After criticisms that Mayor Ted Wheeler has failed to move aggressively toward building affordable housing, Wheeler today announced the addition of a senior policy adviser for housing.
The mayor initially hired a policy director, Alma Flores, who was charged with overseeing housing — an issue that was central to the mayoral campaign. But Flores returned to a previous job in March. Since then, the work has fallen to lower-level staffers who didn't have experience in housing.
Cupid Alexander started today. His hiring addresses the lack of experience. He previously worked for the Portland Housing Bureau.
But the hiring won't speed up the city's decisions about spending the $258 million in bond money approved by voters last November. Spending won't move forward for at least another six weeks. The mayor still plans to bring a framework for how to spend the bond money to City Council on Oct. 11.
Release from the mayor's office:
Mayor Wheeler Adds Staff to Tackle Key Priorities Cupid Alexander will focus on housing, Elisabeth Perez will focus on emergency communications PORTLAND, OR – Mayor Ted Wheeler announced today that he has appointed two new members of his staff to tackle key priorities. Cupid Alexander has been named Senior Policy Advisor, focusing on housing initiatives. He began August 22nd. Elisabeth Perez has been named Policy Advisor, focusing on emergency management, emergency communications, and Smart Cities. She began June 10th. “This administration has ambitious affordable housing goals, and a responsibility to improve emergency communications,” said Wheeler. “Cupid and Elisabeth bring a wealth of education and experience to their new roles and will help us get the job done.” Additional information on Cupid and Elisabeth follows: Cupid Alexander Prior to accepting the position within Mayor Wheelers staff, Cupid had been working as a Senior Housing Policy Analyst with the Portland housing bureau (PHB) after joining the bureau in 2015. As a member of the Policy team, Cupid has overseen the development and implementation of the Bureau’s North/Northeast Housing Preference Policy, worked as the bureau’s district liaison to Northeast Portland, and worked to help develop and staff both the Stakeholder Advisory Board and the Bond Oversight Committee associated with the General Obligation Bond. Prior to joining PHB, Cupid had worked for the Department of Housing Services of Washington County from 2003-2015. Cupid earned his high school diploma from Portland’s Wilson High School, his Bachelors in business from Warner Pacific College, and both his Graduated Certificate in Real Estate Development and his Executive Masters in Public Administration from Portland State University. In addition to his work experience, Cupid has a vested his interests in volunteerism and bettering the city of Portland. He has served as a board member of The ReBuilding Center, and the Trail Blazers “Make It Better” foundation Professional Board. He currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, and the President of the Urban League of Portland’s Young Professional’s Chapter. Elisabeth Perez Elisabeth Perez recently graduated from Tulane University with an M.S. in Disaster Resilience Leadership. As a Changemaker at the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking, Elisabeth received The Victor C. Alvarez Spark Innovation Award as initial funding to start the MyNew Orleans Photo Project in 2016. The project aims to increase awareness and reduce stigma around homelessness in New Orleans. As the project enters its second year, Elisabeth is transitioning to a new role as a board member to build leadership and development capacity as the organization grows. In addition, she recently served as the Logistics Coordinator on the executive committee of the annual Building Resilience Workshop (BRW). Her work with BRW brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to discuss resilience issues related to housing, coastal deterioration, art, and water management. Her professional experience in strategic planning, training, and education has served as an ideal background for her work in the field of resilience. Elisabeth hopes to transfer her skills working with both marginalized groups and disaster professionals to make communities more resilient through engagement, training, and community informed and data driven decision-making.