Oregon notable latinos
Padilla Andrews, Clara (1941-). Padilla Andrews is owner and publisher of El Hispanic News. This newspaper, founded in 1981 by Juan Prats, is the oldest bilingual publication in the Pacific Northwest, and it is an important source of information for the Latino community. Padilla Andrews bought the newspaper in 1995 and turned it into the largest bilingual weekly newspaper in the region. Her company also publishes the bilingual biweekly magazine Mas, devoted to Latino arts and culture in the Portland metro area. Before moving to Oregon in 1987, she served as secretary of state for New Mexico from 1983 to 1986. In Portland she was the coordinator of Hispanic Services and the supervisor for Community and Family Services for Multnomah County. She was president of the Metropolitan Portland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and of the National Association of Hispanic Publications. She founded the Susana Maria Gurule Foundation, in honor of her granddaughter, who died of cancer. Today Padilla Andrews
is one of the most influential women in Portland’s Latino community. The Hispanic Business Magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics four times.
Castillo, Susan (1951-). Castillo is the superintendent of Public Instruction at the Oregon Department of Education. First elected in 2003, she was reelected to a second 4-year term, until 2011. Castillo is Oregon’s first Latino woman elected to a statewide office. Prior to entering public office, Castillo pursued a career as a broadcast journalist, first for Oregon Public Radio and later for KVAL-TV in Eugene, Oregon. She is an award-wining television reporter. Castillo served from 1997 to 2002 as the first Latino woman state senator in the Oregon Legislative Assembly. She was the chair of the Senate Education Committee, dealing with issues of charter schools, teacher tenure, and school reform. She was also elected as assistant Democratic leader for the 1999 and 2001 legislative sessions. In 2004 Castillo was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America by the Hispanic Business Magazine.
Ramirez, Ramon (1955-). Ramirez helped to organize Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN, or in English, Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United), Oregon’s union of farm, nursery, and reforestation workers. PCUN is the largest Latino organization in the state. The union empowers farmworkers to understand and take action against labor exploitation. PCUN was founded in 1985 by 80 farmworkers, and it has since grown to include more than 5,000 registered members, 98 percent of which are migrants from Mexico and Central America. Ramirez became president of the union in 1995, after the sudden death of Cipriano Ferrel, PCUN’s first president. Ramirez was born and raised in east Los Angeles.
At the age of 15 and inspired by the work of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, he became active in the Chicano movement’s opposition to the Vietnam War. He later joined the farmworker cause. In 1991 Ramirez led the first ever union-organized strike in Oregon agriculture, and in 1998 he signed collective bargaining contracts with three different growers a first in the state’s agricultural history. Under Ramirez’s leadership, the Farmworker Housing Development Corporation (FHDC) has built 108 units of affordable housing and also the Cipriano Ferrel Education Center, which provides a head start and multipurpose education facility for FHDC’s Nuevo Amanecer project. Ramirez has also worked to develop a strong immigrant rights coalition (CAUSA), which has defeated anti-immigrant proposals in the Oregon state legislature. In 2003 Ramirez received the Leadership for a Changing World Award from the Ford Foundation.
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