Portland Community College Zone 2
Kali Thorne Ladd - NonpartisanFor the state’s biggest institution of learning, Portland Community College maintains a pretty low profile. That’s what happens when you don’t have scandals or a football team (or both, Ducks fans) but instead try to do the hard work of keeping the region’s workers educated, trained and prepared to thrive.
PCC’s enrollment of 93,000—spread across three campuses and seven centers—is four times that of the state’s urban college, Portland State University. And PCC’s region is large: Despite the Portland-centric name, PCC covers portions of five counties (Columbia, Clackamas, Yamhill and Washington in addition to Multnomah).
The demand for PCC’s classes continue to grow, even as its enrollment has burst through the limits in what the state (which provides 35 percent of PCC’s funding) will pay for. Longtime President Preston Pulliams is set to retire, and the college will need strong guidance in serving its increasingly diverse population.
The incumbent in Zone 2, Kali Thorne Ladd, is seeking election in her own right after being appointed to the PCC Board in 2012, after the death of longtime director Harold Williams Sr., who represented Zone 2 (which now covers North and Northeast Portland, and portions of Columbia County) for more than two decades.
Ladd has a deep and impressive record on school issues: She’s been a teacher and Peace Corps volunteer, worked as education services director for then-Mayor Sam Adams, and served as a site manager for Schools Uniting Neighborhoods at King Elementary in Portland. Now she’s launching an early learning center in North Portland.
We found her thoughtful, articulate and insightful. Her opponent, Michael Durrow, is a sincere repeat candidate whose background and experience as a real-estate agent and network engineer can’t match Ladd’s record and considerable promise.