I care deeply about our families and community. I grew up here and moved to east Portland in 1993 where I helped raise a family, built a successful business, and have been active in community organizing for over 25 years.
My years as an activist, organizer, family man, and business owner have helped him learn how to lead through listening and collaboration.
A long-time community organizer
My interest in community organizing started in high school. While attending college in Seattle, I canvassed for universal health care and worked to help elect Washington state's first openly gay legislator, Cal Anderson. I studied public affairs in graduate school, then returned to Vancouver to run a program for the Columbia River Economic Development Council and local air pollution agency helping small businesses understand and comply with air quality regulations.
In the mid 90s, my partner and I moved to Portland’s eastside where I started my first business, Cascadia Communications, doing public affairs work - including working with Southeast Uplift to involve local communities in policy processes. Concerned about increasing income inequality, I volunteered on projects with City Repair, KBOO Community Radio, and Jobs with Justice, and I helped organize fellow Quakers and UU young adults to participate in the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999. In 2002, I was appointed to the Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee, where I served as Chair.
Juggling balls to make ends meet
Married for over 20 years, I helped raise two kids as a stay-at-home dad and later as a single father. As a young dad, I balanced caring for the house and kids while at the same time pulling together a group of friends to figure out how to collaboratively purchase and renovate old buildings to create wellness centers in NE and SE Portland. Since then I've advised many friends on similar strategies to help them buy their first home or develop a new business when they couldn’t afford to do so without a more collaborative financial strategy.
A good dose of Portland weird
Over the years, I have attended a lot of festivals and larger regional events, such as the Oregon Country Fair, Pickathon, and Beloved. Starting in 2002, as part of my journey of working to bring more health, vitality, and well-being to my community I started organizing gatherings focused on helping people learn how to meet their needs for physical and playful touch, affection, and connection in healthy ways. Working with others, I helped create awareness around the need for consent related to touch in several local communities before the era of #metoo, and I have continued to be an advocate for consent culture ever since.
I'm a believer in building community resilience and place-based economics. I shop at farmer’s markets and co-ops, do my banking at credit unions, and after my divorce in 2012 even moved to an ecovillage community in outer SE Portland where we shared three houses, cared for the land together, raised chickens, and took turns cooking meals.
In my free time...
Over the decades, I have done a lot of camping and hiking throughout the Northwest. I love the Columbia River Gorge, the Wallowas, and the wilderness around Portland. On hot summer days, I enjoy finding a good swim hole. My favorite camping spot is on a sweet little lake up on Mt. Hood. In the evenings, you'll often find me checking out one of our great local restaurants, attending a potluck, game night, or singing songs with friends around a fire.
So about "Jas"
"Jas" was a common nickname for James a hundred years ago... back when "Chas" was short for Charles. The "s" has the same "z" sound as it does in James. I was born James J. Davis to a family who has been in this region for a very long time. When my grandfather died in the 90s, I took my great-grandfather's nickname. James Ottis Blair (Jas.O.Blair) served as a Republican Justice of the Peace in Vancouver in the 1920s. Back then, it was the Republican party that had a large contingent of progressives!
Real solutions for today's challenges
I believe in what Portland can be.