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OHRA promotes new director

Andy Atkinson / Ashland TidingsCass Sinclair

Cass Sinclair will become the new executive director for Options for Helping Residents of Ashland May 1. Michelle Arellano is transitioning out of the position to focus on her role as a minister at the Center for Spiritual Living and will retain a role as part-time development director with OHRA, according to a press release.

Sinclair, OHRA’s senior director of programs and services, joined the organization in 2019 as director of the winter shelter program. She previously worked as a community outreach educator and syringe program coordinator at Jackson County Public Health.

“To me, there is nothing more important than working with vulnerable members of our community to help them find a path from crisis to stability,” Sinclair said. “I love this work and am honored to be selected as OHRA’s new leader.”

Arellano said Sinclair’s promotion is “well deserved” and her leadership will help to maximize OHRA’s community impact from their new home base.

In February, OHRA received a $4.2 million grant from the Oregon Community Foundation through Oregon’s Project Turnkey — funding that allowed the organization to purchase a motel for conversion into The OHRA Center at 2350 Ashland St.

The shelter portion of the center opened in early April and the resource center is scheduled to relocate to the new site this fall.

“We are very fortunate to have Cass already in a leadership role and ready to assume the role of executive director. Michelle has been a terrific leader to OHRA, guiding us through a period of rapid growth and managing OHRA through the pandemic and all the complications that entails,” said OHRA board President Diane de Ryss. “I’ve seen a lot of leadership transitions in my career, and this one is notable because of its stability. This way we won’t miss a beat.”