Former City Council candidate Andrea Valderrama left her policy job in Mayor Ted Wheeler's office last month. She is now advocacy director at the racial justice nonprofit Coalition of Communities of Color.

At least half a dozen staffers, including Valderrama, have left the mayor's office in recent months. The turnover comes after Wheeler appointed his third chief of staff in as many years, Kristin Dennis, in February.

"My work has always been guided through a people first philosophy," Valderrama said in a statement from Coalition of Communities of Color last month. "People should come before policy, and policy should not come before the people. I look forward to joining the team at CCC and to improving outcomes for communities of color with communities of color."

Valderrama worked for former City Commissioner Steve Novick before joining Wheeler's staff. She is also board chair of the David Douglas School Board.

She ran unsuccessfully for Portland City Council last year in a packed field. The seat was won by Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.