A Champion for East Portland
The Heart of an Advocate
My name is Candace Avalos, en español es Candis Ávalos, my pronouns are she/her/ella, and I am a first generation “Blacktina,” a daughter of Black Americans from southern Virginia and Guatemalan immigrants who immigrated to Washington, D.C. in the 1970s. The experiences of my multiracial family and their unique history in our society has shaped my justice-centered values. After gaining their U.S. citizenship, I watched my mom and grandparents cast their ballots religiously in every election cycle, seeking leaders who were honorable, and could work to create a society that allowed families to succeed and access economic mobility. These roots are what sparked my interest in government and politics at an early age. I became interested in government accountability, which led me down a long path of service in student government and leadership, inspiring my first career as an educator. After finishing my Masters of Education at James Madison University, I moved to the west coast and chose to call Portland home.
“I feel blessed to live in a vibrant city full of opportunities. This is a driving force for why I feel motivated to be a part of its growth and success as East Portland’s champion on Portland City Council."
I worked at Portland State University for 8 years providing civic engagement and leadership education to student leaders. I am a product of the many mentors who nurtured my voice and my leadership, and I have continued that passion by helping the next generation of leaders find their voice. Fueled by my efforts to plug into our local government and advocate for my community, I joined a number of government committees and transitioned into my current career as the Executive Director of Verde, a nonprofit that brings environmental investments to Portland’s neighborhoods. While at the helm of Verde, I have overseen an impactful organization actively correcting historic injustices to low-income and people of color communities on the frontlines of climate change.
I have served on a variety of city commissions, including the Citizen Review Committee where I have fought for increased transparency and accountability in law enforcement, as well as the Charter Review Committee where I worked with the community to modernize and strengthen Portland’s form of government. I have also worked directly with city officials, agencies, and programs and have witnessed the ways in which our City is not meeting its full potential. These experiences have given me the heart of an advocate, the skills of an executive leader, and the vision for a city that truly works for all Portlanders. Over the past decade I have dedicated myself to Portland by being a solutions-oriented leader who brings people together to find a path forward for our city’s many challenges.
When I’m not busy advocating for Portlanders by serving on various boards, commissions, and coalitions, I spend my free time trying new recipes, decorating my island on Animal Crossing, playing kickball, and continuing my quest to visit every Portland park by the end of 2024 (there are over 200! I’ve been to 22 so far). My grumpy 12-year-old cat Valentino is my biggest critic and supporter. My friends are an important part of my life and mental health, so I make sure to connect with them by watching movies, going out dancing, or having homemade taco night at least a few times a month—in addition to the daily group chats and sending memes for levity! I am surrounded by love and I give that love back to my community as an advocate for change.