When it comes to political pioneers in Oregon, Avel Gordly is one of the top names on the list.
A Portland native, Gordly became the first African-American woman elected to the Oregon state Senate in 1996, serving until 2009. Before that, she spent five years in the Oregon House of Representatives.
Now, there's another institution that bears her name, based in her childhood family home in North Portland. The Gordly-Burch Center for Black Leadership and Civic Engagement will work to get more African-Americans involved in politics in Oregon, including training people to run for office, or to be active on civic organizations including boards and commissions.
Sen. Gordly stopped by Eye on Northwest Politics to discuss why Black political representation is important in Oregon, her proudest accomplishments while in the Senate and what she hopes the Gordly-Burch Center will accomplish once it is up and running.