Meet the Team
Policy and Communications Director
Blanca Gaytan Farfan
Blanca (she/her/ella) has a deep passion for building power with marginalized communities by combining leadership development, civic education, and advocacy tools. She brings a strong community and relationship focused framework and experience in issue-based and electoral campaign organizing. Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Blanca immigrated at the age of five to Gresham, Oregon. She is a first-generation college graduate, graduating from Warner Pacific University with a B.A. in History and double minor in Political Science and Sociology. In her free time, Blanca enjoys spending quality time with family and friends, reading at coffee shops, and going on nature walks.
Education and Program Director
Amanda (she/her) leads educational programming, project design, and implementation. Amanda came to participatory budgeting through her research as a Ph.D. Candidate in Urban Studies at Portland State University. Learning how PB emerged from radical democracy and popular education movements in the Global South, she became passionate about how it can redistribute knowledge and power to create community-led change. She has a vision for PB as the first step in transforming our local democracies into spaces where ordinary people can exercise their civic & and political agency to access systemic power. In addition to being PB Oregon's brain trust on PB implementation, Amanda is our certified fun expert. She views fun, games, and art as strategic tools for dismantling embedded power hierarchies. She employs a playful approach as an intentional tool to enable participants to bring their full selves to participate. She lives in SE Portland and in her free time can be found planning a game night, passionately discussing fantasy literature, or watching entirely too much TV.
Internal Operations Director
Jim (he/him) assists with administration, government affairs, strategic partnerships, and project development. He grew up in Oregon with a life-long passion for activating municipal and regional democracy for people and the planet. He got his start serving on the Multnomah Youth Commission in 1985. Since then his work has broadly focused on community-based organizing and advocacy around natural resource conservation in Oregon. Jim has research interests and professional publications that span history, regional equity, urban forestry, and watershed science and management.
Assistant Program Director
Ty (he/him) works on participatory budgeting implementation and organizational development. He received a B.S. in Political Science with a focus on public service and a Minor in civic leadership from PSU. He is working on his Master's in Public Administration with a focus on local government. Ty has a deep commitment to dismantling systems of oppression and working alongside communities to push for a democracy that works for everyone and allows us to practice self-governance. Previously, Ty worked as a community organizer in Cape Town, South Africa on issues like gentrification, food sovereignty, agroecology, and land rights.
Assistant Operations Director
Maria Gabrielle Sipin
Maria Gabrielle (they/she) helps with communications and organizational development. She is a transportation planner and public health professional whose goals for her government and nonprofit work are sustainable communities and racial justice. She applies her lived experiences in Manila, Los Angeles, and Portland—from her sports fandom, queerness, and immigrant status—to her advocacy, planning, and relationships in Oregon and beyond.
Previous Steering Committee Member
Jonathan (he/him) is a Native Hawaiian living in Portland. He is currently a community partnership coordinator and community information specialist. His background is in environmental education, providing engaging facilitation to diverse audiences, coordinating events, grant writing, and grant management. His lived experience of environmental stewardship through Indigenous ecological practices frames his understanding of participatory budgeting. He sees the potential for PB to reorient our perspectives on land use and public spaces, to realize climate justice goals for all. His research interests include traditional ecological knowledge, decolonizing data, and community organizing. At PBO, he is working on building an equitable organization and building program capacities.
Board of Directors
Eddy (he/him) has grown up in Oregon since age 6. He attended the University of Oregon. He has served as Vice President and President of the United States Student Association (USSA) giving voice to students across the country in the White House, Congress, and the Department of Education. A small business owner and community organizer, Eddy spent the last 18 years working for multiple national organizations dedicated to community change. His work proved successful, allowing him to collaborate with policymakers from around the country and give back to the community that has given him so much. In November 2018, Eddy was elected to a four-year term for Gresham City Council Position 2 and sworn into office on January 8, 2019.
Gayle (she/her) is an East Portland resident and civic activist currently pursuing community engagement at the neighborhood level. Gayle is a Board Member of the Centennial Community Association and is a member of the East Portland Action Plan committee, where she focuses on Economic Development and Operations Sub-Committee assignments. Since moving to Oregon in 2014, as a retired Librarian and Digital Collections Consultant, Gayle has spent her time as a free-lance grant writer and instructor in fundraising and grant writing with several regional colleges. She spends as much time as possible with her grandchildren and enjoys discovering Portland area music and food venues.
Isabela (she/her) is a queer Latina youth advocate and educator. She received a BA in Community Development from Portland State University and currently works as the Policy and Communications Director at the youth civic engagement non-profit Next Up. Her experiences have instilled in her the power of intersectional youth organizing in bringing about political transformation in most impacted communities.
Maria Gabrielle Sipin
Bryan was born in Portland and has been working to empower communities since he was thirteen years old. He served on the Multnomah Youth Commission for nine years and was a Commissioner serving on the Executive Board of the Commission on Children, Families and Community of Multnomah County as well as serving on the Executive Committee of Take the Time. As a student, Bryan led campus organizing campaigns. He is a member of the NAACP Portland, Oregon chapter, a Precinct Committee Person for the Multnomah County Democratic Party and is President for the national nonprofit Community Rights US. Bryan is a former union organizer with SEIU local 503 and 49; a member of Communication Workers of American, local 7901; and member of the National Popular Vote Oregon. Bryan’s interests center on how new and emerging social movements can collaborate for a more just and peaceful world.
Linn Davis (he/him) is a Program Manager at Healthy Democracy (HD). HD is best known for designing and facilitating the Citizens' Initiative Review (CIR) which convenes random, representative groups of voters to evaluate ballot measures and produce balanced, informative, and accessible voter information. Panels of everyday folks question advocates and experts, and then write a statement on the most important information for voters to know – which is typically printed in the voters' pamphlet. The Oregon legislature made the CIR an official part of the state's election process in 2011. Linn also manages HD's other process design and implementation work including emerging work in bringing random, representative policy deliberations (known as citizen juries) to the local government and high school levels. He holds a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University and a BA in History from Grinnell College.
The amazing Amy Nguyen (she/her) currently serves as Public Space Management Program Development Supervisor, Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). She brings an enormous depth and breadth of experience and knowledge as a public servant and a practitioner of participatory budgeting. From Spring of 2017 to Summer 2019 she served as the Civic Engagement & Leadership Development Strategic Lead for Department of Neighborhoods (DON) where she managed Seattle's participatory budgeting program. Beyond that, her experience in policy analysis, nonprofit management and community organizing spans New York City, New Orleans and Seattle. Amy served as a Legislative Aide for a Seattle City Council member and a Program Manager for Seattle-based APACE (Asian Pacific Islander Americans of Civic Empowerment). Amy received a Master's degree in Urban Policy and an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from the New School in New York.