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who we are

We are a boutique government, community, and public affairs’ firm focused on collaborative problem solving, equity and inclusion, issue lobbying, and coalition building.
We help public and private organizations solve their community’s most pressing problems with innovative solutions rooted in equity and collaboration.
At Espousal, equity isn't a hurdle to clear or a box to check—it's at the heart of everything we do. Through our work with clients and in the community, we are committed to advancing diversity, civil rights, authentic community engagement, and innovative solutions resulting in creative, winning outcomes.

Founder & CEO

johnell bell

Founder & CEO

Johnell Bell is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Espousal Strategies LLC, a boutique consultancy that provides government relations, public and stakeholder engagement services to businesses, public-private partnerships, nonprofits, and government agencies. He is also the Chief of Equity Officer for the Interstate Bridge Program.


johnell bell

Chief Executive Officer and Founder

Johnell Bell is chief executive officer of Espousal Strategies LLC, a boutique government, community, and public affairs firm. Through his extensive work in the office of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and his tenure helping lead public entities, he has developed a reputation as a thoughtful, creative strategist and balanced, passionate leader who understands the needs of diverse stakeholders.

Prior to founding Espousal, Johnell served as State Field Director for Senator Merkley where he led the senator’s forward-facing outreach and state field operations. Johnell also served as Director of Diversity and Transit Equity for TriMet where he served as the agency’s Chief Diversity Officer overseeing small business, equity and civil rights. His efforts received national recognition and he helped to set Oregon’s record of awarding over $150 million to DBE firms during the construction of the Orange line. 

A sought-after speaker on public engagement, business development and transit and environmental equity, Johnell’s presented and served on panels for national transportation conferences and organizations, and bodies, and agencies. 


Johnell also served as an advisor to Portland Mayor Tom Potter and Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler. In those roles, Johnell created an economic development office and co-created an office of diversity and inclusion.


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Sr. Director, Equity, People
and Culture

Chief of Staff

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Director of
Government Relations


Director of Business Development & Washington Operations

Director of Community Engagement & Advocacy

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Director of Operations

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Director of Client Services & Strategic Communications


learn more about our services


where we work

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From Portland, OR to Washington, D.C., our team members and projects are located throughout the United States. 

Portland, OR – Headquarters 

Seattle, WA – Satellite Office (opening 2024) 

San Francisco, CA 

Houston, TX 

Anchorage, AK 

Washington, D.C. 

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