During Cascadia’s annual December Board meeting, held on December 13, 2012, we thanked outgoing Directors of the Board for their service, bid them farewell, and welcomed new members.

Outgoing members include Commander Donna Henderson of the Portland Police Department, who served over the past few years. Matt Cohen and Gregg Lowe concluded their service in 2012; both served Cascadia and pre-Cascadia organizations for many years. Former Board Chair Michael Kaplan resigned upon taking a new job in Washington DC in November.

I am very sad to tell you of Gregg Lowe’s death in December. He served continuously beginning in 1986. He was a Multnomah Circuit Court judge, and a very good friend to Cascadia and the systems that serve people with mental illnesses. We will miss his support and expertise.

With departures come new perspectives, and this year Cascadia is fortunate to welcome four amazing new Board members!

Amy Zulich, is the Executive Director of Mental Health of America, Oregon (MHAO). She leads the Peer Link technical assistance program that MHAO has had in place the past couple of years – a national program with a multi-million dollar SAMHSA grant. She coordinated the annual Alternatives conference, a national conference that was held in Portland last fall. She uses her personal and professional experiences with wellness and mental health recovery to power her service and advocacy efforts. Amy is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

Chris Burley, an officer in the Portland Police Department, was formerly a teacher and remains invested in the youth of Portland, donating his time and energy to kids who otherwise might not have much of a chance — he appears in schools, takes kids under his wing and mentors them, and works in the Portland Police Gang Enforcement Team. His very personal connection to mental health began as an officer involved in the incident between Keaton Otis and police in May 2010. Keaton was pulled over because of erratic driving and unbeknownst to anyone had a gun with him, and shot Chris in the leg. Subsequent to that, the other officers returned fire and sadly, Keaton was killed. Keaton was Board Chair Felesia Otis’s son, had suffered with mental illness for several years, and had very much struggled in getting connected to services. Felesia and Chris have since become close friends and founded an organization called Friends of Keaton, working to get legislative funding support for early psychosis programs. Chris was the first police officer to work in our Mobile Crisis Unit program when it began in spring of 2011, with Meg Kaveny.

Barry Kast may be a familiar name to some of you who have been around for awhile. Barry worked as the lead administrator for addictions and mental health (AMH) for the State of Oregon before retiring a few years ago, and then serving on the PSRB as a Board member for several years. He has a master’s degree in English and also an MSW from PSU (1975). He worked as a clinician in an inpatient setting, then as a program manager at Benton County MH, before assuming top leadership positions at Benton County, and finally the State of Oregon.

Cascadia’s fourth new Board Director is Jonathan Eames. Jon is well-known and well-connected throughout Oregon as a lobbyist for Cascadia, OPERA (Oregon Prevention Education & Recovery Association – on which our own Amy Baker holds an office), ORPA (Oregon Residential Providers Association – on which Eric represents Cascadia), and other health-related organizations. Jon has been extremely helpful in getting mental health and addictions system issues in front of the legislature and governor’s office.

With these changes in members and a new calendar year, the Board has established new leadership. Felesia Otis is Board Chair, she has served the Board for a couple of years; Felesia is a director at VOA.  Keith Hyde is Vice-Chair, is the CEO of Providence Milwaukie Hospital, and has formerly served the Board as Finance Committee Chair and as Interim Chair after Michael Kaplan left. Kelly VavRosky is Finance Committee Chair and a relatively new Board member who has a very strong finance background, and has served as CFO for various high-tech firms.

Welcome new members and thank you for your service to Cascadia.

View the complete list of the Cascadia Board of Directors