Commissioner Nick Fish announced Portland's new housing director in an email to his colleagues on the city council, the Mercury learned this morning. And the name should be familiar to anyone who follows homelessness issues in Portland.

It's Traci Manning, chief operating officer for Central City Concern and a member of the Portland Housing Advisory Commission (PHAC). Manning will take over in October, according to Fish's office. She'll replace outgoing director Margaret Van Vliet, who was tapped by Governor John Kitzhaber this summer to lead the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department.

Manning has worked at Central City Concern since 1993 and recently has helped the nonprofit on projects like the new Crisis Assessment and Treatment Center in inner Southeast. CCC also is building a $19 million clinic over what once was an infamously troubled Burger King at Broadway and Burnside downtown.

Update 12:25 PM: I just spoke with Manning, who said her colleagues at CCC were just getting the news and reacting with "mixed emotions." She said she approached the city about the post—adding that she was "incredibly intrigued with the idea of working on the same issues, but from a public service angle."

At CCC, Manning ran operations for an organization with a $41 million budget and 600 employees. At Housing, she'll preside over just 62 workers but a $99 million budget. Manning prides herself on building relationships with the Portland Police Bureau, local governments, other nonprofits, and the Portland Business Alliance. She says that will remain her focus at the Housing Bureau.

"It's a direction I've seen them starting to go, and it's one that hopefully I can continue," she said.

Moreover, Manning says, serving on the bureau's advisory committee means she's already familiar with the bureau's newly adopted strategic plan—as well as with the challenges of finding new cash once the bureau's urban renewal tax spigot starts going dry after this fiscal year.

Read the email from Fish's office, and check out a chart showing the housing bureau's budget woes, after the cut.


I'm pleased to announce my selection of Traci Manning as the new Director for the Portland Housing Bureau.

Traci brings strong relationships with our community and jurisdictional partners, a commitment to PHB's Strategic Plan and Equity Agenda, and almost two decades of experience in housing and community development. She has strong management experience and is committed to the continued growth and development of our talented PHB employees.

Over the past month, I reached out to bureau employees, stakeholders, and community members to discuss the process for filling this position and the qualifications I should look for in the next director.
They told me our next director should:

Maintain the momentum of our successes over the past two years

Continue PHB's commitment to equity and social justice

Strengthen partnerships with community and government partners

Integrate housing policy with broader community development goals

Bring strong operational management experience

Foster a culture of openness, transparency, and continual learning

Following these discussions, and considering the future of the bureau, I concluded that Traci Manning best meets our needs.

Traci currently serves as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Central City Concern (CCC), a non-profit that provides housing to people experiencing homelessness and connects clients with benefits and links to the workforce system. As COO, Traci manages CCC's Business Enterprises, Employment, Healthcare, Housing, Recovery and Engagement, and Supportive Housing programs.

Traci began her career at CCC in 1993 as a receptionist, quickly moving into fundraising and public affairs before settling into housing development. Traci spent nine years in this role and led the renovation, acquisition, or construction of 7 buildings representing 770 units of the agency's portfolio.

She is a member of the Portland Housing Advisory Commission, PHB's volunteer public advisory body, and previously served as a board member of what is now called Oregon Opportunity Network.

Traci's first day as Director will be October 17. She will build on the strong foundation left by former Director Margaret Van Vliet, and she will lead the talented senior management team of Jacob Fox, Alissa Mahar, and Daniel Ledezma.

Please join me in welcoming Traci to the Portland Housing Bureau.