Oregon Zoo Bond Citizens' Oversight Committee

Find out how your citizen representatives are monitoring zoo planning, construction and spending.

When voters supported a bond for zoo improvements in 2008, they also approved forming a committee of citizens to monitor how their dollars are spent. Learn more about your citizen representatives.

In 2008, voters across the Portland metropolitan region supported a $125 million bond for Oregon Zoo improvements. The bond put the zoo in a strong position to protect animal health and safety, increase access to conservation education and reduce water and energy consumption. The projects include a Veterinary Medical Center, Penguinarium Filtration Upgrade, Condors of the Columbia, Elephant Lands, Education Center, Polar Passage (polar bear habitat), Primate Forest (primate habitat) and Rhino Habitat.

Committee members

The Oregon Zoo Bond Citizens' Oversight Committee was created to provide a third-party review of the Oregon Zoo Infrastructure and Animal Welfare Bond Program to the Metro Council and citizens. The committee is looking at how decision-making occurs and how business is conducted, as well as determining whether the program is on the right path in terms of structure, management, expenditures, personnel and achievement of defined goals. Members include professionals with experience in construction, sustainability, animal welfare, labor, finance, public budgeting and auditing, and general business.

Committee Chair: Susan Hartnett

Susan Hartnett has more than 26 years of experience in urban planning and development. Her career includes more than 21 years with City of Portland bureaus, including planning, transportation and water; she currently serves with spectator venues special projects in the Office of Management and Finance. Hartnett has also worked for the City of Tigard, Oregon Health & Science University, the City of Chicago and several private sector companies. She earned her Bachelor of Science in criminalistics from the University of Illinois and her master’s in urban and regional planning from Portland State University, and is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Committee Vice Chair: Emma Stocker

Emma Stocker is an emergency management professional with more than 10 years of experience in multi-hazard emergency management, specializing in higher education and campus environments. She developed a background in natural hazards planning, public policy, public involvement and social research through consulting and public sector positions in Portland and Eugene, including one year as an interim policy coordinator in the Metro Council Office. Stocker currently serves as director of emergency management at Portland State University. She has a master’s in public administration (University of Oregon) and a bachelor’s in sociology (Reed College).

Daniel Aja

Daniel Aja is the senior vice president and chief medical officer at Banfield Pet Hospital, where he leads internal and external medicine initiatives at the world’s largest veterinary practice. Prior to joining Banfield in 2014, Dr. Aja served as director of U.S. professional and veterinary affairs at Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Previously, he owned and directed the Cherry Bend Animal Hospital in Traverse City, Michigan. Dr. Aja earned his veterinary medical degree from the college of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University, and has more than 32 years of experience, credibility and commitment to delivering the highest quality of veterinary medicine. He is a past president of the American Animal Hospital Association and served on the Michigan State Board of Veterinary Medicine. He is also the founding board member of Partners for Healthy Pets, a committee of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation created to ensure pets receive the preventative health care they deserve.

Naomi Bishop

Naomi Bishop is a professor emeritiof anthropology at California State University, Northridge. A physical anthropologist with a specialization in primate behavior and ecology, Bishop’s research focuses on the behavior and adaptations of both langur monkeys and humans to the high altitude environment in the Nepal Himalaya. Zoo observation projects have been an essential element in her teaching. Bishop has been a department chair and interdisciplinary program leader at both the University of Massachusetts Boston and California State University, Northridge, and has written and directed multi-million dollar grant projects in teacher education. She received an American Council on Education Fellowship in academic leadership for 2003-4, which was spent at Portland State University. She has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Laurel Brown

Laurel Brown has served as the assistant director of property management and zone maintenance at Portland State University since 2013, overseeing facility operations and maintenance of 29 buildings, including housing residences, a hotel, a student union and parking structures. She develops and administers 10 separate operational budgets totaling $16 million and average annual capital expenditures of $4.6 million. Previously she was a project manager with Ellis Ecological Services in Estacada, Oregon where she led environmental monitoring during construction activities for diverse clientele. Earlier, she was a front desk manager at Hart Road Animal Hospital in Beaverton and prior to that, managed her own property maintenance company in Portland for multiple property owners. She earned a B.A. in biology from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri.

Heidi Goertzen

Heidi Goertzen is a financial planner at Becker Capital Management providing comprehensive wealth management and financial planning to clients. She previously worked as a wealth advisor at Confluence Wealth management doing financial planning and investment management for clients. Prior to that, she served as chief compliance officer for Ferguson Wellman Capital Management, overseeing all company compliance policies and procedures. Goertzen began her career at RVK, Inc. working with large institutional clients. She earned a B.S. in finance from Linfield College and holds an MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of Portland’s Pamplin School of Business.

Daniel C. Hauser

Daniel C. Hauser is a policy analyst for the Oregon Center for Public Policy where his research and advocacy addresses tax and housing policies. Throughout his career, Hauser has often focused on how various revenue structures, from income taxes to bonds, can be designed to address efficiency, adequacy and progressivity. He was previously selected as a Hatfield Resident Fellow at Portland State University's Center for Public Service and has worked at the Association of Oregon Counties as a Transportation Policy Analyst. Hauser holds a master's degree in Public Policy from Oregon State University. He also serves as the vice chair of Washington County's Urban Roads Maintenance District Advisory Committee.

Nan Heim

Nan Heim has more than thirty years of experience in association management and lobbying for a variety of clients. She has also managed several statewide ballot measure campaigns. Heim currently serves on the Oregon Zoo Foundation Board and the Oregon State Capitol Foundation Board.

Jill Mellen

Jill Mellen is a research biologist whose areas of expertise include animals, animal welfare and enhancing guest experiences in informal learning settings such as zoos and aquariums. Dr. Mellen has worked in the zoo and aquarium field for more than three decades. Most recently she was the Education and Science Director at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where she researched a range of topics from elephant welfare to inspiring children to conservation action. Within the Association and Zoos and Aquariums, Dr. Mellen has held many leadership positions. Her current projects include coordinating studies on marine animal welfare. Early in her career, Dr. Mellen worked at the Oregon Zoo, and has moved back to Portland after her retirement from the Disney Company.

Javier Mena

Javier Mena serves as the affordable housing manager at the City of Beaverton. To ensure the City continues being the most diverse city in the state, he focuses on ensuring affordable rental and homeownership housing opportunities are available to all, especially marginalized communities and communities of color. Until July 2018, he was the assistant director of the Portland Housing Bureau at the City of Portland, where he had worked since 2010 in various roles, and most recently was implementing a $258 million affordable housing bond measure program. He worked with the more than 40 nonprofits and service providers that partnered with the housing bureau to ensure the city's housing and rent-assistance programs were fulfilling their mission. Mena also has an extensive record in the finance industry, working for Wells Fargo until 2006 as an assistant vice president.

Chin See Ming

Chin See Ming is an attorney at the law firm of Gilbert Levy Bennett where he practices in the areas of construction defect and general business litigation, and insurance coverage law. A long-time resident of Portland, Oregon, he is a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law and has previously served as Vice Chair of the Oregon Board of Bar Examiners. As the father of two adult children, he knows from first-hand experience the central role the zoo plays in the lives of young children and their parents in the Metro area! Ming enjoys riding his bicycle on the weekends.

Robyn K. Pierce

Robyn K. Pierce is a professional consultant with Pierce, Bonyhadi & Associates. She assists colleges, universities and school districts with planning, development, design and construction of academic, research, housing and student service facilities. She served eight years as the director of facilities and planning at Portland State University (PSU), where she managed a department of 160 staff and had an active role in more than 1.5 million square feet of campus growth and development, including nine LEED-certified buildings and three public-private and public-public partnership projects. She managed annual budgets exceeding $100 million, including construction budgets. Pierce remains dedicated to supporting women and minority contractors in all facets of project development. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon and master’s degree at PSU.

Katherine A. Porras

Katherine A. Porras is an investment associate at Meyer Memorial Trust, responsible for monitoring and analyzing the foundation’s investments, while researching environmental, social and governance factors on portfolio holdings to inform the alignment of the investment strategy to the organization's mission. Porras has experience working in finance, legal services, and performing arts. She earned an MBA with a focus in finance from Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management. She looks forward to contributing to the zoo, its staff and the Oregonian community at large.

Kevin Spellman

Kevin Spellman is a business consultant and trainer for construction contractors and industry professionals, following a 28-year career with commercial contractor Emerick Construction, including 18 years as president. In his Spellman Consulting, Inc. practice, he works with contractors on business strategies, development of contract management tools and techniques, and effective operational procedures. He has been an adjunct instructor in the Civil Engineering Department at Oregon State University, and at Portland Community College. He has served on several local boards, including Multnomah Education Service District, and currently chairs the Bond Accountability Committee for Portland Public Schools' bond program.

Dick Stenson

Dick Stenson retired in 2014 after 22 years as Tuality Healthcare president and chief executive officer. He was previously administrator of Straub Clinic & Hospital and Straub Health Plan in Honolulu, after working in San Francisco as administrator of Harkness Community Hospital and Upjohn Medical Group. He has a BS degree from the University of California, Berkeley and master’s degrees in healthcare and business administration from Tulane and Loyola Universities in New Orleans. Stenson is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American College of Medical Practice Executives. He currently serves on the boards of the Portland Community College Foundation, Pacific University Oak Tree Foundation, Native American Rehab Association, SW Community Health Centers, Intel Community Advisory Panel, Vision Action Network of Washington County, Washington County Public Health Advisory Panel, Hillsboro Community Foundation, Tuality Healthcare Foundation and Tuality Health Alliance.

Christine L. Taylor

Christine Taylor is an attorney at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn. In her practice, she works with public entities on matters including public contracting, construction contracting, and public meetings and records. In her spare time, Taylor enjoys hiking with her dog and visiting the Oregon Zoo. She is also a huge polar bear fan!

Karen Weylandt

Karen Weylandt retired in March 2018 from Providence Health & Services after serving more than 25 years, most recently as the chief planning and design officer for the five-state health system. She has worked in the building, construction and improvement of Providence hospitals, outpatient clinics, surgery centers and educational facilities from Alaska to California. Her leadership for the planning and construction of Providence Newberg Medical Center resulted in the first hospital in the country to earn a LEED Gold designation. She also directed the planning and construction for the Providence Cancer Center in Portland. Weylandt’s recent projects include a major expansion of services for Providence’s downtown Seattle facilities, and a master plan for the south campus expansion at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. Weylandt earned a degree as a registered nurse and a master’s degree in health care administration. For the past seven years she has served on the Oregon Facility Authority Board, and she also served several years on the Oregon Humane Society Board.