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County museum board fires director

by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: DOUG BURKHARDT - Sam Shogren, seen here in November 2013 as the Washington County Museum celebrated one year in its new downtown location at the Civic Center, had served as the museums executive director since 2008.Sam Shogren, executive director of the Washington County Museum for the last six years, was terminated Friday, June 20, by the museum’s board of directors.

Board president Betty Atteberry said Wednesday morning the vote was 7-1 in favor of firing Shogren, whose exit was immediate. She said the panel is “looking at going in a different direction” with museum operations and that “we think somebody else could be in a better position to handle that.”

Shogren — who formerly worked in museums in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia and Wisconsin — was hired in 2008. Since then, he helped put in place programs with a more culturally-oriented flavor, including focuses on the Bracero Program in Washington County; a history of Native Americans in the region called “This Kalapuya Land”; a photographic exhibit of Fanno Creek; and the growth of the county’s Silicon Forest. He also oversaw the expansion of the Washington County Museum from Portland Community College’s Rock Creek campus to the second floor of the Hillsboro Civic Center in 2012. And, under his leadership, the museum began showcasing local artists and hosting “after-hour” events aimed at a younger audience.

But the museum has struggled with attendance even after its move downtown.

“Obviously, Sam has done a lot for the museum,” said Atteberry, who lives in the Bethany area. “But we need to expand our recognition in the community, and we felt we needed to find a different person.”

Atteberry said the board is working with the Nonprofit Association of Oregon to locate an interim director until a permanent museum director can be found.

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