Former Observer reporter joins Urban Institute

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Ely Portillo, a longtime reporter for the Charlotte Observer, recently joined UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute as assistant director for outreach and strategic partnerships.  He will oversee the institute’s online engagement activities, including its coverage of regional policy issues and the dissemination of research findings.

A 2009 graduate of Harvard University, Portillo worked at the Observer for the past decade, where he started as a police reporter covering crime, breaking news and the story of a five-legged puppy from Gastonia.  He then moved to the business desk, where he was the paper’s growth and development reporter for many years. He covered Charlotte’s Fortune 500 companies, the city’s airport, growth and transit.

Most recently, he worked on the Metro desk as a government reporter, covering local and state politics.  During that period, Portillo developed a deep understanding of the policy issues affecting the Charlotte region, writing extensively about topics as diverse as transportation, real estate and the impacts of growth on Charlotte’s neighborhoods.

“I’m excited to join the gifted team at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute,” Portillo said. “The issues that they study are the issues that get to the heart of what growth means for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region, and how we can work together to improve this region for everyone.”