In the community, Local government

PHOTO GALLERY: City Councilor Eddie Melendrez on mentees, boxing

A busted jaw in a professional boxing match ended a career in the ring for Ontario’s Eddie Melendrez. Now, he pushes to see that young people in Malheur County to get a chance to advance and learn. He serves now on both the Ontario City Council and the Ontario School Board – serving as a role model that he hopes inspires others to serve.

Ontario City Counciler Eddie Melendrez poses at Ontario City Hall on June 14, 2022. “We need a seat at the table,” said Melendrez, a boxer, artist, and longtime youth advocate. “What are you gonna do to be a part of the solution?”
City Councilor Eddie Melendrez spars with mentee Adam Nungaray in his garage on June 15, 2022, in preparation for Nungaray’s upcoming match. “[Training and mentoring] empowered me to be a better person,” said Melendrez. “To be a good boxer, but a great coach.”
From left to right: Noah Gonzalez, Adam Nungaray, Eddie Melendrez, and Estevan Nungaray. Melendrez poses for a portrait with three of his mentees and his daughter following a boxing training session in his garage on June 15, 2022. “We used to be bad kids when we first met Eddie,” said Estevan Nungaray, who Melendrez met while working as a work crew supervisor at the Malheur County Juvenile Department.
Estevan Nungaray helps Eddie Melendrez fasten his body protector as the two prepare to spar in his garage-turned-gym on June 15, 2022.
Despite losing his boxing gym at the end of 2019, City Councilor Eddie Melendrez has continued to train his mentees – now operating out of his garage at his home in Ontario.
City Councilor Eddie Melendrez spars with a mentee on Wednesday, June 15, 2022. A longtime boxer himself, Melendrez credits boxing for helping him work through his own struggles growing up.
Eddie Melendrez thumbs through a stack of original paintings in his garage, including “The Lost Boy and His Puppy,” a portrait he made of one of his earliest mentees. In addition to boxing and youth advocacy, Melendrez is an avid artist whose subjects include local youths and community members.
City Councilor Eddie Melendrez is tackled by his daughter, niece, and nephew at his home in Ontario.
City Councilor Eddie Melendrez calls for greater community involvement following an appointment review for the Diversity Advisory Committee, which currently has two vacancies. “If you don’t step up, someone will step up for you,” said Melendrez at the June 12, 2022, city council meeting.
Ontario City Counciler Eddie Melendrez at Ontario City Hall on June 14, 2022.


In Ontario, Melendrez finds his voice as councilor, mentor