Meet the Mayor's Team

Kristin Dennis

Chief of Staff

CURRENT ROLE:  Chief of Staff

PAST:  Former Policy Director and then Chief of Staff for Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. Legislative Assistant to Oregon State Senator Richard Devlin. Law Clerk for Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost. Legal Intern at San Diego Unified School District. Elected to the Lake Oswego City Council at the age of 22 from 2007 to 2010, and served as Council President in 2010. Special Projects Manager at Denton Plastics, Inc. Member of the Oregon State Bar, law degree from University of San Diego School of Law, Managing Editor of San Diego Journal of Climate and Energy Law.

Blue Line

Herico Aiten

Constituent Services Specialist

PAST: Constituent Services and Administrative Support Specialist for the Office of City Commissioner Nick Fish. B.S in Social Science from Portland State University and a graduate from Reynolds High School.

CURRENT: Constituent Services Specialist for the mayor and provides Administrative Support for the Office of Violence Prevention

Cupid Alexander

Director of Strategic Initiatives

CURRENT ROLE:  Policy development, engagement, oversight and implementation around housing, economic development and community involvement.

PAST:  Portland Housing Bureau as a Senior Policy Analyst; Washington County Department of housing services as a program administrator of the shelter plus care program and occupancy specialist. Currently serves as National Association of Housing Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Pacific Northwest Regional Council Vice President, and President of the Urban League of Portland’s Young Professionals and Board Member. Recent Recipient of NAHRO’s National Emerging Leader award (2018). Executive Masters In Public Administration- Portland State University, Graduate Degree in Real Estate development – Portland State University, Bachelors In Business.

Seraphie Allen

Senior Policy Advisor

CURRENT ROLE: I advise the Mayor on policy related to human services, housing, cannabis, and education policy issues. I also serve as the Mayor’s liaison for issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community. 

PAST:  B.A. in English and Gender Studies from Lewis & Clark College.

Tim Becker

Public Information Officer

CURRENT ROLE:  Public Information Officer. I assist with handling and responding to media inquiries, external messaging and serve as a spokesperson for Mayor Ted Wheeler.

PAST:  Public Information Officer/Media Relations Specialist at TriMet. Emmy award winning reporter and anchor at KOIN-TV News, KPTV-TV News, KOMO-TV News, KSTU-TV News, KDRV TV News. I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA with a major in Communications and a minor in East Asian studies.

Aja Blair

Operations Manager and Executive Assistant to the Mayor

CURRENT ROLE: I serve as the Mayor’s Executive Assistant and Operations Manager, and I support the Communications Team with social media content. 

PAST:  Administrator at Mayapur Academy in West Bengal, India. Scheduler and Office Manager to Commissioner Nick Fish. B.A. in Arts & Letters from Portland State University

Julia Comnes

Communications Specialist

CURRENT ROLE: I assist with the Mayor’s communications team. 

PAST: Most recently I was Communications and Constituent Relations Coordinator for the office of Commissioner Nick Fish. Before that, I worked as a reporter for the Pamplin Media paper the Woodburn Independent and was an editorial intern at Willamette Week. I have a B.S. in journalism from the University of Oregon and am a graduate of Grant High School.

Samuel Diaz

Senior Policy Advisor

CURRENT ROLE: I help the Mayor's office connect with community, business, and nonprofit partners to help build our City back better. I help coordinate the Mayor's COVID-19 recovery and resiliency efforts and serve as a liaison to the Portland Housing Bureau (along with Tia Williams). 

PAST:  Developed, managed, and implemented community engagement strategies for 1000 Friends of Oregon to help pass Portland Metro’s Climate Smart Strategy, broaden and diversify the number of Oregonians participating in land use issues through the Land Use Leadership Initiative, and create public awareness and support for critical investments. Served Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. in California, focusing on strategies to create equitable and sustainable communities and adapt to impacts related to climate change. Served as Program Manager for a conservation philanthropy, focusing on environmental issues in the American West. 

Sierra Ellis

Constituent Services Specialist

CURRENT ROLE:  As a Constituent Service Specialist, I have the opportunity to communicate with Portland community members and hear from them directly about their needs. I also provide support to policy staff and work on community engagement efforts.             

PAST:  Resource Protection Program Assistant at the Portland Water Bureau, served as a State Intern at Senator Jeff Merkley’s Office, B.S. In Geography and a minor in Geographic Information Systems at Portland State University (Completion – September 2019).

Nicole Grant

Director of Policy

CURRENT ROLE:  I guide and manage the Mayor’s team of Senior Policy Advisors, Policy Advisors, and Policy Interns, playing a lead role in the development and implementation of the Mayor’s policy agenda.

PAST:  Senior Policy Advisor for Office of Mayor Ted Wheeler. Office of Mayor Charlie Hales (Policy Analyst). Columbia Law School (J.D.), Yale University (B.A.) 

Nike Greene

Director, Office of Youth Violence Prevention

CURRENT ROLE: Director, Office of Youth Violence Prevention

PAST: Director of Education and Community Engagement for Portland’5 Metro, Family & Community Engagement Coordinator-Roosevelt High School PPS, current Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Current Roosevelt High Girls Basketball Coach

Jim Middaugh

Director of Communications

CURRENT ROLE: Director of Communications

PAST: Communications director for Metro. Capital projects managers for Portland Parks and Recreation. Chief of staff to former Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten. City of Portland Science, Fish and Wildlife Division manager. Press director for the Environmental Defense Fund. Press secretary for U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio and Jim Weaver. BS in Journalism from the University of Oregon.

Zach Kearl

Policy Advisor

CURRENT ROLE:  I am a Hatfield Resident Fellow serving as a policy advisor on homelessness and urban camping impact programs.

PAST:  I am returning to the Portland Metro area after obtaining my M.P.A. from Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Robert King

Senior Policy Advisor

CURRENT ROLE:  Senior Public Safety Advisor

PAST:  After 27 years in the Portland Police Bureau, I retired in 2018 as Commander of North Precinct. Over the course of my career, I worked with community members and law enforcement colleagues to create a space for encouraging diverse groups of people to navigate their differences and work together. I worked on a variety of assignments throughout my career including serving as a patrol officer, SERT officer, detective, patrol supervisor, and as PPA President. After an eight month-long retirement, I returned to public service as a safety officer for the Bureau of Development Services. I graduated from Portland State University.

Asena Lawrence

Senior Policy Advisor

CURRENT ROLE: I serve as the project manager to the Mayor’s 19-point action plan. I am also the liaison to the City's Tribal Director and am the Mayor's lead on public utility issues.  

PAST: Senior Policy Director to Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish; longtime member of Commissioner Fish's Council office team (2014-2020). M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University.

Matthew Palmer


CURRENT: LGBT+ Community Engagement Intern

PAST: Legislative Assistant to Senator Gelser. Field Organizer for Team Oregon PAC. Graduated from the University of Iowa with a dual B.A. in Political Science and Ethics & Public Policy.

Tom Peavey

Policy Manager, Office of Youth Violence Prevention

CURRENT ROLE:  Policy Manager, Office of Youth Violence Prevention

PAST:  City of Portland; Police Bureau (1973 – 2004), Office of Neighborhood Involvement (2004 – 2006), Office of Youth Violence Prevention (2006 – current). Washington State University, Bachelor’s of Science, Police Science Administration. 

Allison S. Prasad, Ph.D.

Policy Manager, Office of Violence Prevention

CURRENT ROLE: Policy Manager, Office of Violence Prevention

PAST: People & Culture Analyst, Engagement Specialist, and Affirmative Action Aide within the Office of Management & Finance. Created the City of Portland’s Core Values: Anti-Racism, Equity, Transparency, Communication, Collaboration, and Fiscal Responsibility. B.A. in Ethnic Studies from the University of Oregon, M.A. in Educational Policy and Leadership: Diversity Studies from The Ohio State University, and Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning: Multicultural and Equity Studies in Education from The Ohio State University. 

Sonia Schmanski

Deputy Chief of Staff

CURRENT ROLE:  Deputy Chief of Staff

PAST:  Chief of Staff to Commissioner Nick Fish 2015-2020, longtime member of Commissioner Fish’s Council office team. Northeast Portland native, Grant High School General, and proud Boston University Terrier.

Adam Thompson

Videographer / Web Content Manager

CURRENT ROLE:  I tell visual stories that showcase how the Mayor’s values and policies impact the community.

PAST:  Photojournalist at KOIN here in Portland. Photojournalist at KOLD in Tucson, AZ. Photojournalist at KDRV in Medford, OR.  A.A.S. – Television Production Technology – Mt. Hood Community College (2003)

Angela Tran

Business Operations Liaison

CURRENT ROLE: Business Operations Liaison to the Mayor’s Office.  Administrative Supervisor to the CAO’s Office, Business Operations Team. 

PAST:  Sr. Administrative Specialist at BOEC (Bureau of Emergency Communications). Executive Assistant/After School Program Coordinator at The International School.  Owner of My Brother’s Crawfish restaurant (current).

Khanh Tran

Policy Advisor

CURRENT ROLE: I support the Mayor’s Economic Impact Task Force and am a liaison with Prosper Portland.

PAST:  U.S. Army. B.A. in Sustainable Urban Development from University of Washington.

Mustafa Washington

Strategic Initiatives Manager

CURRENT ROLE:  I assist in implementing the Mayor’s legislative agenda, and manage policy staff projects.

PAST:  Executive Assistant to Mayor Charlie Hales. Warner Pacific University Masters of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership

Amanda Watson

Senior Policy Advisor

CURRENT: I serve as the Mayor’s point on climate and sustainability policy and as liaison to the Office of Management and Finance.

PAST: I previously served as a Program Coordinator at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and as a Policy Advisor for the Office of Mayor Ted Wheeler. My past experience focused on human rights, including at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and National Endowment for Democracy. Harvard Kennedy School (MPP), Georgetown University (BSFS).

Tia Williams

Senior Policy Advisor

CURRENT ROLE:  I help coordinate the Mayor's housing and transportation policies and am a liaison with the Portland Housing Bureau. I also oversee and manage City Council meetings and am the Mayor’s lead on conversations about reinvestment.

PAST:  Office of Multnomah Commissioner Vega Pederson (Policy Director), Office of Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman (Policy Director), Oregon State Legislature, Boys and Girls Club. Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and Media Studies from Willamette University.