Portland’s Housing Bureau Director to Depart After Five Years

“Quite simply, I have accomplished what I set out in my time at the bureau.”

Shannon Callahan is leaving her job as director of the Portland Housing Bureau.

That’s according to a letter obtained by WW that Callahan sent to her colleagues Monday morning announcing her departure.

Callahan did not say where she would be working next.

“As I reflect on the last five years, I am proud and honored to have been able to work with you on the singular purpose to provide Portlanders safe, stable and affordable housing,” she wrote. “The time has come, though, for me to move on to new challenges and opportunities. Quite simply, I have accomplished what I set out in my time at the bureau.”

It was not immediately clear why Callahan would leave. Her departure is part of a strange trend: an exodus of the city’s subsidized housing brain trust, as WW reported earlier this month, that is occurring just as tens of millions of dollars arrive to fund low-income housing.

Callahan joined the bureau as director in 2017, shortly after Portland voters approved a $258 million bond issue to build affordable housing units. The bureau says it’s ahead of its construction timeline for the more than 1,300 units slated to open with bond dollars, but the housing emergency that officials declared before Callahan took her position shows no signs of abating.

Four hundred fifty-two of those units are open, and five more complexes funded by the bond are expected to open by the end of the year.

Callahan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Housing Commissioner Dan Ryan’s office has not yet said who would step in as interim director.

Update, 1:30 pm: Commissioner Dan Ryan released a statement at 1:30 pm regarding Callahan’s departure. He said he will conduct a “national search” for the next director, but did not say whether there would be an interim director. Callahan’s last day is Aug. 1.