For nearly three decades, she has made working on behalf of our most vulnerable communities her priority. Loretta was born into a union family; her dad a Portland boxer and mom a United Auto Workers member. Loretta raised her son as a single mom in Northeast Portland. Loretta’s son attended Portland Public Schools, earned a college scholarship to the University of Washington, and recently started a small business right here in Portland.
Loretta graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Broadcast Communication. Straight out of college she began working for then-Congressman Ron Wyden. Over 20 years with Senator Wyden, she rose from receptionist to become his field representative for Multnomah County where she honed her skills in public administration, working on a trillion-dollar budget through the federal appropriations process. After decades of working hand in hand with community members to advocate for resources for Portland, Loretta threw her hat into the ring to represent North and Northeast Portland on the Multnomah County Commission. She beat the streets, knocked on thousands of doors, and served our City and County with a passion and commitment rarely seen in public office for eight years.
During her time on the Commission, Loretta made a name for herself as someone who won't back down from a tough fight. She walked in the door with the skills needed to effectively manage an approximately $2 billion budget, becoming known for finding the dollars needed for new programs and services. She always put helping those who need it most first, regardless of what powerful interests were on the other side. She created the Summer Works program at the county, tailored toward helping at-risk youth learn valuable life skills and placing them in permanent employment. This program grew from an initial 25 kids per year to over 600 today, with thousands of graduates of the program gaining skills to succeed. Loretta is also committed to promoting safety net programs that are culturally specific, and respectful of the needs and difference of others. That commitment led her to create the only local Promise Neighborhoods Initiative in the state, investing $6 million+ in county funding to create new programs and services for our most vulnerable youth and families; she also led a coalition that secured $29 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education's Promise Neighborhoods Initiative.
Loretta’s focus and experience on housing, homelessness, our youth, our seniors, and the quality of life in our city makes her the candidate who can hit the ground running on day one, fighting every day to make real change in Portland for the most vulnerable in our community. She currently enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren, her son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law, and a host of family and friends that make up the Smith family.