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Retiring state Rep. Karin Powers, D-Milwaukie, to lead transition with founding executive director over the summer.

COURTESY PHOTOS: BBPDX - Founding executive director Ashley Hentrry (left) and interim executive director Karin Power.The leadership of Business for a Better Portland is in transition.

The organization was founded five years ago and is widely regarded as a liberal alternative to the Portland Business Alliance. The board of directors announced on June 27 that founder executive director Ashley Henry is leaving. Retiring state Rep. Karin Powers, D-Milwaukie, has been hired as interim executive director and will co-lead the organization during a transition period that will last through the summer before a permanent executive director is recruited, a press release on the organization's website said.

"I know first-hand how elected officials look to the business community as innovators, allies, and thought leaders in the hard work of creating community. Business leaders need strong allies and conduits in the work that they do to help shape this city, and I'm grateful to serve as that bridge metaphorically and in this operational transition," Power said in a statement on the website.

Power is also an attorney and currently the administrative director of B Local PDX, an organization of B corporations, a portion that she will be leaving.

After Henry leaves by the end of summer, Power will work closely with the BBPDX board of directors to implement a permanent executive director search that incorporates partner, member, and community input.

"As a longtime civil servant and community changemaker, Karin cares deeply for Portland businesses and the people who create and sustain them," said Henry. "She not only brings her political prowess and business acumen to BBPDX but also a lived commitment to equity and a sense of urgency for change that our organization needs — and our members deserve — now more than ever," Henry said.

The website also said that the organizational structure is changing. Business leaders can still join as members but others now have the opportunity join a companion Friends of BBPDX.

More information about BBPDX is available at

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