The director of the Coordinated Houseless Response Office (CHRO) in Deschutes County is stepping down less than nine months after taking the job.
Deschutes County announced Tuesday night that Cheyenne Purrington’s last day will be June 9. Central Oregon Daily News obtained a copy of Purrington’s resignation letter.
“As the sole Office employee for many months, I gained important insights into the Office’s functions and dysfunctions – as it moved from concept to reality. I’m mindful that ours is just one of several pilot communities funded as part of an untested idea, with the goal of determining what works, what doesn’t, and what needs to change. I accepted this position in that spirit of learning, collaborating and bending the curve on homelessness at a regional scale,” Purrington wrote.
The letter includes a number of recommendations Purrington has for the office going forward.
“So, in conjunction with this repositioning plan and after careful consideration, I’m resigning from the role of Director. I’ve been honored to serve the residents of Deschutes County and will continue to champion the incredible work underway throughout our community,” she wrote.
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Purrington stepped into the leadership role of the new office last September. It’s stated goal was to make Central Oregon’s houseless response system stronger.
“We thank Cheyenne for her service and her work to establish the Coordinated Houseless Response Office,” said Nick Lelack, Deschutes County Administrator.
Deschutes County and the Cities of Bend, La Pine, Redmond and Sisters are recipients of House Bill 4123, which is providing $1 million in grant funding for houseless response. But certain goals must be met.
Purrington told Central Oregon Daily News Monday the office is on track with the grant requirements. She claims over half of the goals are completed, but more could be done if she had more help. Purrington said she is the only full-time member of the office and said she has requested two full-time staff members aside from herself.
We also spoke with the CHRO board’s chair and vice-chair, Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair and Bend City Councilor Megan Perkins, who gave varying answers as to how effective Purrington and the office has been.
Purrington previously served as the Executive Director of the Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless in California.