Vázquez hits ground running in position mayor wants to make permanent

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Daniel Vazquez, who is Beaverton's cultural inclusion coordinator, speaks during an assembly at Cedar Park Middle School on Tuesday, where students from Ohtsuchi High School in Japan shared their tsunami experiences.When Daniel Vázquez recently updated the Beaverton City Council on his activities since being named the city’s first cultural inclusion coordinator, the meetings and projects he shared barely scratch the surface of what he’s involved himself with since he started on Oct. 22.

The nearly 20-page rundown of meetings, forums, one-on-one conversations, workshops and training sessions he succinctly summarized on Feb. 19 show the seriousness with which he takes his role of engaging a range of citizens in dialogue.

“I’ve been doing a lot of outreach and relationship-building with ethnic community leaders,” he acknowledged on Monday. “So much of the work is not only just establishing those relationships, but developing them. It takes time for people to get to know you.”

The city hired Vázquez last fall to a temporary, one-year position in Mayor Denny Doyle’s office. Based on what he’s seen so far, Doyle made it clear to Vázquez and the council that he favors making the one-year appointment a permanent city position.

“From my perspective, you’re doing great work,” Doyle told Vázquez at the Feb. 19 council meeting, noting, “If you look at the report, you’ll see Daniel has not been at his desk much.”

A 2013 work plan Vázquez laid out includes goals such as proactive outreach and engagement with Beaverton’s ethnic minority populations, enhancing opportunities for minorities to serve on local boards and commissions, coming up with a Diversity and Equity Inclusion Action Plan for the city, and continuing collaborative dialogue with city departments, including police, community and economic development and human resources.

Of his early projects, Vázquez is particularly enthused about a collaboration with Portland State University he feels could provide a significant boost toward the city’s goals to establish an ongoing culture of dialogue, outreach and community inclusion. The university’s Center for Public Service chose to work with Beaverton out of six Oregon municipalities that applied to participate in the six-month project.

“The Center for Public Service will do an ‘innovation lab’ that will work to help build a framework on how to (practice) more effective outreach with ethnic minorities in Beaverton,” Vázquez said.

The project will include listening forums, from which input and concerns from ethnic minority communities will be heard. Information from the forums will be incorporated into an awareness and education program to help citizens from ethnic minorities become more involved with the city’s various neighborhood action committees, committees and advisory boards.

Scheduled for May 16 and 18 at a location and time to be announced, the two initial listening forums will include PSU students and professors along with city staff members.

“We’ll have a good team of people here working on the project,” Vázquez said. “I’m just excited for it. I have great respect for the work that PSU does. I hope it will be the first stage of many projects that may even lead to the composition of a citywide diversity and equity inclusion plan.”

A native of Mexico who moved with his family to Hood River when he was 10, Vázquez — who is fluent in six languages — served as the community advocate for the city of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights before taking on his role in Beaverton. He is paid $28.88 per hour, an increase from the $27.77 rate city officials reported in October.

“It’s not a 40-hour-a-week job, I’ll tell you that much,” he said. “There are a lot of late evenings and weekends. But I don’t mind the work. So far, so good.”

For more information, call Vázquez at 503-526-2503 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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