TriMet Board of Directors seats first-ever slate of officers who are all people of color


Ozzie Gonzalez, Dr. LaVerne Lewis and Kathy Wai will lead the governing body for Oregon’s largest transit agency through June 2025

The most diverse Board of Directors in TriMet history has achieved another first: They have selected the most diverse trio of officers to lead the organization’s governing body. The board elected Ozzie Gonzalez as President, Dr. LaVerne Lewis as Vice President, and Kathy Wai as Secretary/Treasurer. The board elects officers every two years, keeping them in their new roles through June 2025. 

“Inclusion, diversity and equity are fundamental values which guide everything we do at TriMet,” said General Manager Sam Desue Jr. “I am confident that the lived experience of these Board members as people of color will bring a new level of representation for our riders and the greater community, ensuring confidence that TriMet’s financial decisions are being made with everyone’s needs in mind. Just as all are welcome on our transit system, these diverse voices and perspectives are welcome in the ranks of the TriMet Board’s leadership roles.”

TriMet thanks former Board President Dr. Linda Simmons and Vice President Lori Irish-Bauman for the years of volunteer service they shared with the Board. In 2021, Dr. Simmons also made history as the first woman to serve as TriMet Board President.

Ozzie Gonzalez – President

Ozzie Gonzalez, TriMet Board President

Osvaldo “Ozzie” Gonzalez is TriMet’s first Latino Board President. He has served on the Board since 2018. Gonzalez lives in and represents District 2, which covers Northwest and parts of Southwest Portland. 

“It’s wonderful to see that we have arrived at a slate of Board Officers who not only represent the geography of the TriMet district, but who represent a diversity of thought, of age, of cultural upbringing, and professional specialty,” Gonzalez said. “I look forward to working with [my fellow officers] and serving the public through our collective commitment to strengthening the value public transit will provide the residents of our region.”

Gonzalez works as an urban ecologist. His professional background includes architecture, planning, policy and design of urban spaces. 

Dr.  LaVerne Lewis – Vice President

Dr. LaVerne Lewis, TriMet Board Vice President

Dr. LaVerne Lewis is TriMet’s second African American Vice President and the first Black woman to serve in the role. She joined the TriMet Board of Directors in 2021 and represents District 6: East Multnomah County. 

“As the first appointed African American woman to the TriMet Board, I am proud to represent a transit agency as an officer, which touches a historic moment in my heart, when my family celebrated the news of the end of the Montgomery bus boycotts,”Dr. Lewis said. “Because of the valiant sacrifices of others, I not only sit anywhere on the bus but also serve in leadership on the TriMet Board of Directors, sworn to bring my professional best as a public servant to all.”

Dr. Lewis has extensive experience in business, civil rights, criminal justice and education. She volunteers as a global humanitarian in communities worldwide.

Kathy Wai – Secretary/Treasurer

Kathy Wai, TriMet Board Secretary-Treasurer

Kathy Wai was born in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, in Southeast Asia, and she is TriMet’s first Secretary/Treasurer of Asian descent and the youngest to serve in the role. Wai lives in and represents District 7: Clackamas County, where she also serves on the North Clackamas School Board.

“I am proud to be part of a TriMet Board of Directors that can help advocate for our transit-dependent riders,” Wai said. “Safe, reliable transportation is vital to serving our rapidly growing and diverse region. As a Board member and now an officer who relied on transit for most of my life, I am committed to engaging with the community to ensure that all voices and perspectives are heard. As Treasurer, I will work hard to ensure that our budget is transparent, accountable and meets the needs of our communities.”

About the Board of Directors

Additional Board members who are people of color include Thomas Kim, who represents District 1: Washington County and Keith Edwards, who represents District 5: Northeast Portland. The Board is completed by Robert Kellogg, who represents District 3: Southwest Portland and Tyler Frisbee, who represents District 4: Southeast Portland. Kellogg and Frisbee are Governor Tina Kotek’s first appointments to the Board.

TriMet’s Board consists of seven Directors appointed by the governor of Oregon and serving as volunteers. The Board provides financial stewardship of TriMet’s annual budget, which totaled $1.8 billion for the 2024 Fiscal Year that began on July 1, 2023. In addition to fulfilling fiduciary responsibilities, Board members appoint the general manager, help set high-level agency policy, and implement legislation on transit operations. They also serve in liaison roles on special advisory groups and committees. For more information about the TriMet Board, visit

TriMet Board Business meetings are typically held once per month. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 26.