New Faces Elected To Portland, Salem-Keizer School Boards

By Elizabeth Miller (OPB)
Portland, Ore. May 22, 2019 5 p.m.

There will be a few new faces at board meetings in Portland and Salem-Keizer next year.

Andrew Scott, Michelle DePass, and Eilidh Lowery will join incumbent Amy Kohnstamm on the Portland Public Schools board of directors.

Eilidh Lowery, parent and United Methodist pastor, is one of the Portland's new school board members.

Eilidh Lowery, parent and United Methodist pastor, is one of the Portland's new school board members.

Elizabeth Miller / OPB

All three are PPS parents with varying roles in the community. Scott is deputy chief operating officer for the Metro regional government.

DePass works for the City of Portland’s housing bureau as community engagement and policy coordinator.

And Lowery serves as a United Methodist pastor.

DePass says she decided to run after reading the Secretary of State's audit on PPS. The report said PPS fails children of color and students from low-income families.

DePass says she’s ready to take on Portland’s achievement gap, and she plans to ask those who supported her to volunteer in schools.

“I feel like I have this tremendous support community,” DePass said. “They’ve helped me get into office and now they need to help me help these kids learn how to read.”

Turnout in Multnomah County was 14.82%.

Latino Candidates Lose Out In Salem-Keizer


Related: Candidates Run To Be 1st Latinos On Salem-Keizer School Board

Opponents of Raul Marquez and David Salinas were picked in the race for two Salem-Keizer school board seats.

Incumbent Marty Heyen beat Marquez by eight percentage points. Psychiatrist Satya Chandragiri was leading Tuesday night over David Salinas, 52% to 48%.

Marquez and Salinas ran to be Salem-Keizer’s first Latino board member in a district that is more than 40% Hispanic/Latino.

Chandragiri ran on a platform around mental health and suicide prevention, feeling called to run after the suicides of several Sprague High School students.

“We need to have very robust teen suicide prevention,” said Chandragiri.

But the mental health resources aren’t just for teens, he said.

“Positive mental health is really essential for learning,” said Chandragiri. “If a child is going through a depression, anxiety, struggling with early substance use, or is in the midst of very adverse experiences, it’s almost impossible — a child loses hope due to depression."

Chandragiri’s platform also focuses on addressing teacher burnout and making schools safe spaces for children impacted by trauma.

In a third Salem-Keizer race, newcomer Danielle Bethell defeated incumbent Chuck Lee with 53% of the vote compared to his 46%.

Bethell is an SKSD parent and executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce who has made community engagement a large part of her message. She also advocates for more classroom control for teachers.

Lee has served on the board for 12 years.

17.95% of eligible voters cast ballots in Marion County.

New board members will start work in July.