Two new members bring more diversity to TriMet’s Board of Directors

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New directors include Oregon’s first Dreamer-status attorney along with an expert in criminal justice and civil rights

The TriMet Board of Directors welcomes two new members. Dr. LaVerne Lewis and Eun Hyung “Thomas” Kim were nominated by Oregon Governor Kate Brown. The Oregon Senate confirmed their appointments today, March 4, 2021. Dr. Lewis and Kim bring a range of experiences and expertise in business, civil rights, criminal justice, community involvement, education and the law.

First DACA-status attorney in Oregon joins TriMet Board

Thomas Kim

Thomas Kim will serve as the director for TriMet District 1, which covers Washington County, beginning July 2021. At the age of 28, Kim becomes the youngest-ever member of the TriMet Board of Directors.

Kim also serves as the president of the Hillsboro Planning Commission and secretary of the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association. He served on the American Bar Association’s Law Student Division as chair, representing the entire 120,000-plus law students in America.

Kim is an attorney with Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. He is a “Dreamer” and was the first Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival-status (DACA) attorney in Oregon. He was 13 in 2005 when his family came to the U.S. from South Korea. While serving on the American Bar Association, Kim successfully advocated for undocumented immigrants to not be denied bar admission solely based on immigration status and to obtain admission to practice law in all U.S. states and territories.

Kim concentrates his legal practice in mid-market merger and acquisitions, healthcare, distribution, technology and corporate governance. He volunteers at the Oregon Law Center, providing pro bono legal service for low-income individuals with past criminal records, helping them overcome barriers to obtaining housing, employment, financial aid, etc.

“I want to serve on the TriMet Board first and foremost because I wish to give back to my community in substantive ways that I can,” said Kim. “The TriMet Board inevitably faces some trying financial decisions to be made in the upcoming years due to COVID-19 related revenue declines. And in making such decisions, despite the difficult financial circumstances, I see an opportunity for TriMet to double-down on creating an infrastructure equitable and accessible by all.”

Kim obtained his law degree from Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematical Economics and a Minor in Statistics from Pacific Lutheran University. He graduated from the Hillsboro Civic Leadership Academy in 2018.  

Expert in criminal justice and civil rights joins TriMet Board

Dr. LaVerne Lewis

Dr. LaVerne Lewis takes over as the vacant director position for TriMet District 6, which covers east Multnomah County, immediately. Dr. Lewis also serves on the Mt. Hood Community College Board of Education and as treasurer for the Rosewood Initiative Board of Directors, as well as vice president on the Northwest United Methodist Foundation Board and as an associate director of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area’s Innovation & Vitality Team. She also was previously appointed to the Oregon Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, for three years.

Dr. Lewis is an adjunct professor of accounting at Portland Community College. Prior to her service as an MHCC board member, she taught at the school for eight years, providing instruction in criminal justice and accounting. She spent nearly 18 years in law enforcement, as a deputy with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department and a training instructor at the Oregon Public Safety Academy’s Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. Dr. Lewis is also an experienced entrepreneur, with 35 years of experience in the area of taxation, accounting and small business consulting. She volunteers in communities around the world, leading teams who serve the unhoused and underserved. Dr. Lewis founded the Women-SEW Global Foundation to create “global awareness and a response to women and girls engaged in sewing collectives with intended outcomes of economic and leadership empowerment.”

“I believe my past and current experience, skills and dedication to work within a board governance context communicates the values of safety, inclusivity, equity, community and teamwork,” said Dr. Lewis. “As an African-American woman, I bring a lens of leading, advocating and creating pathways for community mobility and connections to transit in the district.”

Dr. Lewis holds a Doctorate in Education from Northcentral University, as well as a Master of Education degree, specializing in Adult Education and Human Resources, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. 

Thank you to our outgoing directors

TriMet thanks former director Travis Stovall and outgoing director Bruce Warner for their many years of service and dedication, not only helping the agency determine priorities and strategies, but always focusing on the needs of our riders. Both men served on the Board of Directors at the pleasure of Oregon’s governors since 2012, with Warner acting as Board president for the past nine years. Stovall left the TriMet Board in December 2020 and now serves as Gresham’s first Black mayor. Warner will remain on the Board through June 2021.

The new Board members join directors Ozzie Gonzalez (Dist. 2), Dr. Linda Simmons (Dist. 3), Lori Irish Bauman (Dist. 4), Keith Edwards (Dist. 5) and Kathy Wai (Dist. 7).

About the TriMet Board of Directors

TriMet’s Board consists of seven directors who are appointed by the governor. They set policy for the agency, as well as appoint the general manager, implement legislation pertaining to transit operations and review and approves certain contracts.

Board members are volunteers and can serve up to two, four-year terms; however, they serve at the pleasure of the governor and can continue to serve until a successor is appointed. For additional information about the TriMet Board, visit trimet.org/about/board.