President Joe Biden has chosen the Portland Bureau of Transportation's equity and inclusion manager Irene Marion to lead the Departmental Office of Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Transportation. She's one of three Portland transportation leaders Biden appointed to federal jobs this week.
Marion has served as PBOT's equity and inclusion manager since 2018 and has led efforts to address racism within the city's transportation system. Her work will be done on a national scale now, enforcing civil rights and racial justice.
"Her career path included a diversity of roles in the nonprofit, philanthropy and government sectors, including the U.S. Student Association, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Congressional Black Caucus, Coalition for a Livable Future in Portland and the Funders Committee for Civic Participation," said a PBOT press release.
During her time with the bureau, Marion worked to include more Black voices in the conversation around safety and infrastructure. She's also emphasized the importance of understanding the city's history of gentrification that has deeply impacted and disadvantaged Portland's Black population.
"I offer a heartfelt congratulations to Irene on this opportunity for her to grow her pursuit of racial justice at the national level, and I look forward to working with a federal government that will be a partner with the City of Portland," said City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees PBOT.
Maurice Henderson, former PBOT assistant director, was appointed by President Biden to be DOT's senior adviser. Henderson previously served as chief of staff for Mayor Ted Wheeler.
Dani Simons is another Portland transportation expert appointed to DOT as assistant to the secretary and director of public affairs. Simons helped launch Portland's bike share program with the contractor Motivate.
Hardesty says, "This is an excellent appointment by the Biden-Harris administration and sends a positive signal that they are serious about dismantling systemic racism in our federal policies and programs."