September 10, 2015
Commissioner Gustavo J. Cruz, Jr. (Tavo) joined the PDC Board in July 2015. He is of counsel at the law firm Farleigh Wada Witt with a practice in commercial finance, corporate finance and general business matters. He’s also a lifelong Portlander, a rugby fan, and an active member of his neighborhood association in Northwest Portland. Read more in his “three questions” interview below.
Why did you say yes to Mayor Charlie Hales’ request to serve on the PDC Board?
I’m a native Portlander, and I’m very interested in the development of our city. Obviously this is a neat opportunity to participate in that growth and development and give something back to the community. I also think I have a unique set of skills and background that might be useful in this role, having been a banker and a lawyer and president of my neighborhood association. I’ve been involved in other nonprofit boards; I’ve been the chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for a number of years now. All of that allowed me to bring some things to the table that are a little different from other potential commissioners. A lot of very respected leaders in our community have been in this role; it’s an honor and maybe even a touch daunting to follow in those footsteps. So I have to bring my A game.
What are you most looking forward to as a commissioner?
Participating in the projects and seeing the development of some of the new projects that are coming along is really exciting. For example, the post office transaction is really an incredible opportunity. I remember going to the train station and walking by the post office when I was a little child. We used to go there sometimes after church because my parents thought it would be fun for a little boy to see the trains. I remember walking around that whole parcel from a very early age and thinking it was such an interesting place. And now fast forward, that’s an opportunity that’s right next door that I’m really looking forward to participating in. Same with Centennial Mills, although I don’t have quite the same emotional attachment to that property. But it’s still a neat opportunity for our city to do something nice with that stretch of the waterfront. There are many other opportunities –what’s going to happen with Memorial Coliseum or the Portland public schools property? I think there will be properties that will see transformative change in the next few years, and it’s really exciting to participate in that, as well as to see other kinds of development in our city, not necessarily real estate-based but in terms of bringing in new companies, introducing companies from out of state. PDC gets involved in all these initiatives, and I think it’s really cool, and I’m looking forward to that.
What would you like us to know about you?
Professionally: When I first came out of college I did management training at US Bank; I did all kinds of analysis for commercial credit, and that was really a great experience. But after I’d done it for about seven years I could see that the clock was ticking if I wanted to do something else with my professional life so I decided to go back to law school. I