Metro Council appointed Duncan Hwang, co-director of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), to the council’s vacant seat Tuesday.
Hwang is filling the District 6 seat previously occupied by Bob Stacey, who resigned from his position midterm amid growing health issues. Stacey’s seat, which covers a significant portion of south Portland, has been vacant since October 15. Hwang will serve in the position until January 2023.
“It is my great honor to accept this appointment and immediately begin work serving my constituents at our regional government,” Hwang said in a press release. “Our region urgently needs solutions to address our overlapping crisis of homelessness, affordable housing and climate action, and I’m eager to work with Metro to prioritize the immediate action our region deserves.”
In addition to directing APANO for eight years, Hwang has served on both Metro and City of Portland affordable housing committees. Hwang was also involved in the creation of the Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF), an eco-energy fund run by and for communities of color who are most impacted by climate change, and recent safety investments in 82nd Avenue.
Over a dozen public officials including Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, and Oregon Representative Khanh Pham endorsed Hwang for the role. Hardesty cited Hwang’s existing community relationships and experience as one of the reasons for her endorsement.
“[Hwang is] already embedded in east Portland, which is a community that has lacked representation on a political level for way too long,” Hardesty said. “I have had the privilege of working with Duncan over a lot of issues since 2013. I have found him to be a very thoughtful and courageous leader.”
Coalition of Communities of Color Executive Director Marcus Mundy commented in support of Hwang ahead of the vote, saying Hwang has a “nimble mind, listening ear, and a service heart.” Hwang was also endorsed by former seat-holder Bob Stacey.
While five candidates applied for the council position, just Hwang and career conservationist Terri Preeg Riggsby were nominated by Metro Councilors and placed on the ballot. Five councilors voted in favor of Hwang and one voted for Preeg Riggsby.
Hwang will take an oath of office Wednesday, January 12, and join the Metro Council meeting Thursday, January 13.
Metro will hold a formal election in May 2022 for a councilor to serve the remaining two years of Stacey’s appointment, which ends in 2024. Hwang said he plans to run for the full term. Three other Metro Council seats—District 1 covering east Portland, District 2 representing southwest Portland and parts of Clackamas County, and District 4 covering Washington County—will also be open in the May primaries.