Molly Turner rose from intern to executive director of the Pendleton Downtown Association in eight months, and a little more than a year after her ascension, she’s moving onto a new job.
The nonprofit announced Monday that Turner would depart at the end of August so she can take a position with Blue Mountain Community College.
In an interview, Turner said she was grateful for the opportunity offered by the association, but was “not the best for the current role,” suggesting someone with a background in business would offer a better fit for the position.
Turner said it was her decision to leave the association and she will assist with the transition, although she will not participate in the selection process for her replacement.
Bill Dochnahl, the association board’s director of marketing and communications, said the new job at BMCC — the early college connections coordinator — was a good opportunity to take.
The association also put out a press release that repeatedly praised Turner and her tenure with the nonprofit, a merchant organization dedicated to promoting and improving the downtown area.
The association credited Turner for coordinating events like the Pendleton Holiday Stroll and Pendleton Comes Alive, working with the Rivoli Restoration Coalition to secure a $100,000 grant, and continuing the hanging of flower baskets in the downtown core.
The organization also praised her for her work in convincing the city to establish a source of public funding for the downtown association.
Turner was heavily involved in the campaign, lobbying the council repeatedly at public meetings and rallying support among the association’s constituency.
The city eventually agreed to pay the association’s entire $55,000 operating budget in the first two years of the deal, before the city’s contribution decreases by 10 percent each year in years 3-5. After the fifth year, the association will continue to receive $25,000 per year indefinitely. The council does have the right to review the agreement in 2020, but a different director will need to convince the council that it needs to keep the money flowing.
Turner was originally hired by the association as an intern through the University of Oregon’s Resource Assistance for Rural Environments program and was promoted to lead the nonprofit full-time in 2017.
Instead of using a similar process, the association plans to conduct a statewide search to find Turner’s replacement.
If the association doesn’t find a new director by the end of the month, Dochnahl said President Fred Bradbury and the rest of the board will run day-to-day operations until a permanent successor is found.
Contact Antonio Sierra at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0836.