Advocacy leader Kristi Jamison named recipient of 2014 Spirit of Portland Award

Kristi Jamison

Kristi Jamison

By Jason Renaud and Jenny Westberg

Kristi Jamison, a Portland leader in mental health and disability advocacy – as well as a genuinely wonderful person, whom we proudly call our colleague and friend – has received a prestigious and highly deserved city honor: a 2014 Spirit of Portland Award.

City Commissioner Amanda Fritz will present the award in a ceremony Nov. 6 at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, recognizing Kristi for her work in the community and her service to the Portland Commission on Disability, where she serves as chair of the Public Safety Committee.

“The Spirit of Portland Awards recognize local individuals and organizations who have demonstrated an outstanding dedication to positive change in our community,” explains a city press release. “Award winners are those who have not only worked to improve the community, but who have also gone above and beyond in dedication to civic engagement in order to make a lasting impact.”

“Outstanding dedication;” “positive change;” “improving the community;” “going above and beyond;” “making a lasting impact” – it’s a perfect description of Kristi Jamison.

Innovative, inventive, daring and engaging, Kristi is an ardent advocate for civil rights and social liberties, the underdog, the missing, lost and forgotten.

Her 20+ years of service and accomplishment have given support and strength to her community, and made a difference in the lives of countless individuals. No matter how overtasked, Kristi always has time to listen, to give encouragement and support, to provide accurate information and real help to any person in need. Her warm heart and generous spirit have touched many lives; her passionate advocacy has inspired many more.

Kristi is a graduate of Oregon State University and the University of California at San Diego, where she earned a master’s degree in social work. She went on to represent the interests of persons with mental illness for several community agencies, including Columbia County, the State of Oregon, Multnomah County, Central City Concern and most recently Empowerment Initiatives, the only peer-run and operated mental health service provider in Oregon.

Mayor Charlie Hales described Spirit of Portland Award recipients as the city’s wealth.

“Inscribed into Portland’s Skidmore Fountain you will see these words: ‘Good Citizens are the Riches of a City,’” he said. “I think that is also the message behind the Spirit of Portland Awards. For truly, where would we be without those citizens who step up, volunteer, lead, and find solutions to problems in their community?”

Hales continued, “So often, these people do so with no thought as to recognition or personal reward. Since the awards began in 1985, we have been able to, in some small way, show our appreciation for the work done by neighborhoods, small businesses, non-profits and so many individuals who make our city a better place to live. They truly are the Riches of a City, and we are grateful for them.”

We are grateful too.  Congratulations, Kristi!  No one could deserve this award more.  And we join with the mayor and the city in offering you our deepest thanks — from your friends and fans at the Mental Health Association of Portland.

♦ ♦ ♦

The award ceremony will take place Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, from 6-8:30 PM, at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center Atrium, 501 N. Graham St., Portland, OR 97227. TriMet service is on the #2, #24 and #44 bus lines, and the site is six blocks from the N. Albina Mississippi MAX Station.

The event site is wheelchair accessible. Other reasonable accommodations will be made for people with disabilities and/or language interpretation/translation needs; please contact Victor Salinas no less than five business days prior to the event at (503) 823-3093 or,  TTY (503) 823-6868, Oregon Relay Service (800) 735-2900.