Reforming PPB: Kathleen Saadat

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Mon, 03/20/2017 - 8:00am to 9:00am
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“I’ve talked about change a long time, I’ve helped to do some and I’ve marched for some. This is an opportunity to do change at an entirely different level,”


In June of 2016 Kathleen Saadat resigned her position as chair of a community panel created to help monitor Portland police reforms in the wake of a federal justice investigation.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, and raised in a family committed to justice and education, Kathleen Gunnell Saadat graduated from Chicago’s Farragut High School in 1957 and from Reed College in 1974.

Since her arrival in Portland in 1970, Kathleen has held positions as diverse as quality control chemist in a pharmaceutical manufacturing company; janitor; contracts monitor and program analyst for training and employment programs; executive director of Oregon’s Commission on Black Affairs; director of affirmative action for the state of Oregon; assistant to Portland City Commissioner Gretchen Kafoury; diversity director for Cascade AIDS Project; and diversity development and affirmative action manager for the city of Portland.

Kathleen has served Oregon’s LGBTQ community as a mentor and confidant for nearly 40 years. In 1976, she and six others organized Portland’s first gay rights march. Later, she and Keeston Lowry worked with a team of city employees to craft the Portland’s civil rights ordinance, which prohibited discrimination against gay and lesbian people and discrimination based on legal source of income. In 1992, she served on the steering committee for the campaign against Ballot Measure 9, which, had it passed, would have rendered GLBTQ people second class citizens.


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