PORTLAND, Ore. – January 25, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Lee Moore has been elected chair of the Housing Authority of Portland’s (HAP’s) Board of Commissioners for 2010, and Brian Lessler and Amie Pico have been appointed to the nine-member citizen commission. Lessler fills one of the two Gresham seats on the board, and Pico is the new resident commissioner.
Moore, general manager of Clackamas River Water, has served on the HAP board since 2002. During his tenure, he was board liaison and led the Community Advisory Committees for the New Columbia and Humboldt Gardens HOPE VI redevelopments. Together, the projects brought more than $300 million in economic development and nearly 1,000 new affordable housing units to the community.
Moore said he is pleased to have the leadership opportunity during the period HAP will be developing a new strategic plan. He will draw on his extensive management experience in the private and public sectors.
“Poverty knows no boundaries,” he said, “As we think about HAP’s directions over the next several years, we need to keep in mind that poverty is a regional and statewide issue for Oregonians and make sure that our strategies and policies take that into consideration as we focus on our clients in Multnomah County.”
Moore said his personal history also has shaped his view of the importance of affordable housing. “Many of the issues facing people today are the same challenges my family had when I was a child.”
His parents came to Oregon to work in the Kaiser shipyards during World War II. They lived in government housing at Vanport, where Moore was born, and then University Park, as they raised their family, saved, and then bought a home in North Portland. “I know from personal experience how important it is to have affordable housing that doesn’t single anyone out and integrates well into the surrounding neighborhood.
“I also saw how elated my parents were when they achieved their dream of homeownership. Now I am elated to have this opportunity to work in a leadership position with HAP staff to help folks who are striving to improve their lives,” he said.
Lessler Brings Real Estate Development Experience
Brian Lessler, who will represent Gresham and communities in east Multnomah County, brings more than 35 years of real estate development and construction management experience to his new role. He is president of PDG Construction Services, a general contractor with extensive community development experience. PDG expanded from its roots developing Gresham’s Persimmon Country Club Community to building green-certified homes across the metro area, as well as full service construction services on a wide range of commercial and industrial projects. Prior to PDG, Lessler worked in office and business park development and managed commercial real estate for the Koll Company.
Lessler has always valued civic involvement, most recently serving as the president of the East Metro Economic Alliance. He credits his volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, as well as experience his staff has had with Human Solutions, a Gresham-based social services and affordable housing agency, for teaching him the benefits of affordable housing for those in need.
“Housing is a tremendous stabilizing force, particularly for children and their ability to move forward in life,” he said. Lessler, who was asked to serve on the HAP board by Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis, wants to focus on partnerships between the cities of Portland and Gresham in mid-county, where there has been less affordable housing development.
Pico Represents Those HAP Serves
Amie Pico holds the seat on the HAP board that represents the people HAP serves. As resident commissioner, she also becomes co-chair of the agency’s Resident Advisory Committee, a group that works with the Board of Commissioners and staff to review HAP policy.
As a young mother, Pico earned her GED high school equivalency but struggled to make ends meet with minimum wage jobs. With encouragement from her GED teacher and various case managers, she went on to pursue a higher education and join the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program with Housing Works, the housing authority serving central Oregon. Pico set both short-term and long-term goals with the FSS coordinator to work towards economic independence. After completing her associate’s degree program in Bend, Oregon in 2005, she transferred to HAP’s Section 8 program in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree at Portland State University (PSU). During her studies at PSU, Pico started an on-site event-based child care service. In 2008, she received a bachelor of science degree in Child and Family Studies.
“In 2007, I started working with HAP to provide child care at various workshops around the community,” Pico said. “During this time I got to know the agency and really enjoyed working with the families while providing child care. I was inspired to be further involved with the organization.”
In addition to providing the resident perspective on the board, Pico wants to encourage families to connect with community resources that can help empower them to succeed. “I know first hand how challenging it is to find resources while managing life, and I am happy to have the opportunity to help think through innovative ways to make these connections happen for HAP residents,” she said.
About Housing Authority of Portland
The Housing Authority of Portland is a public corporation serving all of Multnomah County. HAP provides housing and housing-related services to those who face barriers due to income, disability or special need. HAP’s housing and rent assistance programs serve 15,000 households throughout the county. A nine-member citizen commission with members recommended by the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the City of Gresham appointed by the Mayor of Portland governs HAP.