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Latinos building political muscle across Oregon

Juan Carlos Gonzalez is the first Hispanic elected to Metro's council in Portland. (Portland Tribune/Jaime Valdez)

Juan Carlos Gonzalez was a high school junior from Forest Grove when he encountered President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., through the Boys Nation leadership program.

Meeting the nation’s first black president made a lasting impression on Gonzalez, the son of Mexican immigrants.

“His campaign slogan was hope. He just activated so many people in the country to think about the United States in the way that he did,” Gonzalez said. “He was larger than life. I thought if he could be the first, I could be first in something else. Glass ceilings could be shattered.”

Gonzalez,  26, director of development and communication at . . .