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The nonprofit community resource, reopened after PP&R closed it, now has a new fulltime Director

DAVID F. ASHTON - Newly promoted to Sellwood Community Houses Executive Director, Ashley Asbjornsen says shes up to meeting the challenges of running the nonprofit Center - even in this time of COVID-19. As 2021 began, one of the key staff members at the Sellwood Community House (SCH) was promoted to a new position. Ashley Asbjornsen was named the first permanent Executive Director of the nonprofit facility at S.E. Spokane and 15th, which was called "Sellwood Community Center" until Portland Parks closed it recently for budgetary reasons. It then was restarted, under its new name, by the community.

Asbjornsen joined the Community House in October 2019, and recently served as its Education Program Director.

About the selection process, Asbjornsen told THE BEE, "The Board decided to hire this position from within the organization.

"During the COVID-19 restrictions and closures, I had the opportunity to support and help navigate the Community House, alongside our interim Executive Director, through a transition – getting the facility on the best possible footing during the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape."

With her change of responsibilities, her focus at Sellwood Community House now is, "Expanding from how we can best serve children and families, to how we can best serve our community in its entirety – cultivating the Community House as a home away from home for our community members."

THE BEE asked about the top challenges she's facing. Asbjornsen named three:

· Keeping up with restrictions in programming, and what is allowable under the ever-changing COVID-19 related restrictions; and, at the same time focusing on what we can do – and maintaining an over 100-year-old building

· Recruiting for committee members for our Building Committee

· Doing all this with limited staffing; we are not able yet to offer all the good ideas

With regard to that third concern, "Growing our volunteer crew is vital; it's amazing the direct impact a dedicated group of volunteers can have," Asbjornsen remarked. "The volunteers and community support for SCH is what makes our Community Center shine. "With limited capacity and limited funding for our organization, the steadfast volunteers and community partnerships truly help all the magic happen. With the help of many hands, Sellwood Community House is able to serve more community members, bringing our mission and vision to fulfillment."

You can keep up to date on the developments at Sellwood Community Hosue via its Facebook and Instagram presence, and through weekly e-mailed newsletter. To sign up for that, and just to learn more, go online -- www.sellwoodcommunityhouse.org


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