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Columbia Pacific Food Bank sacks director

Board is seeking interim director and permanent, strategic leader


by: MARK MILLER - The Columbia Pacific Food Bank headquarters in St. Helens. Board President Ken Gates said the nonprofit organization, which serves all of Columbia County, is looking for a new facility. The Columbia Pacific Food Bank is searching for an interim executive director after its board of directors dismissed longtime director Tracie Smith last week.

Board President Ken Gates said Wednesday, Sept. 25, that Smith was fired as executive director of the St. Helens-based nonprofit organization last Thursday.

“The board made a decision to terminate her employment contract,” said Gates.

He added, “Nonprofit boards are always a challenge, and every so often, you just have to step up and be courageous, and this was one of those moments for this board.”

The food bank’s board is looking for someone to fill in as the organization’s director, overseeing day-to-day operations and working with the board, for 60 to 90 days, Gates said.

“One of the tasks of the interim director is to help us search for the full permanent [director],” Gates added.

A more detailed job description is available at the food bank’s website. Gates said the interim director could end up being a candidate for the permanent position.

The Columbia Pacific Food Bank is the regional food bank for the Oregon Food Bank. It distributes food to member agencies, which in turn provide that aid to those in need.

“What we want to be is a lot more strategic in terms of how we make decisions, in terms of how we use our resources,” said Gates, adding, “The needs of this community are just going to grow, grow, grow, and we’re going to have to feed more and more hungry people that are looking for assistance.”

The board is also hoping to move from the food bank’s headquarters at 474 Milton Way in St. Helens. Gates said the nonprofit will look for a larger, “newer and more efficient space” and will even consider properties outside the St. Helens area.

“This is just brainstorming time and planting seeds and see how they grow,” Gates said.