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The City of Portland, Oregon

Office of Equity and Human Rights

Realizing Equity. Enhancing the City of Portland.

Phone: 503-823-4433

Fax: 503-823-4420

421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204

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Office of Equity and Human Rights Director Dante J. James resigns, Mayor Wheeler appoints Koffi Dessou as Interim Director

PORTLAND – Dante J. James, Director of The City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR), has announced his resignation. James is moving to Colorado to reunite with his family. His last day at the City is December 15, 2017.

James was hired as the first director of OEHR in March, 2012, and has led significant efforts to remove barriers in government for Portlanders of color and people with disabilities. Under his leadership, OEHR elevated the discussion and awareness of racial issues in the city, in order to reduce disparities.

“Dante’s work was instrumental in creating the budget equity tool and our plan to enhance equitable workforce development in city construction projects through our Community Equity and Inclusion Plan, which was unanimously adopted by City Council this year, among many accomplishments,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “His leadership at the helm of OEHR will be sorely missed.”

Mayor Wheeler has named OEHR Equity and Business Operations Manager, Koffi Dessou, as Interim Bureau Director. Dessou’s contributions to the City include creating the City's Equity Training and Education Program; co-designing and facilitating training sessions; providing technical support for bureau directors, equity committees and managers; and working with the City’s senior staff and Commissioners' offices on policy improvement, research design, program evaluation, and policy recommendations.

“I thank Dante for his leadership and am excited about this opportunity,” said Dessou. “We will continue to build momentum in our efforts to institutionalize equity in City government.”

Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights provides education and technical support to City staff and elected officials, leading to recognition and removal of systemic barriers to fair and just distribution of resources, access, and opportunity; starting with issues of race and disability.

For more information, please contact Jeff Selby at

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