About Me

Joseph Emerson in a white shirt with a floral blue tie and blue trousers stands with his hands on his hips. He is wearing a brown belt and a watch on his left wrist. The background is a sunlit park with tall trees bearing golden autumn leaves, and a well-kept lawn scattered with fallen leaves, suggesting a bright autumn day

My father served in the Air Force as part of an F-15 crew. I was born in Okinawa, Japan, and my family followed his military career around the world. I attended elementary school in Saudi Arabia and my early high school years in South Korea. I grew up across the country, from Arizona to Missouri, Texas to New Jersey.

Joseph Emerson with his father in front of a Korean night market bustling with neon signboards. On the left, Joseph sports a laughable flame-patterned shirt over a Dragon Ball Z tee. To the right, Dad holds a small bonsai tree. The foreground shows a variety of goods on display, suggesting a vibrant street market scene.

I studied philosophy at Western Washington University and obtained my Master's degree in philosophy from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

My partner and I left academia looking for ways to live an impactful life. We aspired to join a community of people doing good things and building a safer, happier world for everyone. In 2014, we moved to Portland so that I could study programming and hopefully find ways of helping people through technology. The vegan restaurants were good, and we never wanted to leave.

Joseph Emerson with a beard, wearing a black T-shirt, cycling shorts, and a bicycle helmet, stands straddling a mountain bike beside a flowing river. The river is surrounded by lush greenery and trees, with some rocks visible in the water.

I learned the streets on Portland's first Postmates bike fleet. My wife helped build XRAY.FM. We got married in the backyard of a small house we rented in Concordia, and our daughter was born there, too. Even after living around the world, I want her to grow up here and see Portland become its best self.

Portland has everything that any of the world's greatest cities have. We have history, natural resources, beautiful spaces, thriving industry, and, most importantly, passionate, brilliant, talented people who care. We can do all of the fantastic things those cities are doing here. We can do much more! Portland can be a place that the rest of the world looks to for innovative ideas, ambitious civic projects, and inspiration for building healthy communities.

The first step is to trust each other. With trust, we can empower our neighbors and communities to name their hardships, invent solutions, and move boldly toward a bright future we all can share.

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