Two longtime African American community members won election in local school board races Tuesday with the preliminary results showing Michelle DePass being the successful candidate for Portland Public School Board, Zone 2 and Tiffani Penson winning a seat on the Portland Community College Board of Directors, representing north and northeast Portland and Columbia County.
DePass—who works for Portland’s Housing Bureau--pulled in 66 percent of the vote while her opponent, Shanice Clarke, another African American woman and an educator, netted 29 percent. Carlos Jermaine Richard, also vying for the position, garnered four percent of the more than 62,000 votes cast.
DePass’ win marks the first time in over 10 years at least one black member of the community will be represented on the seven-member Portland School Board when the district begins its new fiscal year in July. Andrew Scott, Eilidh Lowery, and Amy Kohnstamm—the only person to return for another term—also secured seats on Portland Public School Board, the unofficial results said.
Tiffani Penson--also a city worker--garnered 86 percent of the 20,600 total votes for the Portland Community College Board of Directors for Zone 2 while her opponent, Leonardo Kendall, a Portland State University student, garnered almost 13 percent. Michael Sonnleitner also secured a seat on the board for Zone 3.
Numerous other school district positions were also on the ballot, which saw a statewide turnout of nearly 15 percent—or 500,000 of Oregon’s nearly 2.8 million eligible voters--according to the Secretary of State’s website as of Tuesday.