Below you will find the list of candidates for the 2014 OHDS Elections and their bios. Three positions are opening on the board this year. Voting will take place at the Annual Dinner in April which is for members of the OHDS. If you aren’t a member or you need to renew your membership you can do that by going here.

The Meet and Greet will be taking place in March and details will be announced via email. If you are not on our email list please email Bethany Ramsey at bramsey12[at]

Rachel Shock Brannon

As a child, I thought, “When I grow up, I’ll live in the Oregon District.” Perhaps, these are the thoughts of an only child who grows up in an historic home, around countless remodels and radial arm saws set up in the dining room. My parents restored two historic homes in Miamisburg while I was growing up, so I’ve been starring in my own “This Old House” episode for as long as I can remember. My parents and I made frequent trips to the Oregon District to look at the homes, and living there always seemed like a dream. The dream started to come true in 2011 when I made an offer on a house on Green Street. Just a few days later, my husband John proposed to me on the front steps…in the rain. There would be no stopping my love affair with the Oregon District now! After I closed on the home, John and I began an extensive remodel, which ended with our wedding vows in the gazebo at Newcom Founder’s Park. I’ve been proud to share my dream come true with others as we opened up our home for the Oregon District Christmas Tour, welcoming hundreds of guests into our home. It has always felt like home here, having graduated right down the street at the University of Dayton. I now work as a high school English teacher at Northmont High School and at Olive in the summer. We have two dogs, Sarge and Lola, who can be seen walking us around the neighborhood. I want to share the passion and enthusiasm I have for this neighborhood, and help it flourish and thrive. I want people to cherish it, love it, and protect it. I am excited to be here, and I want to do everything I can so everyone else is excited to be here – whether they are living here, they are visiting, or they are dreaming!

Deb Burger

My name is Deborah Burger and my husband and I own and live in the condominiums at 26 – 28 1/2 Green St. We have been married for 43 years, have 3 children and 7 grandchildren. I am a Registered Nurse and also have a Bachelor’s in Health Services Administration. I was the Program Developer for Health, Disabilities and Nutrition for Head Start for Montgomery, Clark and Madison counties. My husband and I have been life long residents of the Dayton area and were thrilled when Mike Martin found us a property in the Oregon Historic District that needed restoration. We have restored two of the three units and currently working on the third. In all of the units we used salvaged materials when possible and when needed replicated architectural features to match the period. The architectural integrity of the home was always utmost in our minds. This past summer we were asked to participate in the Garden Tour and were amazed how interested visitors were in the architecture of not only our home but of the entire Oregon Historic District.

I would like to serve on the Board of Trustees to continue to foster the sense of community that exists and to preserve what has been started by others many years ago. Keeping the integrity of the Oregon Historic District is important to me not only for the present but for others who will come and appreciate its beauty as I have. I hope you will consider me for the Board.

Jeff Gonya

Leslie and I moved to the Oregon District in July 2002 with the wide-eyed idea of opening a Bed and Breakfast. We figured that if we could make enough from the B&B to offset the difference in expenses and it allowed us to live in a bigger house, then we would call it a success. Twelve years and two additional properties later, we think we are doing OK.

I graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. When it comes to home improvement and restoration, that degree translates to theoretically knowing what to do. Actual execution is another story. I have found that I am very good at demolition and grunt work. I am willing to try, and to help, but I have learned where my skills are limited.

Over the past 12 years, I have volunteered in a number of positions. After being residents just a couple of months, we volunteered our kitchen for the caterer and our electricity for the band at the 30th Anniversary Gala. I’ve been alley sweep organizer, picnic host, holiday tour guide, gazebo decorator, Priority Board Rep, wheel barrel pusher for park planting, assistant gazebo painter, and pretty much whatever else anyone has asked me to help with. I ran for trustee several years ago and lost. Undeterred by defeat, I am running again.

If elected, I will serve to the best of my ability. If not, I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing. Our great neighborhood has many opportunities for service. Whether as a trustee or clearing sidewalks, I will serve wherever I’m needed.

Katie Joseph

I received my BS-Accounting from the University of Dayton, and am currently the Payroll Manager for the Montgomery County Auditor.

In my youth, mom and I visited downtown Dayton often, and she would always drive through the Oregon District admiring the homes and dreaming that we would one day own one. My dream came true when my husband Russ and I moved into 443 East 6th

I love the community spirit, the neighborhood activities, the liveliness of the business district and the close proximity to everything downtown has to offer. On any given day, you might see Russ, me and our son, Eli riding our bikes down to Riverscape, playing baseball in the park or walking to Blind Bob’s for Friday night dinner.

I acknowledge that becoming a trustee on the OHDS is a big commitment but so is raising a family in an urban area such as the Oregon District. Because of that, I want to be able to do my part to make sure the neighborhood is safe and family friendly while maintaining the true spirit of the Oregon District. Part of that commitment is getting involved and being a voice for our neighbors to make sure that the property, affairs and finances of the Oregon District Historical Society are being managed in a manner that is in the overall best interest of our unique community.

Omar J. Peters

My name is Omar Peters and I live at 33 Tecumseh in a small studio that is owned by my wonderful neighbors Jervis Janney and Sam Skidmore. Before moving to Dayton, I spent a large portion of my youth in Brooklyn, NY, where I attended a Catholic high school, then studied City and Regional Planning at the University at Albany, NY. During my studies, I grew passionate about the restoration of vibrant historic places. Therefore, when I moved here three years ago to begin my career as a Transportation Planner at the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC), it was a great pleasure to discover the gem that is the Oregon Historic District.

The Oregon District exemplifies everything I am passionate about because it’s a walkable, diverse, vibrant and restored historic neighborhood. It is for those reasons that I’ve been an active volunteer in and around the neighborhood to help maintain its historic charm and vibrancy. I have volunteered for neighborhood events including as a guide for the Holiday Tour in 2013 and at Hauntfest in 2012. I’ve also assisted with the neighborhood’s social media (like Nextdoor) and helped promote events such as the Garden Tour and Christmas Tour. I am a Board Member of UpDayton, and in 2012, helped organize the mural painting of the pedestrian bridge over US 35 that connects our neighborhood to South Park. I also volunteer for the Activated Spaces program, which fills vacant Downtown retail properties with “pop-up” stores such as Sew Dayton, Spice Paradise, and American Pi.

Although I’m not originally from Dayton, I have developed an immense love and passion for this city and our neighborhood. I want to continue doing work that helps foster the historic nature of our neighborhood, while also ensuring that it is an engaging and vibrant place for all its residents. I would be honored and excited to serve this wonderful community that has made me feel so welcomed.