The need for strong, independent local journalism
is more urgent than ever. Please support the city we
love by joining Friends of Willamette Week.

Gov. Kate Brown Replaces Her Chief of Staff

Brian Shipley is out. Kristen Leonard is Brown's new chief.

Gov. Kate Brown today replaced her chief of staff, Brian Shipley, with Kristen Leonard, the director of government relations at the Port of Portland.

In a statement Brown released shortly before noon today, she praised Shipley's work.

"Brian's dedication, compassion, and keen understanding of state government were an incredible asset to the state," Brown said. "He stepped up to serve at a unique and difficult time for the state, and I will be forever grateful to him personally for his dedication and his hard work."

The shake-up comes in the wake of damaging information released this week by the Senate Republicans regarding the failure of the governor's $343 million transportation package in June.

Shipley was Brown's point man on complex negotiations surrounding that package. The emails show that the governor's position was based on flawed numbers, and Shipley and his team knew or should have known that 13 days before the deal collapsed on June 23.

Shipley joined Brown's administration in February on after a major success in his previous job: as OSHU's director of government affairs, he was the architect of the university's effort to convince lawmakers in 2014 to contribute $200 million to the university's Knight Cancer Challenge.

Having started his political career with the Oregon Senate Democrats and then worked in the Kulongoski and Kitzhaber administrations, Shipley built strong relationships with key decision makers in the Capitol. Those relationships allowed OHSU match the $500 million that Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife Penny had offered for use in cancer research.