BikePortland

East Portland nonprofit leader Duncan Hwang has launched a run for Metro Council


Duncan Hwang photographed by Maddie Maschger.

Duncan Hwang wants to be a Metro Councilor. Hwang, who’s currently the interim co-executive director of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), has launched a campaign to represent Metro District 6, which covers wide swaths of southwest and southeast Portland, and a section of northeast. This seat was formerly held by Bob Stacey, who stepped down last week due to health problems.

On his campaign site, Hwang touts “bringing… crosswalks to my community” as one of the reasons he deserves your vote. “I’m running for Metro Council because I intimately understand the ways our regional government can empower frontline communities to solve our overlapping problems,” Hwang said in a statement released Tuesday.

Current Metro district map.

Hwang’s name might sound familiar to BikePortland readers. In March of this year we ran a statement from him about a spate of anti-Asian hate and bias incidents. And in May 2020 we shared his views about open streets.

Hwang has also been a strong voice for safer street designs and infrastructure investments in east Portland and the Jade District, which is where most of his focus with APANO has been during his eight-year tenure with the organization. In 2017, Hwang spoke at a PBOT meeting (held at APANO’s headquarters on SE 82nd and Division) where the city came to apologize for a spate of recent pedestrian deaths and outline a plan to improve safety. He was also part of a coalition that successfully pressured the legislature to invest $80 million into 82nd Avenue as part of a transfer from state to city ownership.

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A number of notable regional leaders and elected officials have already thrown their weight behind Hwang, including: Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, Portland Commissioners Carmen Rubio and Jo Ann Hardesty, State Representative Khanh Pham, and others.

Hwang is the first candidate to declare his intention for District 6, but his path to get there will be unprecedented, and a bit convoluted. That’s because now through early December, Metro Council will draw new district boundaries, a process they’ve decided to take up before appointing a new representative from District 6. Metro Public Affairs Specialist Nick Christensen told us the reason council is doing the redistricting process first is because it will allow other members of council to be unencumbered by where a sitting councilor lives when drawing boundaries.

Also in December, council will open the official application period for District 6 hopefuls. They plan to appoint someone to in Stacey’s former seat through the end of 2022 by January 13th. Then in May 2022 there will be a primary election for the final two years of Stacey’s term (2023-2024), and if no candidate gets over 50% of the vote, it will go over to the general election in November 2022.

Hwang’s candidacy comes a month after another east Portland community organizer and nonprofit leader, Ashton Simpson, declared his candidacy for Metro District 1.

Learn more about Hwang at DuncanForMetro.com.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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