Central City Concern Launches Search to Replace Ed Blackburn

His successor is expected to be named this summer

In late October, Ed Blackburn will step down as executive director of Central City Concern, a positon he’s held for the past nine years. The board and senior staff have hired a national search firm and expect to name his successor by the end of this summer, according to Katherine Pape, senior director of public affairs. Blackburn will be honored at Central City Concern’s annual luncheon Oct. 10 at the Portland Hilton.

“Over the years, it has been my deep honor to work with many government and civic leaders, donors and partner agencies as we work to transform lives, end homelessness one person at a time, and improve the community at large,” Blackburn said in a statement that appears on Central City Concern’s website.

Blackburn joined Central City Concern in 1992, as director of Hooper Detoxification Center, where thousands of people begin their recovery from drugs/alcohol every year.

During Blackburn’s time as executive director, Central City Concern’s staff has grown from 471 to more than 876 employees. Total annual revenue has grown from $32.3 million to $90.5 million.

Blackburn is a founding board member of Health Share of Oregon, and helped it develop and grow to provide a range of services. He also guided Central City Concern into expanding mental health services by assuming operations of an outpatient clinic in 2008. And, in 2011, he was instrumental in the completion of a new health care facility in downtown Portland that attracted nearly $10 million in federal funding and was completed in 15 months. Central City Concern also assumed operations in 2012 of a court-appointed program that serves people facing intoxicated driving charges, located in east Portland.

By 2018, Central City Concern is on track to have increased its portfolio of affordable housing units by 60 percent as a result of Blackburn’s leadership with an addition of 815 total units, 379 of which will break ground in the summer of 2017 across three buildings on Portland’s east side. The upcoming developments were made possible partly by an unprecedented donation of $21.5 million from six health systems in the Portland, a donation that Blackb8urn facilitated. A new, two-story clinic operation will open in one of the buildings, the Eastside Health Center, located at 122nd and East Burnside.

In 2009, Blackburn was one of 49 people from around the world to be awarded an Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award by the Dalai Lama and the Wisdom in Action foundation for his work at Central City Concern. In 2017, he received a Public Health Hero Award from Multnomah County as well as a Community Champion Award from the Portland Business Alliance.

Diane can be reached at [email protected]

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