication and have continued her calling to speak up and act against injustices and inhumanity.

Her field of study is in Organizational Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Behavior (Culture Change), with a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and BSc. in Business Management (emphasis on Organizational Behavior).

Lorraine’s upbringing was grounded in racial justice and as such she volunteered in various areas to drive those conversations and changes.  She served as a Commissioner on the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs (OCBA) from 2010 -2013 serving as Vice Chair. There she championed racial equity and challenged the state to focus on hate crimes during the “Post Racial” period (2008-2016).  She was a member of the Eugene 4J School District Equity Committee with a focus on closing the achievement/opportunity gap, United Coalition of Color (working on the Disproportionate Minority contact at Lane County Department of Youth Services).  She is also a member of Blacks In Government (BIG) - Eugene/Springfield Branch, having served as the membership chair and National Legislative representative for Region 10.  She is currently serving on the Board of Resolution Northwest. (RNW) and a Board Aunty of Brown Girls Rise. Lorraine also served on the Portland Harbor Community Grant Review Committee and advocated successfully for increased funding for community groups, Children Levy fund reviewer and Oregon Community Fund Grant Reviewer.

Lorraine has facilitated inclusive Strategic Planning with Brown Girls Rise, Co-Facilitated - American Association of University Women (AAUW) Washington Online Branch – Diversity and Inclusion Online Training and as a Board member at RNW, part of the strategic focus on dismantling white supremacy within the organization, and have contributed to conversations challenging the status quo.

What you are guaranteed to get is honest, thoughtful, humane consideration.  Lorraine considers herself a thought leader in dissecting systemic racism and anti-blackness

Term: July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2025

3 Voting Member Vacancies

Ex-officio Members

Joanne Johnson (she/her) has been the Accessibility Analyst on the Water Bureau’s Equity and Policy Team since February 2021. Her current role focuses on policy development and implementing systems to integrate language access and disability access into the way the bureau operates. Previously, she spent five years coordinating the city’s Disability Program and founding Adapt to Impact within the Office of Community and Civic Life.  Here, she developed and facilitated leadership programs and provided citywide guidance on accessibility and conducting more equitable community engagement.

She grew up in Michigan and has lived on both the East and West Coasts. Having worked in both government and non-profit roles, she’s well versed in the challenges and opportunities of each sector. In past roles, she advocated for policy change with nonprofit organizations and governments, developed and facilitated technical and culture-centered trainings, and organized for change. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker and a certified Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator.

Joanne considers her dedication to advancing equitable outcomes and acting in anti-racist, anti-ableist ways as core to who she is, and she enjoys that every new role and place has offered unique ways to bring this dedication to life.

Joanne looks forward to bringing her knowledge of government systems, experience in authentic community engagement, and deep commitment to advancing equity to the Portland Utility Board.

Term: November 1, 2023-October 31, 2024

Joseph Spada (Joe) is a Water Service Inspector II for the Portland Water Bureau. Joe started his journey in public utilities in 2013 at Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative on the Oregon coast. In 2015, he joined the Water Bureau Call Center as a Customer Accounts Specialist I and for the past six years has interacted with customers in the field. His combined experience allows for a broader, more in depth understanding of how the Water Bureau’s customer service operates and interacts internally and externally. Joe feels honored and privileged that he is able to work for the city in which he lives and strives to provide quality, efficient service to Portland’s residents, businesses, and communities.

Outside of work, Joe has previously served as a Chapter chair for his labor union AFSCME 189, and currently serves as a Trustee. In his personal life, on a regular Sunday morning, you can find Joe in his online tutoring sessions learning Romanian so that he can better connect with his wife and in-laws, and make new connections with the Moldovan/Romanian communities here in Portland.

Term: July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2024

Roslyn Gray (BES) joins the Portland Utility Board as an ex-officio member, stream restoration designer, interim team manager, mother of 2, keeper of chickens, citizen of Portland. She believes deeply in public service, government leadership, and environmental stewardship. When solving problems, Roslyn applies the engineering approach of breaking complex challenges into smaller pieces, seeks diverse perspectives, and grounds solutions in reality. She is excited to dive into the work of supporting this next bit of Portland governance together. 

Term: November 1, 2023-October 31, 2024