By Rob Cullivan | CNews Editor
The Concordia Neighborhood Association elected six people to even-numbered positions on its board on Nov. 2, and also chose Kieran Lee as its new chair. Each board member will serve a twoyear term, and Lee will serve one year as chair.
CNews asked each elected official to tell our readers about themselves. Here’s what they had to say.
Kieran Lee lives off Alberta Street and has resided in Concordia for almost two years . Lee works as an automotive engineer at Daimler Trucks, on Swan Island, and has volunteered in youth development with Big City Mountaineers as well as various STEM programs.
A graduate of Virginia Tech, with a bachelor’s degree of science in mechanical engineering, Lee spent the past year serving in the board’s At-Large 4 position. “I am excited about the passion seen at the board level and of our community; that energy motivated me to continue to be an active member of Concordia as chair,” he said.
Lee noted he wants CNA to continue to coordinate community events as well as promote CNews. “As we come out of the pandemic, we also hope to encourage an equitable Concordia that listens and brings all community members together.”
He added that he particularly enjoys living in Concordia for a variety of reasons, including its diversity, accessibility and local business community. “The Guinness at TC O’Leary’s isn’t too bad, either,” he said.
Lee said he will do his best to keep his ears open to Concordia’s concerns. “Please don’t hesitate to reach out or stop and say ‘Hey!’ if you see me walking down the street!”
Patricia M. McMahan was elected to the At Large 2 position and has lived on Northeast 23rd Avenue just off Alberta Street for two years, moving there from Southwest Portland. “I like walking the neighborhoods where the only hill to climb and descend is the Alameda Ridge,” she said. “Most people are friendly, and I like talking to anyone who smiles back. My neighbors on both sides have become my very good friends.”
McMahan taught primary school in California for several years and moved to Oregon in 2004 after her son moved here in 2002. She has served as a docent at the Portland Art Museum and is a member of the European & American Art Council. In 2014, she earned a degree in art practices from Portland State University and has an art studio in her kitchen.
McMahan noted she was inspired to run for the board after attending CNA meetings and getting to know folks. “I really didn’t intend to get so involved, but here I am, and I hope to make a positive contribution.”
Rich Burton was elected to the At Large 4 position and resides with his partner north of Fernhill Park. He has three children as well as five grandchildren and has lived in Concordia for 13 years.
A software/ hardware engineering consultant, Burton attended Purdue University and noted he enjoys skateboarding, photography, playing music and walking around the neighborhood.
“Concordia is a wonderful neighborhood,” Burton said. “People are friendly and have a strong sense of community. Local businesses, like Extracto Coffee Roasters and Wilder Bar, are great for neighborhood interactions. You can find me at Extracto almost every day of the year.”
Burton said he’s particularly interested in how houselessness and land use issues affect Concordia. In addition to serving on the CNA board, Burton is active with Skaters for Portland Parks and is also an artist and speaker for the Portland Winter Light festival, as well as a board member at Portland Community College’s IACUC Committee.
Brittany van der Salm serves as vice chair of the board and was elected to the At Large 6 position. She lives near 23rd Avenue a nd Jarrett Street with her husband, Paul, as well as two dogs and four cats. She’s resided in Concordia since November 2019 and works as a health and human policy consultant for Mercer Government and Human Services. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Reed College and a master’s in social work from Columbia University.
In her second term as a board member, she said she joined the board to become more involved in the community. “Now I’m in it because I’ve seen what a great link CNA can be between local government and our neighborhood, and that we can really add value and fun to our neighborhood,” she said. “I love Concordia!”
She added that the CNA board hosted candidate and city charter reform forums during her term and that she hopes the board will “continue to bring city government to our neighborhood level so that we can have a really democratic process to things.”
The board member said she’s also excited about the University of Oregon locating its new campus in Concordia and hopes this will lead to a mutually beneficial relationship between the school and the neighborhood.
It’s clear from her words that she’s a Concordia booster. “I almost feel guilty with how little I leave the neighborhood, but with spots like Gabbiano’s, our food cart pod, Flour Market, and more, it’s tough,” she said. “We’re also right between Alberta and Fernhill parks, which I think are two of Portland’s best. And of course, there are so many interesting, kind and fun people! I love seeing neighbors and catching up.”
Megan Gobble was elected to represent Southwest 2. Residing on 29th Ave nue a nd Sumner Street, G o b ble a nd her husband, Patrick, have a grown daughter as well as three grandchildren living nearby. Gobble has lived in Portland for 27 years, seven of those in Concordia.
A recently retired nurse and engineer, Gobble serves as secretary of the Columbia River Volkssport Club, a walking group, and is also a landlord. She has worked as a nurse for the VA and has been active in Girl Scouts, Sierra Club, PTA and square dancing. She holds bachelor’s degrees in physical sciences as well as nursing. Her goals as a board member include keeping Concordia diverse, promoting usable alleys and working with local businesses, families, and the University of Oregon.
Gobble said Concordia is noted for its accessibility: “Shopping, dining, entertainment, all can be done without using a car. And the eclectic nature of our streets and houses, 110-plus-year-old bungalows next to modern townhomes, makes it fun to walk and enjoy the view.”
Matt Roberts was elected to the Northwest 2 position. Married with two adult children, Roberts does not live in Concordia but noted that he serves as the University of Oregon’s assistant vice president for community relations, and will gladly answer questions from folks about the new UO campus, located on the grounds of the former Concordia University.
“Essentially, I am the UO’s statewide liaison to local governments, neighborhoods, public agencies and many business and economic development organizations,” he said. “My office also oversees a good portion of the university’s support of external non-profit organizations.”
Roberts said he wanted to serve on the board because, “the University of Oregon would like to be fully engaged in the neighborhood and one of the best ways to learn how we can be helpful and good neighbors is through membership in the Community Association. Being new to the neighborhood, I’m here to learn and offer the university’s expertise in problem solving and convening.”
Astrid Furstner was elected to the East 2 position. She and her husband, Brent, have one daughter and three dogs and live near 36th Avenue and Liberty Street. A resident of Concordia for six years, she is a woodworker, and her husband makes guitars. She said they can often be found at markets around town.
“I am a proud member of the Portland Indigenous Marketplace group of vendors and often participate in many BIPOC events.” A Latina immigrant as well as an indigenous Salvadoran, Furstner said she values diversity in Concordia and hopes to be “a voice for our pocket of the neighborhood in Northeast Concordia.”
When asked what she likes about Concordia, Furstner said her neighbors are “extraordinary,” and “we tend to keep a lookout for each other and have a genuine sense of friendship.”
CNews Editor Rob Cullivan is a veteran journalist, publicist and grant writer who has written about everything from rock ‘n’ roll to religion. He possesses a deep affection for writers and photographers who hit deadline.