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About the Portland Utility Board

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

Dory Robinson (Co-chair) is passionate about restorative justice and building resilient communities in Portland. Her goal on the PUB is to support and create initiatives that lead to cleaner water and affordability measures within BES, PWB & City Council that center the social and economic needs of Black, Indigenous and Communities of Color.

Term: July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2021

Co-chair Term: July 1,  2019 - June 30, 2021

Karen Williams (Co-chair) brings a broad range of training and experience in hydrogeology, watershed planning and water quality. After several years as an environmental geologist and project manager, she came to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and worked with watershed councils, local governments and other stakeholders to measure and improve stream quality.  She is currently a Policy Analyst at DEQ, working with air quality regulations and pollution reduction strategies. With a master’s degree in public administration, she brings a strong research and analytical background as well as an appreciation of challenges in public agency budgeting. Through volunteer participation in other boards and organizations, she brings skills in facilitating meetings and public engagement.

Term: July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2021

Co-chair Term: January 1, 2021-June 30, 2021

Gabriela Saldaña-López is the Bus Riders Unite 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. Her current work supports improving public transit through grassroots organizing.

Term: July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2022

Heidi Bullock is an environmental program manager with the Port of Portland who is working with a team on cleaning up the Portland Harbor in a way that is protective of the health of Portlanders and the environment and affordable for the region. Heidi has worked in the environmental industry for over twenty years serving in a variety of technical and management roles. As a scientist she has experience with site investigations, feasibility studies, remedial design and operations, and laboratory analysis work. She also has experience managing both projects and staff. Her project management experience includes project scoping, proposal and budget preparation, project/team coordination, and technical report preparation and review. Heidi also has executive management experience serving as the Portland Business Unit Manager for an environmental engineering consulting firm for three years before joining the Port of Portland. Heidi believes that everyone has the right to clean air and water and values her work in protecting and preserving those resources. Heidi holds a B.S. in Applied Biology from Utah State University and an M.S. in Hydrology from the University of Idaho.

Term: July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2021

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

Kaliska Day 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

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

Robert Martineau is a Water Operations Mechanic at the Portland Water Bureau. He also serves as the President of AFSCME Local 189, where he chairs the Policy Committee. Rob attended all of the meetings of the Utility Oversight Blue Ribbon Commission and brings knowledge and experience as a front-line operator of Portland’s drinking water system.

Term: July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2021

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, 2020 - June 30, 2021

Brian Laurent serves as the Environmental Specialist for the MS4 and TMDL regulatory programs that manage the City’s compliance with federal and state requirements to protect and enhance water quality in stormwater and surface waters. He joined BES in 2006 and his experience includes program/project management, industrial permitting, monitoring, investigations, enforcements, data systems, organizational development, process improvement, public speaking and the BES PEER Program. His prior experience in private consulting includes technical work specializing in assessment and restoration of surface water environments and precision surveying for industrial and manufacturing customers. He is a graduate of the Environmental Studies and Geography programs at UCSB and as a resident of Portland, has volunteered with the North Portland Soccer Club and the SMART Reader Program.

Term: July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021 (Prior term - July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020)

Sara Petrocine is the Legislative Affairs Coordinator for the Portland Water Bureau, where she administers the bureau’s state and federal legislative programs. She has nearly fourteen years of experience in policy analysis, policy making, project management, and intergovernmental relations, including representing the bureau in statewide forums, such as the League of Oregon Cities Water/Wastewater Policy Committee. Sara joined PWB in 2012 after serving over six years as a Policy Advisor in City Hall for Commissioner Leonard and has extensive experience working with diverse groups of stakeholders on a wide range of issues across the city. Recently, Sara served three years as an officer of the Oregon Water Utility Council, a statewide committee that monitors and engages in legislation, regulations, public policies, and court actions that could impact water providers.

Term: July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021 (Prior term - July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020)