Centro Cultural official seeks Metro seat
Juan Carlos Gonzalez, who works at Centro Cultural de Washington County, has declared for the Metro Council seat being vacated by Kathryn Harrington in District 4.
Gonzalez, 25, is a 2011 graduate of Forest Grove High School who joined Centro Cultural after he earned a bachelor's degree from Georgetown University in 2015.
He has already amassed a number of endorsements, including one from Harrington, who is completing her third and final term on the council and is running for Washington County board chairwoman.
"I have dedicated my life to giving back to the community that raised me and I have been privileged to work on efforts that strengthen the fabric of our county," said Gonzalez, who is director of development and communications at Centro Cultural, based in Cornelius.
"Metro is uniquely positioned to assure a positive future for all residents in our region. I am genuinely excited to tackle our region's most challenging problems, and am committed to collaborative solutions that will continue to make the Portland Metro area the great place we love."
Gonzalez also was a Portland-based intern for U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, and a Washington-based policy and advocacy intern for Mercy Corps. He also spent a couple of months as a microfinance consultant in India.
Metro District 4 covers northern and western Washington County, including northwest Beaverton, Forest Grove, Cornelius and Hillsboro.
"With his strong connections and experience working with the local community, I am proud to be supporting Juan Carlos' candidacy for Metro," Harrington said in a statement. "I am confident that he will continue the work we need by standing up for our natural environment and making Metro more responsive to the people it serves."
Among other endorsers are Hillsboro City Councilor Kyle Allen, former Councilor Olga Acuña, Hillsboro School Board member Erika Lopez, and state Reps. Susan McLain of Forest Grove — a former Metro councilor — and Janeen Sollman of Hillsboro.
Metro has a range of functions in the three Portland area counties, among them regional parks and nature areas, the Oregon Zoo, regional land use and transportation planning, and solid waste and recycling, and visitor venues such as the Oregon Convention Center, Expo Center and Portland 5 Centers for the Arts.
So far the race has drawn one other potential candidate, Dana Carstensen, a former Oregon Zoo employee who seeks to qualify for the ballot by petition. He will have to submit 500 valid signatures by the filing deadline March 6.
In addition to District 4, the Metro presidency and the District 2 seat are being vacated by incumbents.
All the nonpartisan positions are up in the May 15 primary.