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Duncan Hwang, a leader of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon nonprofit, seeks to fill regional government spot vacated by former Councilor Bob Stacey.

COURTESY PHOTO: MADDIE MASCHGER - Duncan Hwang is seeking appointment to the Metro Council position representing Southwest and Southeast Portland. A vacancy on the regional government council has attracted a prominent suitor.

Duncan Hwang — currently the interim co-executive director for the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon — hopes to get the nod for the District 6 seat on the Metro Council, which is up for grabs after former Councilor Bob Stacey resigned Oct. 15 due to health reasons.

District 6 encompasses Southwest and Southeast Portland, plus a sliver of the northeast — stretching from Interstate 405 to Barbur Boulevard on the westside and bounded by Interstate 84, 122nd Avenue and Johnson Creek on the other side of the river.

"The Portland region needs immediate action on homelessness, housing affordability and climate," Hwang said. "I'm running for Metro Council because I intimately understand the ways our regional government can empower frontline communities to solve our overlapping problems."

His campaign priorities include economic recovery, climate and environmental justice and a "humane, effective and rapid response to homelessness."

Hwang, who has held a leadership position with APANO for eight years, grew up in an immigrant family in Michigan's upper peninsula, where his mother opened one of the area's first Chinese restaurants, according to his campaign.

"Interactions with government were often confusing and disempowering, which instilled a strong value of bringing in underrepresented voices to public spaces," his campaign noted.

The 40-year-old says he earned a bachelor's in political science and Asian studies at the University of Michigan before moving to Portland and attaining a law degree from Lewis & Clark College in 2007. He briefly worked for an international law firm helping plan the 2008 Beijing Olympic games before returning to Portland, where he lives a few blocks off 82nd Avenue with his wife, Lisa, and their dog, Data, according to the campaign.

At APANO, Hwang says he successfully advocated for the massive upgrade planned for 82nd Avenue and brought "investments in affordable housing, safer streets, and economic development for entrepreneurs in the Jade District," per a news release.

Hwang has also lined up a coterie of elected officials backing his appointment to the Metro Council, including Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, state Sens. Kayse Jama and Michael Dembrow and state Rep. Andrea Valderrama, all Portland area Democrats.

"Our region urgently needs leadership deeply connected to our frontline communities who will uplift their voices and make sure government works for all of us. I'm proud to endorse Duncan for Metro Council," said City Commissioner Carmen Rubio.

"District 6 needs an experienced leader like Duncan to address the critical needs of our region," added State Rep. Khanh Pham.

The Metro Council is tentatively scheduled to appoint Stacey's replacement in January.


Zane Sparling
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