In a 2007 interview about her Ward 7 Eugene City Council seat, Andrea Ortiz told EW that something she treasured about Eugene was this: “We put such a high value on humans, how we live our lives, the quality of education and the environment.”
Ortiz, who was born May 4, 1957, in Riverside, California, died Jan. 20 of bronchitis that turned into pneumonia. As the outpouring on social media shows, her fellow humans put a high value on the former city councilor and longtime community activist.
On top of Ortiz’s two elected terms on the City Council — she stepped down in 2012 to take a position at PeaceHealth’s Sacred Heart Hospital — she was a key figure in getting a police auditor, served on the Bethel School Board and on the Kids’ FIRST Center board, volunteered at the Oregon Country Fair and worked with Centro Latino Americano, says her daughter-in-law Keri Ortiz.
Keri Ortiz, who is married to one of Andrea’s three sons, Raoul, adds: “Those are just her public accomplishments. Privately, she was ‘mom’ to any kid who needed a safe place and a hot meal. She didn’t pass judgment but offered advice. She told me multiple times that ‘everyone is someone’s child.’ That philosophy was the driving force in all her work on behalf of the homeless and low-income community.”
Former mayor Kitty Piercy wrote of Ortiz’s passing on Facebook, saying, “I cherished her honesty, her commitment to justice and her deep love of her family. I counted on her understanding of the needs of people who struggle with jobs and take care of their families.”
Of the outpouring and recognition for Andrea Ortiz, Keri Ortiz says, “She really devoted a lot of herself for our community. While she never did it for the recognition, I know this will make her smile.”
Keri Ortiz says a memorial is not yet planned, but donations can be made to the Andrea Ortiz Medical Fund at SELCO Community Credit Union to help pay for Andrea Ortiz’s medical bills, or community members can make a donation in Andrea Ortiz’s name to Kids’ FIRST or another children’s charity.