Feb. 20, 2019 — The Oregon Coast Humane Society (OCHS) Board of Directors has selected Mark Curran to be the organization’s first executive director. Filling the director position addresses one of the few remaining operational changes the Oregon Department of Justice suggested were needed to assure proper management of OCHS during a departmental review conducted in 2017.
OCHS Board President Shauna Robbers said she is pleased with the experience Curran brings to the position and is glad to have completed the search for the organization’s full-time leader.
“OCHS is embarking on a bright fresh journey and we need an experienced, proven leader with new ideas and new perspectives,” Robbers said. “The entire board is excited to support this important step forward and we are confident that we have found the right person to guide our evolution.”
Curran started working at the OCHS in January and has moved to Florence to begin his work at the no-kill shelter. Importantly, he has previous experience in two areas that are central to maintaining a successful animal care team at OCHS: familiarity with a formal corporate structure and a love for animals.
His first priority, however, is to re-establish a solid, working relationship between the OCHS, its membership base and the larger Florence-area community.
“Animal rescue is my passion, and it is incredibly rewarding, but passion alone isn’t enough. We must also take a disciplined and professional approach to animal rescue,” Curran said.
Community members will have the opportunity to meet with Curran next week at OCHS’s yearly membership meeting, on Wednesday, Feb. 27, in the Bromley Room of the Siuslaw Public Library, 1460 Ninth St., from 5 to 8 p.m. At that time, people can also become an OCHS member or renew a lapsed or expiring membership.
Curran is a Brit who has spent time as a member of leadership teams at rescue facilities in Oregon and California before accepting the position at OCHS. His work has included management stints at the Wild Rivers Animal Rescue in Gold Beach and the Azaya Ranch Sanctuary in Novato, Calif., both organizations that operate in similar ways to OCHS.
He has also worked in the corporate world, most notably at Cisco and DHL, and he plans to bring the skillset he developed there to his duties as executive director.
One of those duties concerns improving the discourse between the organization and its local supporters.
Curran is aware of past tensions between OCHS board members and the public and he is determined to be responsive and transparent when implementing changes or new programs.
“We have two top priorities: one is to reach out to the community, members, volunteers, fosterers and donors to reengage supporters with the shelter and the animals. And, two, is to work on improving the physical shelter … upgrading some areas that have simply aged and creating an isolation/intake area so we can manage the flow of incoming animals,” he said.
Curran is confident the staff members currently in place at the OCHS shelter are dedicated to the animals under their care and believes the past controversies surrounding the organization’s treatment of its animals are a thing of the past.
“The staff here are all animal lovers that are doing the best they can, every day, to take the best care of the animals. This is a great team, that cares greatly about the animals here, and I am confident that the animals here are receiving the attention and care they need,” he said.
Curran has started on the development of a plan to improve the living spaces for the animals at OCHS and to create a more inviting and useful intake area for lost or abandoned animals.
In addition, the need to isolate strays from the general shelter population is another priority. A renovation of the entrance area to the facility is also high on his list of things to do.
Over the years, there have been some negative ramifications created by the hostilities between previous OCHS boards and OCHS members, at times resulting in shouting and eventually culminating in police presence at the organization’s board meetings.
Curran is determined those types of exchanges will not reoccur under his watch. He is also hopeful that disenchanted former OCHS members will attend next week’s meeting to talk with him and discuss any lingering concerns they may have.
“The key thing to get out is that we are working really hard to make the humane society the best it can be, and if anyone has any questions or concerns, they should contact me directly,” he said. “OCHS is doing great work and I am excited to be joining the team to expand and amplify our services in our community. I’m committed to this role and am excited to roll up my sleeves and get started.”
For more information about OCHS, visit www.oregoncoasthumanesociety.org.