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6/18/2014 9:58:00 AM
Blanchet House gets new director
Gregory Baker
Gregory Baker

The Blanchet House board of directors has appointed a former city manager as the charity’s new executive director.

Gregory Baker took the post in Portland’s Old Town May 1.

Blanchet House, founded in the Catholic Worker tradition in the 1950s, feeds hundreds of homeless and low-income Portlanders each day and offers housing for those who are getting life back together through employment,

“The Board was impressed with Greg's sincere passion for the Blanchet mission, his significant record as a leader and manager in diverse settings, and his understanding of the experiences of those on the streets — including the challenges of drug and alcohol addiction for individuals, families and communities,” says John McGuigan, president of the board.

Baker, a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Beaverton along with his family, began his 30-year career in social work in his hometown of Kansas City, Mo. He was director of Social Services for the Kansas City Housing Authority, responsible for transportation, home health aide and family counseling for 6,000 residents of public housing.

In Washington D.C., he worked to resettle thousands of refugees, including managing cash assistance, medical aid and a program for unaccompanied minors.

At the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Baker oversaw the creation of economic development programs including the International Visitors Council, Full Employment Council and Kansas City Minority Supplier Development Council.

He holds a masters in public administration from the University of Kansas and served as assistant city manager in Kansas City for seven years. In 2012, he relocated to Oregon with his family to serve as the City Manager of Damascus, where he was responsible for completing the city's comprehensive plan.

Baker is the former lay director of Christ Renews at St. Elizabeth Parish in Kansas City. He and wife Janet Baker have five children.

He is currently active on the Kiwanis Board and the Board of the Children's Center in Clackamas County.

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