Neisha Saxena Neisha is returning to a position she held in 2015-2016 prior to the creation of the Civil Rights Unit in ODE.  In this reconfigured role she will build and lead a team focused on the County’s state and federal civil rights compliance and policy work, disability equity work, and serve as the legal specialist for ODE.  The Civil Rights Unit will also have responsibilities under the Workforce Equity Strategic Plan related to policy analysis and reporting.  

She comes to us most recently from DCHS where she managed the Anti-Poverty Initiatives Team dedicated to innovative approaches to dismantling the root causes of poverty and systemic racism. Initiatives staffed by that team include the County's pilot projects relating to Long Term Rent Assistance, Immigration Legal Services, Legal Services Days, and Renter Relations.

Prior to working at the County, Neisha lead a team at Home Forward on an anti-poverty demonstration project.  Before that she was a civil rights lawyer for 15 years, at Disability Rights Oregon and Legal Aid Services of Oregon, focusing on housing, employment, and public benefits law.  She was a founding member of the Portland Fair Housing Advocacy Committee, the Portland Commission on Disabilities, and has served in leadership roles on the Oregon State Bar Affirmative Action Committee and Disability Law Section, the Home Forward 504 Board, the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities among many other boards and commissions.

Neisha is a native of Chicago, raised in a South Asian immigrant family.  She has a JD from Georgetown University Law Center and a BA, magna cum laude, from Wellesley College.  She lives in NE Portland, with her husband Kurt Tandan and son Ari Tandan.