BEND, OR -- Board members overseeing Deschutes County’s Coordinated Houseless Response Office are responding to the resignation of the director.
Cheyenne Purrington started last fall and will step down June 9th.
The office is overseen by a board made up of one representative from each city council and a County Commissioner.
Commissioner Patti Adair serves as chair of the oversight board and says the agency has made progress on addressing homelessness, “We have a lot of good things to look at. I really wanted more answers on what is working. What is working in Deschutes County and I think I can really happily say that the safe parking programs in Bend and Redmond are really making a difference.” She pointed to Bethlehem Inn and the Veterans Village as other successes.
Bend councilor and board member Megan Perkins was not surprised by Purrington's resignation, “There have been discussions going on for a while. I think we all acknowledge, and I think Cheyenne acknowledges that it wasn’t a good fit. While I’m sad to see her leave I think it was the best decision.”
Perkins says it’s important in the days ahead for the board to discuss an operational plan for the next 30 to 60 days, “The most important thing that we need to do is really talk from the beginning about what roles and responsibilities we have as cities and as a county.”
Adair agrees the board needs to look at other areas for potential solutions, including a statement made in Purrington’s resignation letter that more staffing is needed for the office, “I definitely will take her ideas under advisement. I just know what the state recommendations are.”
A $1-million state grant funds the Office.
Purrington will step down June 9th; neither board member could say why the resignation isn’t immediate.