Head of BHCD resigns

Street Roots had been hearing lots of rumors over the past week about the departure of the Bureau of Housing and Community Development Director, Will White. Turns out those rumors had some merit.

Here’s the letter sent to Street Roots by White this afternoon. A letter sent out by Commissioner Nick Fish follows.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you know, Commissioner Fish and Mayor Adams announced in December the creation of a new Bureau of Housing, combining resources and personnel currently at BHCD with those of PDC’s housing department. At the same time, BHCD’s Economic Opportunity Initiative will move to PDC, resulting in a Commission more strongly focused on economic development.

Along with many of you, I have long advocated for structural changes to create an integrated system to set policy for housing and homelessness, allocate resources to support those policies, and manage housing assets more efficiently.

As Commissioner Fish takes responsibility to lay the groundwork for this new bureau, I know that he wants to be free to create a clear new mission, develop a strong bureau structure, blend organizational cultures, and select new leadership. That is a very large responsibility, and it appropriately rests with the Commissioner of Housing.

To allow Commissioner Fish the fullest latitude to implement his vision, I have decided to leave my position as Director of BHCD effective February 13th. I expect that Commissioner Fish will announce his selection of an Interim Director for BHCD later today.

I am proud of all we have accomplished while working together for the last 15 years. I wish all of you great success in the future, and am confident that I will continue to be in close contact with many of you going forward.

Thank you for your friendship and support over the years.

Sincerely,

Will

Director, Bureau of Housing and Community Development
421 SW 6th Ave, Suite 1100
Portland, OR 97204
(503) 823-2380

Via Nick Fish…

Today I accepted the resignation of Will White, Director of the Bureau of Housing and Community Development.

Will has made an invaluable contribution to the City and has a notable record of service and accomplishments. Under his leadership, BHCD has achieved success with the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, empowered people to self sufficiency through the Economic Opportunity Initiative, and developed and preserved housing to serve seniors, families with children, people of color, and our lowest income populations.

It has been my good fortune, as the City’s Housing Commissioner, to have had the benefit of Will’s experience during my first six months as Housing Commissioner. I am grateful that he will continue his service with the City through February 13, 2009, and will continue to serve me as an advisor in the future.

As BHCD is preparing to transition its operations and programs to the newly-created Portland Housing Bureau, I do not intent to hire a replacement for Will. Instead, I will conduct a search for a director to lead the new Portland Housing Bureau.

I have asked the Bureau’s Deputy Director, Andy Miller, to serve as interim Executive Director. Andy will assume responsibility for leading day-to-day operations of BHCD effective February 13.

Kate Allen, Housing Policy Manager for the City of Portland, will continue to manage the City’s efforts to transition PDC housing and BHCD into the Portland Housing Bureau.

If you have any questions regarding the hiring of a new director for the Portland Housing Bureau, please contact Sam Chase at 503-823-3599.

Sincerely,
Nick Fish

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