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Nelson was a senior policy advisor on homelessness and police for Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Berk Nelson speaks with the media during a March 11 press coference at City Hall.A top staffer at City Hall has taken a new job in government affairs for a bank with billions in the vault.

Berk Nelson — who served as Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's senior policy advisor on law enforcement and homelessness — will now work as vice president of government relations for Umpqua Bank, according to his LinkedIn page.

Nelson has advised the mayor since January, 2017, and was a key player in the relocation of organized homeless village Right 2 Dream Too from downtown to the east bank of the Willamette River near the Moda Center.

"This has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me because I have gained immeasurable insight into how government serves the community," Nelson said in a statement announcing his departure. "I am grateful to the mayor for giving me this opportunity."

Nelson was involved in examining alternatives to the first responders rushing toward non-emergency police calls. He also liaised with Multnomah County on mental health issues.

Wheeler says he'll remember his former counselor fondly. "He brought a wealth of intelligence and ideas to this challenging position. I have been lucky to have such a talented, hardworking advisor over the last two years," the mayor noted.

Nelson's last day was Friday, March 15.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to remove information that is disputed. A previous version of this story relied on reports from other local media without reaching out to both sides for their comment.


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