“The city should belong to everyone who lives here, not just Portland’s wealthiest residents.”
My name is Nicholas Caleb. I’m a 30 year old university professor. Born and raised in Klamath Falls, Oregon, I am the son of a district attorney and a rock & roll singer.
After high school, I attended Concordia University where I received a biology degree and, more importantly, mentoring and direction from positive and progressive professors. I attended law school at the University of Oregon because of its focus on public interest law and am currently a member of the Oregon State Bar. While at U of O, I often traveled internationally while teaching animal behavior and genetics to undergraduates. I also worked as a clerk at the Oregon Department of Justice and served as an extern at the Federal District Court of Oregon for the Honorable Ann Aiken. My most significant, life-changing experience came from a summer spent as a policy analyst at Vandana Shiva’s Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology in Delhi, India. This experience forced me to grapple with the destructive effects of globalization on impoverished peoples around the globe, forever changing the direction of my life.
After receiving my law degree, I moved to Europe to earn an LL.M. in Law & Technology from Tilburg University in the Netherlands. Even more important than the high quality education were the valuable social, cultural, and political experiences that come with immersion in a foreign culture. As one of few Americans in my university, and the only in this particular graduate program, I served as a de facto ambassador for the American approach to law, life, and culture in the classroom. During the so-called ‘Affordable Healthcare Act’ debate, I was repeatedly challenged to explain why the wealthiest country in the history of the world openly refused to provide health care to all of its citizens when Europeans had accomplished this feat long ago. I left Europe with the strong belief that living in a society with a strong social safety net is not some abstract idea, but an achievable reality if people desire it enough and are willing to fight for it.
Since 2011, I’ve been employed as a professor at Concordia University in Portland where I teach courses on government, cultural geography, environmental sciences, introductory biology, environmental negotiations, and speech. I’ve been involved in a variety of social and environmental justice campaigns ranging from fossil fuel export opposition, to anti-austerity organizing, to supporting local teachers unions. The last 3 years have been an incredible learning experience from the hundreds of intelligent, hard-working community members I’ve met here. I’m lucky and happy to be surrounded by such energetic, talented, well-meaning people. It’s exciting to imagine what we can accomplish together to make Portland into the clean, livable, equitable place it can and should be.