OUR TEAM

Staff

Jess Thompson Executive Director of Oregon Walks

Executive Director

Jess Thompson

Jess Thompson holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell College and a Master’s in Teaching from Portland State University. She has worked as a middle school teacher, teacher coach, and equity consultant. For the past decade, she has worked for housing-related and active transportation nonprofits. She currently serves as the Executive Director at Oregon Walks. She has a daily personal and professional anti-racism practice that includes listening, feeling, reflecting, and changing course as needed. She walks three miles a day and is passionate about creating conditions where all people are truly safe walking and rolling in public spaces.

Izzy Armenta Staff

Transportation Justice and Communications Manager

Izzy Armenta

Izzy joined Oregon Walks as the Transportation Justice Advocate in March 2017. Before joining Oregon Walks he served two AmeriCorps terms with Green Lents, helping them build capacity and leading a livability survey project to better understand livability concerns and ways to address them using the community's voice as the guiding principle. Before he found his way to Portland he was working with different organizations in Los Angeles ranging from voter registration in Spanish-speaking communities, increasing innovative teaching methods, to building school gardens. When he's not working he also serves on the board of Confluence Environmental Center, watches cheesy horror films, and listens to punk records at inappropriately high levels. 

Board Members

Sama Board President

Sama Shagaga, President

Sama joined the Board of Oregon Walks in Summer of 2016. His passion for Oregon Walks comes from working with minority populations with high stakes in walkable streets. In the past, he worked as the Impact and Communications Manager at Community Vision, a non-profit serving individuals and families experiencing Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Currently, he is a project manager with Swaim Strategies. Sama has 10 years of non-profit experience, having previously worked with youth experiencing homelessness at New Avenues for Youth, the YMCA of Greater Seattle, and Roots Shelter. A Portland native, he spends his time wandering Northwest trails with his puppy, experimenting with sub-par batches of wild yeast homebrew, and cheering his hometown teams.

Phil Secretary

Phil Barber, Secretary

Phil Barber- Raised by feminist, environmentalist, labor activists in suburban Washington DC, Phil made his way to Northwest Oregon in 2006 after studying politics and philosophy in Upstate New York. DC's urban landscape raised a walker and a transit rider, and the winding and wintry roads of New York created a car driver. Oregon built a backpacker, a cyclist and a multi-modal transportation enthusiast equally at home on his feet carefully traversing a Wy'east glacier, perched atop a bike saddle hopping MAX tracks, or gleefully dodging potholes on an e-scooter. After 7 years connecting communities and managing volunteers with Sunday Parkways, Phil now looks to redouble his commitments to racial equity, intersectional feminism and transportation justice through Oregon Walks as a future member of the Board.

Bob Kellett Treasurer

Bob Kellett, Treasurer and Plans & Projects Committee Board Liaison

Bob joined the Oregon Walks board in 2017. He is the Board Liaison to the Plans and Projects Committee. He is currently a transportation planner with the Portland Bureau of Transportation. He previously worked as the Active Transportation Coordinator at Portland Community College. Bob has a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from Portland State University and has performed transportation and land use planning work for SE Uplift, TriMet, City of Tigard, and Metro. In the past, he has worked as a grant writer and fundraiser for Portland-area nonprofit organizations including the Community Cycling Center and Mercy Corps. In his time off, Bob enjoys chasing after his two sons, cheering on the Portland Timbers, and writing.

MVIMG_20191206_103943 (2)

Anna Kemper

Having done organizing work in the Pacific Northwest for five years, Anna Kemper’s passions and experience overlap in the arena of affordable housing, climate justice, and transportation justice. By day, she works in the renewable energy industry and volunteers in her free time at Sunrise PDX, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Portland: Neighbors Welcome, and the General Defence committee. She is currently working as the Field Director for Chris Smith's campaign for metro, and brings a youth climate justice perspective to the Oregon Walks board.

Ashton

Ashton Simpson

Ashton Simpson is a former U.S. Air Force Civil Engineering Technician, a graduate of PSU's Community Development undergraduate program, and is currently employed as a Community Asset Director at The Rosewood Initiative. Through all these experiences he has gained insights into transportation systems and how they should work to serve all people. Together those journeys taught him that when a core urban function such as pedestrian transit is thriving, cities and communities are better for it. As a disabled veteran, he has observed many areas of needed improvement in communities across the city and intends to see that the publicly funded projects continue to improve the quality of life for all Oregonians. Ashton is excited about the opportunity to serve on the Board Oregon Walks, with the intent of making life better for everyone; now and into the future.

Brendon Haggerty Board Member

Brendon Haggerty

Brendon Haggerty is a Northwest native, having moved to Portland from Seattle in 2007. As a research analyst for Multnomah County Health Department, Brendon spends his time analyzing the ways that neighborhoods shape health. Trained as an urban planner, he brings expertise in policy and data analysis to his role on the board of Oregon Walks. He also brings the experience of two decades of car-free living, getting around primarily on foot. Board liaison to Fundraising and Plans/Projects Committees

Jasmine Gordovez Board Member

Jasmine Gordovez

Jasmine Gordovez works as the Client Services Coordinator at Community Warehouse. Her work allows her to engage with lots of different families and individuals who live in East Portland and Washington County. She comes to this work bringing her perspective as a parent, a woman of color, and as a daughter whose parents live in East Portland. In her spare time, Jasmine likes to go on long runs, explore different parks with her kiddo and partner, Matt, and start craft projects that she only half finishes. Board liaison to Equity and Communications Committees.

Jed Hafner Board Member

Jed Hafner

Jed Hafner joined the Oregon Walks board in spring 2019. At work, Jed is the Education Coordinator for the OHSU Division of Management, an academic unit of the School of Medicine offering graduate degree programs and customized education in healthcare leadership. Having grown up in rural Oregon, Jed does not take pedestrian infrastructure for granted and is passionate about liveable, walkable streets. He also loves going places by tandem bicycle with his wife, and roasting coffee for himself and friends. Board liaison to Finance and Plans/Projects Committees.

Jorge Cruz Board Member

Jorge Cruz

I live in North Portland, in the Kenton neighborhood, with my amazing family of four children and partner. I grew up in the North and attended all PPS schools; Beach ES, Ockely Green MS and Jefferson HS. I currently work at Metropolitan Family Services in the Community Schools department and oversee all contracts, grants and functions of the department. I have been with MFS close to 10 years and this work has allowed me to work closely with all school districts in East County and establish strong partnership in those communities. I believe in empowering communities who’ve been affected by inequities and poverty by providing and offering opportunities to become self-sustainable. As an Oregon Walks Board Member, I provide my experience and knowledge of working directly with diverse communities in need. I have seen the need for youth and their families to find safer ways to and from their schools in East County.  Board Liaison to Equity Committee.

Marlet Hurst Board Member

Marlet Hurst

Marlet Hurst has lived in Portland most of her life. She graduated from Grambling StateUniversity and returned home to be with family. By living and working in Portland, I have seen a lot of changes. I have also seen what change can do to a community. I work at North by Northeast Community Health Center where we not only provide medical services, we provide a feel safe place for community members to talk. That was something that was needed in the community because one person wants to make a change and people responded. I would like to join Oregon Walks because growing up in the city of Portland I have seen an influx of changes in recent years. Within those changes, the voice of the underserved demographics have been silenced and unheard. I believe having a diverse Board to represent the underserved areas are important. That is something I want to support. If you combine my experience in racial equity leadership, community outreach, event vending, previous board membership, along with my marketing degree and communication skills, I am able to assist the board with communications, marketing and branding of Oregon Walks and bring the voice of the community with the policymakers of tomorrow. Board liaison to Equity and Communications Committees. 

Scott Kocher Board Member

Scott Kocher

Scott Kocher joined the Oregon Walks Board in September 2014. He is a native Oregonian and a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College. He worked as an attorney at Oregon's largest law firm from 2001 to 2006, when he became a partner of Vangelisti Kocher LLP. He established Forum Law Group in 2013. Scott also holds a top rating of 10.0 from the non-paid attorney rating site, avvo.com. Scott served on Portland's Pedestrian Advisory Committee for a number of years, stepping down recently. Scott is the Board Liaison to Oregon Walks' Legislative and Policy Advisory Committee.

Timur Ender Board Member

Timur Ender

Timur Ender has been involved with Oregon Walks in various capacities since 2015 and joined the board in 2019. Timur is passionate about livable streets and worked with Better Block PDX to pilot temporary, low-cost improvements on SW 3rd in Old Town and Better Naito. Ever since Timur successfully infiltrated city government in 2015, he has been working diligently to make Portland’s largest public space, its streets, safer and healthier for everyone. Timur is a 2011 graduate of NC State University and 2015 graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. Timur lives with his family in East Portland and enjoys watching the Thorns, cooking, and playing soccer. Board liaison to Legislative Committee.

Scroll to Top