Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is a volunteer group.  It includes Admin Staff and members of our partner organization, NAYA. You are welcome to join us at Committee meetings.

If you would like to send us a question, please contact us.


Laura Young, District Manager at Cully Blvd Alliance

As District Manager, Laura implements the Cully community’s vision for an equitable and prosperous future for all community members under the direction of the CBA Steering Committee. The District Manager and CBA Steering Committee engage key stakeholders in intentional and directed discussion around the scope and directives of the CBA’s Strategic Plan, work with community partners to identify and evaluate opportunities to collaborate within the Cully neighborhood and identify additional resources to better support Cully businesses and the community and increase employment opportunities for residents with an intentional focus on strengthening services and opportunities available to low-income residents, particularly within communities of color.

Laura Young

A native Portlander, Laura has witnessed the effects of decades of housing inequity; forced displacement, disinvestment, and peripheralization of low-income communities from central city neighborhoods. As a result, she has long been an advocate for equitable public transit, transportation infrastructure and housing policies and strategies for lower-income communities of Portland. Laura moved to the Cully neighborhood in 2004 and is an active volunteer in the community. Laura served as Land Use Chair for the Cully Association of Neighbors from 2011 to 2015 and became Chair of the Board since 2015. Laura actively engages in community economic development and transportation systems development advocacy and previously spent more than a decade in global logistics program management in Portland’s industrial and manufacturing sectors. Laura received her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Portland State University where she co-authored a business case for a monolithic extruded structure that she and her partners successfully patented in February 2012.

Tony DeFalco, Deputy Director at Verde

Tony DeFalco is Deputy Director at Verde, a Portland, Oregon-based non-profit working to build environmental wealth in low-income communities. His expertise in community economic development, environmental protection and sustainability spans 20 years of working locally and nationally in environmental advocacy, coalition building and policy advocacy. Current efforts include redevelopment of a 25-acre landfill into a park, leading Living Cully, a collaborative anti-displacement effort designed to reinterpret sustainability as an anti-poverty strategy and operation of commercial landscaping and general contractor social enterprises.

Tony Defalco

He is a founding board member of the Center for Diversity and the Environment and serves as a trustee of Earthjustice. He also serves on the Port of Portland’s Citizen Advisory Committee and the Portland Development Commission’s Neighborhood Economic Development Council. Tony holds a master’s degree in Natural Resources Planning from Humboldt State University and a bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Tony is an avid birdwatcher and leads Feathers of Color, a birding group for people of color. He lives in Portland with his partner Molly.

Oscar Arana, Community Development Director at NAYA

Oscar Arana has 10+ years of experience working in Portland’s premier, culturally-specific nonprofit organizations overseeing education and economic development programs, as well as raising restricted and unrestricted funds. He is currently the Community Development Director at the Native American Youth and Family Center, where he previously served as the Development and Communications Director and Education Manager. As the Director of Community Development, he oversees small business technical assistance programs, community engagement, leadership development, homeownership, affordable housing services, and other asset building programs.

Oscar Arana

Oscar has also worked for Oregon’s Senior US Senator Ron Wyden as his Multnomah County Field Director, and as the President of the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector, Oscar was a television news producer in Central Washington and a print reporter in Mexico City at the Associated Press. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon’s Executive MBA program and Journalism School and is currently a member of the UO Alumni Association Board. Oscar is also a member of the Bridge Meadows board and was appointed by Governor Brown to serve on the Oregon Health Policy Board in 2016.

John Wasiutynski, Office of Sustainability Director at Multnomah County

John Wasiutynski is the Multnomah County Office of Sustainability Director. The Office of Sustainability works with County Departments and the community to promote programs and policies that lead to a more equitable, prosperous, and environmentally sound Multnomah County. Under John’s leadership the Office of Sustainability has updated the joint City of Portland and Multnomah County Climate Action Plan, launched a clean energy finance program called PropertyFit Oregon, advocated for stronger air quality regulations, and worked with the Board of County Commissioners to set the ambitious goal of transitioning the County to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Prior to John’s current role as Director, he served as a Senior Policy Analyst and Resource Conservation Coordinator for Multnomah County. John has also worked as a watershed planner for the city of Washington DC, and cleaning and greening community gardens in underserved neighborhoods in New York City with the New York Restoration Project. He has his Bachelors of Science from Fordham University and a Master’s of Public Administration from American University. John, his partner Lara and one-year-old son live in NE Portland. John and Lara are both active members of their community. John is the advisory committee chair for the Cully Boulevard Alliance, a neighborhood prosperity project sponsored by Prosper Portland, and former treasurer for the Cully Neighborhood Association.

Rey España, retired (former Community Economic Director at NAYA)

Rey España, NAYA, retired (2017), is the former Community Economic Director for NAYA Family Center, has over 43 years of experience in community development projects including affordable housing acquisitions and development, neighborhood economic development initiatives, education, and mitigation of displacement through home repair and weatherization of low income housing. He was also the lead on NAYA’s prosperity and wealth creation initiative focusing on innovative social enterprise development. Mr. España served as the Project Lead for the NAYA Family Center on the NAYA Generations Project a 40 unit inter-generational housing project that opened in January 2017. Upon his arrival at the NAYA Family Center in 2004, he began work on developing the foundation for an educational program to address the abysmal rate of Native American and other children of color dropouts within the greater Portland metropolitan area.  In September 2007, NAYA Family Center opened the NAYA Early College Academy serving grades 9-12; and to date, we have graduated over 200 youth and continues to provide a culturally relevant education to over 100 youth annually.  Since 2006, under Mr. España’s guidance, his team directly assists community members in housing counseling and financial wellness; over 150 families/individuals have worked with our team to become successful homeowners. In February 2008, Mr. España negotiated the acquisition of 44 units of affordable housing for the urban Native community. Additionally, under Mr. España’s leadership, the Kah San Chako Haws (east house) project in Lents was developed bringing innovative technology modular construction to provide low-income affordable multi-family housing to Oregon leasing nine units to community members in April 2013.

Mr. España was an active leader and advocate in the City’s Neighborhood Economic Development policy arena that led to the creation and implementation of the neighborhood prosperity initiative. He strongly endorsed neighborhood economic development that is firmly based on progressive social justice values and principles, through equity-based economic opportunity and strategies. He is a founding member of the Cully Boulevard Alliance. He additionally has served on the City’s neighborhood economic development leadership group. He was the primary driver in growing the capacity of the organization and developing long-term assets, employment and training, small business-micro enterprise development programming, and opportunities for the urban Native community, communities of color and low-income community members through neighborhood community-driven initiatives.

Tonda McFerrian, Owner at Tondalayera Designers Salon

Longtime Cully neighborhood resident and business owner of Todalayera Designers Salon.


Are you interested in working on the Steering Committee?  Tell us about yourself below:

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