James Ofsink


James Ofsink is passionate about Portland Forward’s emphasis on the BIG ideas for the future of our region. The magnitude of challenges we face on a global and local level require a broad and bold progressive vision and the political will and strategy to see it through. In addition to working at OHSU, James has contributed to numerous organizations including leadership roles in the League of Women Voters of Portland and Oregon, the City Club of Portland, Common Cause Oregon, Hack Oregon, and Portland’s Resistance. 


Lana Caldwell

Vice President

Lana has lived in the PNW all of her 24 years but just recently moved to Portland after graduating from the University of Oregon in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Science and Spanish. She is currently in the midst of applying to Dental School. With only basic political knowledge and no political background, Lana was inspired by grandfather, Bing Sheldon, and is delving into Portland Forward in her free time, learning as much as possible from the mentors so that she can later apply that knowledge and skill set in her future as a dentist and leader in her community. 


Meet our board 

EMma Darden

Emma has devoted the last few years to engaging people in the civic process. Earlier in life she worked on both amp residential and local campaigns and the founding years of the Bus Project. After spending time at home with three young children, she reengaged in 2016, as the co-founder of BerniePDX, for the Bernie Sander's presidential campaign. Since then, she has been involved in campaigns for multiple elections, including issues that Portland Forward has championed.





Audrey Gnich

2017-2018 President

Audrey has been living in Portland, Oregon since 2002 with a degree in Architecture.  She is a long time lover of Urban Planning and is driven by the complexity of how a city comes together in the built environment. While what we see is buildings and roads, we must always keep in mind there is a lot going on behind the scenes to make things look the way they do.  

Audrey is also Director of Marketing and Operations at Gnich Architecture Studio, and mother of two small future change-makers.

Jason Kafoury

Jason works as a lawyer with Kafoury & McDougal to bring justice to the voices that are often unheard and powerless.  He has participated in nearly 50 jury trials. He has more civil trial experience than any other Oregon lawyer of his generation.  He has worked for penalized whistleblowers and low-income tenants, and against credit card companies, and in his spare time he fights more broadly to change our political system for the better.


Julia is a serious veteran of civic engagement and has fought Nestle in the Gorge, Monsanto in our fields, and corporate contributions in politics.  She ran a very close campaign for 2018 Portland City Council, and we are honored to have her with us as we shape and structure our organization for growth and inclusion.

Ron Buel

Founding Board Member

Ron is a 4th generation Oregonian who was raised on a dairy farm in Tillamook.  He has been involved in Portland and Oregon politics for 50 years.  He was the founding Editor and Publisher of Willamette Week newspaper. He ran Neil Goldschmidt's campaign for City Commissioner and served as Commissioner's Assistant then as Executive Assistant in the Mayor's office.  He worked at Nike for 13 years where he served as director of strategic and business planning.  

Jefferson Smith

Founding Board Member

Jefferson was born in Portland and graduated from Grant High, UofO, and Harvard Law School. He started and ran the Oregon Bus Project, which launched legions of star activists, and a national network of democracy groups. He went on to serve in the Oregon House of Representatives and on Governor John Kitzhaber’s transition team. In 2014 he became the Executive Director for the launch of XRAY.FM, Portland’s award-winning nonprofit media startup.  


Currently Vacant


Bing Sheldon

Founder of SERA Architects, a nationally celebrated firm, Bing played an instrumental role in Portland’s downtown renaissance, stressing urban infill, reuse and redevelopment. He believed that we have a moral obligation to actively participate in the civic infrastructure which reflects our community values.


Two years before his death, he searched for ways to leave an impact, knowing his time was limited, and gathered those passionate about urban planning and putting Portland's people, not the developers, in charge of its future.

Favorite quote “Good citizens are the riches of the city.”


  • Led Oregon's largest citizen-driven planning effort to produce the Portland Downtown Plan, to reduce sprawl as Former Chair of the City Planning Commission

  • Assoc. of Realtors First Citizen Award.

  • Founding Board Member of Central City Concern

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