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Some openly LGBTQ people who have held appointed
or other high level non-elected public office in Oregon

By George T. Nicola
Last updated June 29, 2014

If you see any inaccuracy here, or if you have additions to make, please notify us at info@glapn.org. Any indication of a person's LGBT identity will need to be verified by an authoritative source, usually on the public Internet.

By "openly" LGBT, I usually mean a publicly accessible or published indication by that person that he or she identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender

 

Kendall Clawson

Identifies as lesbian. Kendall was appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber to be Director of Executive Appointments in January 2011. Shortly after that, Kendall was also appointed to a secondary role as the Governor’s Arts and Culture Policy Advisor. Previous to taking the state job, Kendall was Executive Director of Portland Q Center. Q Center’s library has since been named for her. (http://www.glapn.org/6029KendallClawson.html) In August of 2014, Governor Kitzhaber promoted Kendall to his Deputy Chief of Staff for Community Engagement. (http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-32068-gov_john_kitzhaber_names_kendall_clawson_deputy_chief_of_staff.html)

Given her current position, Kendall is probably one of Oregon’s most influential African American women.

 

Kendall Clawson

Fred Neal

Identifies as a gay man. Fred has held various government positions in Oregon over a 32-year period, including Manager, Elections Division under the Oregon Secretary of State from 1995 to 2006; Deputy Legislative Counsel for the Oregon Legislature; Executive Director of the State Court Finance Action Committee; and Legal Counsel for the League of Oregon Cities. 

Christine Tanner

Identifies as lesbian.  She is currently Interim Dean for Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing, Portland Campus. 

Christine Tanner

Vailey Oehlke

Identifies as lesbian.  She was appointed Director, Multnomah County Library in 2009.

Valley Oehlke

Erin Janssens

Identifies as lesbian. She was hired by Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard in 2012 to be Portland Fire Chief. 

Erin Janssens

Keeston Lowery

Identified a gay man.  Keeston was a staff member to Portland City Commissioner Mike Lindberg.  Because he was openly and proudly gay, he became a role model for other gay men and women who became active in public life.  One of the people influenced by him was Sam Adams, later to be Portland’s first gay mayor.  Keeston passed away in 1993.

Keeston Lowery

Peter Livingston

Identifies as a gay man.  Between 1995 and 1998, Peter was a member of the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals

Peter Livingston

Barry Pack

Identifies as a gay man.  Starting in late 2012, he is Senior Policy Advisor at State of Oregon - Office of the Chief Operating.  Barry was Oregon’s Deputy Secretary of State from 2008 to 2012.

Barry Pack

Judge Kemp

Identifies as a gay man.  “Judge” is his first name and not his title.  In 2011, Judge was appointed by Governor Kitzhaber for a position on the Governor’s Commission on Black Affairs.  Judge had to resign from that position in late 2012 because he was hired as Executive Appointments Assistant for the State of Oregon

Judge Kemp

James Van Dyke

Identifies as a gay man.  Appointed by then Portland Mayor Sam Adams in 2012 to be City Attorney for Portland

James Van Dyke

Carole Smith

Identifies as lesbian. Appointed to be Superintendent of Portland Public Schools in 2007. 

Carole Smith

Gail Shibley

Identifies as lesbian.  In 2012, Gail was selected by newly elected Portland Mayor Charlie Hales to be his chief of staff.     

Gail Shibley

Sasha Buchert

Identifies as a transgender woman.  In 2012, Governor John Kitzhaber appointed Sasha to a position on the Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board. Sasha is a longtime LGBT rights activist and was employed by Basic Rights Oregon.  In 2013, Sasha left Oregon to take a position with the Transgender Law Center in California.

Sasha Buchert

Simone Neall

Identifies as a transgender woman.  She is currently a member of the State Construction Contractors Board.

Simone Neill

Michael J. McShane

Identifies as a gay man. He was nominated by President Obama and approved by the U.S. Senate to serve as a United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. He took office in May, 2013. He was openly gay when nominated.

Michael McShane

Ismoon Maria Hunter-Morton

Identifies as a bisexual woman. In April of 2013, Ismoon was appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber to be a member of the Trustees of the State Library. She resigned that position in late 2014, when she moved out of state.

Ismoon Maria Hunter-Morton

Shelly Casteel

Identifies as lesbian. In February, 2014, Shelly was appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber to a four year term on the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board.

Shelly Casteel

Holly Hart

Identifies as lesbian. Holly was appointed in 1976 as Chair of Governor Robert Straub's Task Force on Sexual Preference

Holly Hart

Jerry Weller

Identifies as a gay man. Jerry was appointed by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners to the position of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission in 1978.

Jerry Weller

Virginia Linder

Identifies as lesbian. Oregon Assistant Attorney General in the Appellate Division (1980-1983); Oregon Attorney-in-Charge of the Education Section, General Counsel Division (1983 -1984); Oregon Assistant Solicitor General (1984-1986); Oregon Solicitor General (1986-1997).
This article covers only appointed office. For Virginia’s subsequent judicial career, please see http://glapn.org/6014OregonLGBTElected.html.

Virginia Linder

Donna Henderson

Identifies as lesbian. Donna was a 24-year veteran of the Police Bureau and commander of the Detective Division in 2013 when she was promoted to Assistant Chief of Investigations. (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/433248) Donna is also Chair, Alliance for Safe Communities (ASC), which had previously been called the Sexual Minority Roundtable. “The group discusses bias crimes and is a liaison mainly between the PPB and LGBTQ community, but invites any interested community member to attend its meetings.” Donna stated in a 2013 meeting that she is a lesbian, adding that she been supported by the Portland Police Bureau in her career and is “really coming along.” (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/oehr/article/448864)

Donna Henderson

Geoffrey Wren

Identifies as a gay man. In September 2005, Geoffrey was hired by the Workers’ Compensation
Board Chair for a position as Administrative Law Judge for the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board.
(From October 2014 emails Geoff sent me and from https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?
id=177835012&authType=NAME_SEARCH&authToken= leST&locale=en_US&
srchid=984734581412547747158&srchindex=1&srchtotal=32&trk =vsrp_people_res_photo&trkInfo
=VSRPsearchId%3A984734581412547747158%2CVSRPtargetId %3A177835012%2CVSRPcmpt%3Aprimary
)
Geoffrey Wren

Elizabeth L. Perris

Identifies as a lesbian. On April 1, 1984, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals appointed Elizabeth L. Perris U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Oregon. She served in that position until January 2015. Judge Perris was out to most of her colleagues from the beginning and she says that none of them made an issue of it. Judge Perris was a member of the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit from 1988-1993 and from 1998-2005. The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for Ninth Circuit hears appeals from nine western states. Judge Perris was a member of the United States Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules from 2007-2014. As part of her Committee responsibilities, she served as the Chairperson of the Forms Subcommittee and Forms Modernization Project which oversaw modernizing national bankruptcy forms. She served as Chairperson of the Bankruptcy Judges’ Education Committee and board member of the Federal Judicial Center. In the process, she helped educate new bankruptcy judges from throughout the country. Judge Perris was a judicial mediator in many bankruptcy matters, including the chapter 9 cases filed by the cities of Detroit, Stockton, Mammoth Lakes, and Vallejo. (Information provided in an email from her spouse Beverly Schnabel on February 18, 2015.)

Liz Perris
   

 

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