Jerralynn Ness, the longtime executive director of Community Action — a nonprofit serving Washington County’s low-income residents — announced Wednesday she plans to retire before the end of 2015.

Ness worked with Community Action’s board of directors to develop a leadership transition plan, according to a press release.

Community Action is currently recognizing its 50th year of service. Ness has been its director since 1984.

"Seeing Community Action through its 50th anniversary year was my final goal and dream,” said Ness. "It has been a privilege to have been a part of Community Action … eliminating causes and conditions of poverty in our local communities."

Ness informed board members of her retirement plans May 20.

"There aren’t many like Jerralynn,” said Ronald Sarazin, Community Action’s board chairman. "Her nearly 43 years of service to Community Action is truly inspiring. During that time she has transformed the organization, exhibited extraordinary leadership in helping thousands of struggling Oregonians find their way and built a solid foundation for Community Action to continue making a difference for years to come.”

The board will lead the effort to hire the next executive director. Its goal is to complete the selection by August.

Ness is a past recipient of the Washington County Museum’s Heart of Washington County Award and the Emma C. McKinney Distinguished Citizen Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce.

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