Eddy Morales is a successful small business owner and community organizer. He was born in Los Angeles, the youngest of nine children. His family moved to Oregon when he was six and he is a proud Duck. (But Beaver voters are, of course, welcome!)
Eddy was raised by a single mom, who worked hard to keep him and his siblings housed and fed. They lived in many Oregon communities during Eddy’s childhood, including Woodburn, Sherwood, Milwaukie, and several neighborhoods in Portland and Gresham, while they worked to achieve economic security and stable housing.
Moving and changing schools so frequently meant that Eddy did not learn to speak, read, or write in English until he was in the third grade in Oregon. Through grit, determination, and support from community, including the other youth at the Police Activities League in Gresham, where he worked as a teenager, Eddy became the first in his family to graduate high school and attend college. His success in student government and campus activities led to him being elected to represent over 3 million students across America on Capitol Hill as President of the United States Student Association. There, he served as the official voice of U.S. students and represented them to Congress, the Department of Education, and the White House.
Over the last 18 years, Eddy has worked for many national organizations dedicated to community change, and he eventually started his own business, Morales Public Relations, seven years ago. His success and commitment to building communities where we all have the opportunity to thrive has allowed him to work with policy makers from around the country and to give back to the community that has given him so much.
Eddy Morales is committed to bringing his experience, skills, determination, and his compassion to the Gresham City Council, tackling issues like housing, transportation, economic and educational opportunity for all our residents. He recognizes that Gresham, as one of the fastest-growing cities in Oregon, is going to have to be more proactive to preserve what we all value about our town. Eddy also recognizes that while Gresham works well for some of our residents, our poverty rate is 20%, which means that many of our neighbors are left out of the economic opportunities our region has to offer.
Eddy’s vision for Gresham includes prosperity and opportunity for all Gresham residents.
His mother Socorro taught him that no matter how little you have, there is always enough to share with someone who has less. He remembers she would frequently invite community members home for dinner to be sure they had a hot meal. She had a tremendous capacity for compassion and giving that she passed on to Eddy.
After Eddy’s older brother was murdered in a senseless act of gun violence in 1994, he dropped out of high school and took on three jobs to help support his family, including one at the Police Activities League in Gresham. It was at PAL where Eddy’s peers recognized his potential and encouraged him to finish high school. At 16, he re-enrolled in high school and became the first in his family to graduate.
Eddy was then accepted on scholarship to the University of Oregon. The idea of attending college and getting a scholarship was so unbelievable to Eddy’s family that his mother worried it was a trick or mistake and that he would be turned away on the day he arrived on campus. At the University of Oregon, he studied Planning, Public Policy, and Management, Spanish, and Chinese, and got involved in student government. It was during these formative years that Eddy decided to dedicate his life to civic engagement and advancing quality of life for all through public policy.
As someone who received several public benefits and the support of countless individuals for his family growing up, Eddy has witnessed firsthand how a little assistance can change the entire direction of your life. From grassroots activism to board service, Eddy has kept the needs of our communities close at heart. Since 2003, he has advocated for concrete solutions to issues that affect our most vulnerable communities, including access to healthcare, immigration reform, housing equity, education, and ending gun violence, and he has raised more than $60 million to support these efforts.
Eddy has worked for top social good organizations like the Center for Community Change, Voto Latino, the Democracy Alliance, and the United States Student Association, and has collaborated with change-makers and organizations, including Dolores Huerta, Rosario Dawson, the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Choice USA, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
In 2010, Eddy attained another first in his family: he purchased a home. For the first time in his life, he had the opportunity to put down his own roots, and chose Gresham, where his partner grew up and two of his sisters and several of his nieces and nephews now reside.
Having worked in East County and Gresham on and off since 1995, Eddy has seen the city’s charms and it’s challenges. He believes that change starts locally, and as he started learning about the Gresham City Council and its priorities, he found it does not fully represent the needs of a city that has a 20% poverty rate and whose population is much more diverse than its government. As someone with extensive experience bringing public, private, and nonprofit sectors together to devise solutions that work, Eddy’s voice will add a valuable and representative perspective to the Gresham City Council.
Eddy currently shares a multi-generational home with his partner, Hugh, mother in-law, Rochelle, and rescue dog, Besitos. In his spare time, Eddy dedicates himself to volunteerism and public service. He is the founder and co-chair of the University of Oregon Latino Alumni Association, Treasurer of the Democratic Party of Oregon, founder of East County Rising, and serves on the boards of Community Catalyst Action Fund, Midwest Academy, the Oregon Coalition for Common Sense, Battleground Texas, Code for Progress, and Justice Matters Press.