Board Stories

A deeper look at how and why our board members chose to serve

We asked the members of the Cherriots Board of Directors to share how they came to serve on the board. These are their stories:

I’m proud to serve on the Cherriots Board because when my family and I first came to Oregon, as political refugees, our first access to transportation was through public transit. It was how we began our new lives; arriving in America with nothing but our hope for a brighter future, clothes on our backs, and empty hands. Without access to public transit, we would not have been able to access healthcare, education, or the multiple jobs my parents had to provide for us. The diverse community served by transit is why I do this volunteer work.

Our metropolitan area is well positioned to prepare for the substantial population growth projected in the coming decades. Thanks to the transit funding increase included in the Oregon Transportation Package (HB 2017), and the transition of the board from directly elected to governor-appointed (SB 1536), we have the potential to realize dramatic changes in mobility options. These changes give the transit district and city the opportunity to leverage state money in both sensible and creative ways, establishing a firm trajectory for the future.

In the trio of Oregon’s biggest cities: Portland, Eugene, and Salem; Salem lags behind in public transportation infrastructure and investment. A well-implemented public transportation system can inspire investment and development, spark the community’s imagination, and garner broad support.

I want to create a place where my children want to raise families. Our future starts now.

The reason I serve on the Cherriots board, and why I had wanted to serve, was because I find it important to participate in the public sector, especially as a person of color. Transit systems can be the life-blood of our cities and are an integral part of how people decide to move about. Transit systems connect people to their jobs, their errands, and other community members. During a time when undocumented people were denied a license to drive, a bus ride could be the difference between being able to arrive to work on time or losing their livelihoods.

I serve on the Cherriots Board to do my part to ensure we have a livable community--a Mid-Willamette Valley region that is affordable, sustainable, and equitable. Public transit, particularly in this time of crisis, is an essential part of our community well being. Whether you ride or not, we all benefit from transit, from the cleaner air to the clearer streets.

As a public servant, my calling is to foster a robust public transit system with a network of mobility options to meet the needs of our diverse communities. Increasing mobility options for all, creates a great value for our community for generations to come.

I believe there is more I can do to serve the communities of the Mid-Willamette Valley as a member of the Cherriots Board of Directors. Communities with robust public transit systems not only grow, they thrive.

We are operating in a climate with tremendous support, investment and participation from our local, state, and federal partners. This support and a new source of funding positions us to transform public transit in the Mid-Willamette Valley.