Ashton Simpson, executive director of the advocacy group Oregon Walks, announced today he will run for the Metro Council District 1 seat, which represents east Multnomah County.
“I’m running for Metro because I want to help move our community forward—for everyone,” said Simpson. “I have a proven track record of bringing people together, solving pressing issues all with a focus on equity. As east county is growing larger and more diverse, I will ensure we invest and lift up this community, especially for underserved residents.”
Simpson, a retired Air Force technician, previously served in the Air Force and worked at the Rosewood Initiative, an east county nonprofit. He ran for the Oregon House in 2020 in District 47, finishing third behind incumbent Rep. Diego Hernandez and Republican Ryan Gardner.
Incumbent District 1 Councillor Shirley Craddick will be finishing her third term and is prohibited from running again. Simpson is seeking to be only the second Black man to serve on the Metro Council (Ed Washington, who served from 1991 to 2001, is the first) and the first from east county.
At the Rosewood Initiative and Oregon Walks, Simpson has made transportation safety a top priority. Oregon Walks earlier this year produced a comprehensive study of Portland pedestrian deaths over the past three years, many of them in the geographic area Simpson hopes to represent. He was part of a group of advocates that helped secure $185 million in funding for safety improvements on 82nd Avenue and has served on a variety of transportation committees.
“Ashton is a transformative leader,” said state Rep. Khanh Pham. “His vision for safe and walkable communities, transit-oriented development, and expanding access to parks is exactly the kind of leadership that East Portland and east county need on Metro Council.”