I have been fortunate to work with Emily Figdor, as a member of the advisory committee of Protect Our Neighborhood Schools, and also in the capacity of co-chairing the Reiche School PTO with her. In my experience, Emily is smart, passionate and a principled leader.

The grassroots movement to fix our four rundown Portland elementary schools was stalled for nearly 20 years, with parents and interested community members working to the best of their capacity to bring needed renovations to the city’s attention. However, these efforts never made it past the City Council, despite the work of ad hoc committees, paid comprehensive architectural studies, meetings with councilors, tours of the schools and so much more.

It was not until Emily brought her leadership capacity to this issue that we gained ground and finally got the issue on the ballot. This is not because of any agenda pushing on her part: The desire of people to fix the schools had been there for decades. What Emily brought was the ability to organize the will and desire of people that had long been squashed despite exhaustive effort.

On behalf of all the dedicated people over the years who have worked for equity and safety in our schools, I thank Emily Figdor for helping to bring years of effort to fruition.

Joanna Frankel

Portland