(Oregonian (Portland, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 09--The Washington County Museum has parted ways with its executive director, Sam Shogren, as the museum grapples with a steep decrease in revenues.
Shogren, who was hired in 2008, left the organization on June 20, said Betty Atteberry, board president of the Washington County Historical Society, the nonprofit that manages the museum.
Previous media reports said Shogren was fired. The Hillsboro Tribune reported last month that he was ousted after a 7-1 vote by the board of directors. After repeated requests for comment, Atteberry said Shogren left as part of "a mutual agreement in termination," noting that there are only seven members on the board. She declined to say what the board's vote was.
"Sam had done a great job bringing the museum to the Hillsboro Civic Center and expanding our exhibits," Atteberry said. "But there are some new things that the museum wanted to focus on, (such as) expanding our recognition in the community."
The board will soon start looking for a replacement, Atteberry said. She said Shogren had been selected after a national search. He previously worked for museums in Washington state and Maine.
As the Washington County Museum director, he oversaw its 2012 expansion from Portland Community College's Rock Creek campus to the Hillsboro Civic Center. He had also led a capital campaign to build an exhibit area. Current exhibits focus on the county's Native American heritage, the bracero program and the Silicon Forest, among others.
The fundraising campaign brought in the bulk of a $1.7 million budget in fiscal 2011-2012, but revenues decreased about 70 percent the following fiscal year. At the same time, expenses climbed about 50 percent, to $684,000.
Atteberry said fundraising just didn't go as well this past year, and though the museum's financial report contributed to the board's decision to part ways with Shogren, it wasn't the decisive factor.
Shogren will receive a severance package, pending board approval during its Thursday, July 10, meeting, Atteberry said.
-- Simina Mistreanu
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