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Commissioner Hardesty Announces Interim Director for Civic Life

News Article
On Thursday, May 20, Commissioner-in-Charge Jo Ann Hardesty announced Michael Montoya as the Office of Community & Civic Life Interim Director. The following is Commissioner Hardesty's full statement.

Commissioner Hardesty is pleased to announce Michael Montoya as the interim director for the Office of Community & Civic Life. For the past 21 months, Montoya has served as Civic Life’s strategy, innovation & performance manager. “The Office of Community and Civic Life will require what I believe will be a year of change transformation and healing” says Hardesty. She continues, “I believe Michael Montoya is the leader for the moment to help us navigate this difficult time – but that ultimately we will come out of this work a stronger, more resilient and more responsive bureau. I look forward to working with Michael during this time and to support him in the work ahead. Our community and our employees at Civic Life require us to rise to the challenge of this moment.”

Michael is a well-rounded and deeply experienced community practitioner, manager, and scholar with more than 20 years of experience designing and implementing equity-based service programs and policies. Commissioner Hardesty values this experience as well as his time at Civic Life, making him the right choice to lead the bureau during this time.

Prior to joining the City, Montoya held academic appointments at the University of California – Irvine in the departments of Chicanx/Latinx Studies, Anthropology & Public Health, where he was a champion of community-driven research and authentic community engagement. Prior to graduate school, Montoya held an array of positions in the nonprofit sector. Throughout his career, Montoya has worked with environmental justice organizations, hospital community benefits programs, neighborhood associations, universities, government departments, national and regional nonprofit organizations, school districts, and foundations working directly with planners, senior administrators, workforce developers, organizers, educators and law enforcement. 

He likes to describe himself as ridiculously realistic and hopelessly optimistic. “It is with somber enthusiasm that I accept the position as Interim Director for the Office of Community & Civic Life,” notes Montoya. “There is so much good but hard work to do. I know this will not be easy, but we hope that our upcoming actions will model our dedication to the community in the coming weeks and months ahead. I have confidence in the people within our bureau to demonstrate the human capacity to heal and grow. As we work to build upon our incredible core strengths in serving all Portlanders, I intend to harness the wisdom of those who have worked in and with Civic Life for years while supporting the energies and ideas of those more recently added to our team. I can think of no better organization than the Office of Community & Civic Life to dedicate my skills, integrity and expertise.”

A recruitment process will not begin until significant work has been accomplished as part of an overall strategic planning and change process. That work will be identified and completed in consultation with Interim Director Montoya through a Request For Proposal process.