Gresham City Councilor Vince Jones-Dixon announced his candidacy today for District 4 of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, representing Gresham and east county.
Jones-Dixon, 34, seeks to succeed Commissioner Lori Stegmann, who is term-limited from running again. In his day job, Jones-Dixon works in the funeral industry. His experience with the deaths of a friend and family members motivated his community activism and entrance into politics. In 2013, his brother, Andreas Jones-Dixon, was shot to death in Rockwood. A decade later, another of his brothers was shot to death and a close childhood friend was killed in a hit-and-run on Naito Parkway last year.
Jones-Dixon says he’s running because he wants to help the county respond more effectively to houselessness, the drug crisis, and the need for timely emergency response.
“The systems people depend on are falling apart,” he tells WW. “I see a need for strong representation from east county to help things get better.”
As a Gresham city councilor, Jones-Dixon worked to get more resources for the Gresham Fire Department and fostered support for the city’s police, including the development of a behavioral health unit.
Jones-Dixon says he hopes to focus Multnomah County on outcomes and accountability. “If I’m elected, I will relentlessly challenge the status quo,” he says.
Multnomah County voters have never elected a Black man to their board. Two Black women, former Commissioner Loretta Smith and the late Gladys McCoy, both won election. When then-Chair Gladys McCoy died in office in April 1993, her designated successor Hank Miggins, who was Black, served through August 1993, when Bev Stein won election to succeed McCoy.
Jones-Dixon has some experience with firsts: Last year, he and his friend, the photographer Ivan McClellan, organized Portland’s first-ever Black rodeo as part of a Juneteenth celebration.
“We planned it in less than eight months,” Jones-Dixon said of the event, which drew 2,000 people to the Expo Center. He enters the race with a slew of endorsements from east county lawmakers, including state Reps. Ricki Ruiz (D-Gresham) and Zach Hudson (D-Troutdale) and state Sen. Chris Gorsek (D-Gesham), who say he’ll bring the same level of energy and creativity to the county board.
“No candidate in this race will better understand or represent east county residents than Vince Jones-Dixon,” Ruiz said.