Beaverton and Hillsboro chambers will share leadership
The Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce has found its new president and chief executive officer: Deanna Palm, longtime head of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce that serves the city right next door.
But Palm isn't going anywhere. The Beaverton Chamber will share leadership with the Hillsboro Chamber, with Palm assuming a dual role that will keep her in the position she's held with the Hillsboro Chamber for nearly two decades while also taking the reins at the Beaverton Chamber.
The two chambers — Washington County's largest — announced the novel arrangement Wednesday, Feb. 24. The move will be effective on Monday, March 1.
"2020 taught us to be agile and have the ability to pivot and look at ways to serve our members in a much greater way," Palm said in a statement. "I am excited to be stepping into this expanded role to serve our community."
The Beaverton Chamber says Palm will oversee its staff and operations. Under the new shared contract, Palm will serve as president and chief executive officer for both chambers.
"Our board unanimously selected Deanna as we continue the successful leadership and drive toward the prosperous future of the BACC," said Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce Chair Keith Wright. "We believe Deanna will provide the right leadership at the right time as we work to elevate Beaverton-area local businesses, organizations and service providers."
Palm is well known in Washington County, as she has been president of the Hillsboro Chamber since 2001. Prior to her role in Hillsboro, she served as vice president at the former Portland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce from 1984 to 2001.
"This effort will provide increased opportunities to Washington County business owners including amplifying advocacy efforts and strengthening economic prosperity," said Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Jayne Bond. "We look at this as a win, win, win for our members and community."
Palm was also appointed as a board member for Portland Community College, where she was once a student, in 2009. She was elected to four-year terms in 2011 and 2015 and served for a time as board chair. She didn't seek re-election in 2019.
Last year, Palm gained more regional attention as a vocal opponent of Metro's $5.2 billion transportation measure, which she argued would unfairly burden businesses at an inopportune time. Voters rejected that measure at the November election.
The Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce said goodbye last year to its longtime president and chief executive officer. Lorraine Clarno, who had led the Beaverton Chamber since 2000, resigned to take a job in Montana. That left the Beaverton Chamber searching for new direction in the new year, ultimately leading to the agreement with the Hillsboro Chamber that was announced Wednesday.
The Beaverton and Hillsboro chambers are Washington County's two largest chambers and business advocacy groups, and they are among the largest business organizations in the state by both revenue and membership statistics.
Hillsboro and Beaverton are the largest cities on Portland's Westside, with Hillsboro's population last estimated at just under 110,000 by the U.S. Census Bureau and Beaverton's population estimated just under 100,000.
However, Beaverton is surrounded on three sides by unincorporated suburban areas that are also served by the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce — including Aloha, a community of about 50,000 that lies in between Beaverton and Hillsboro.
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