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PORTLAND-The Portland Development Commission had made two important hires this month. Lewis “Lew” Bowers has joined the Portland Development Commission (PDC) as Senior Development Manager and Martha “Marty” Schwab Harris has come on board as econimic development director.

Bowers, most recently the City of Eugene’s community development director, will be responsible for large-scale and complex redevelopment projects, district-wide planning and coordination with other City Bureaus and City Council. Bowers will have specific responsibilities for the management of PDC projects and programs in downtown Portland and will direct the work of PDC’s downtown target area team. He will report to PDC’s Development Director Abe Farkas.

While in Eugene, Bowers took a leadership role in creating a financing plan for a new downtown library, helped create a vision and themes for revitalizing the downtown area, created innovative mixed-use projects and helped site a new $70 million federal courthouse downtown. Prior to Eugene, Bowers worked as Director for the Office of Economic Development in New Haven, Connecticut. There, he facilitated over $80 million in small business financing for over 100 firms – creating or retaining over 3,000 jobs – and started an innovative public equity investment program.

Harris, most recently a VP of Mortgage Banking at Centura Bank in Rocky Mount North Carolina, will be responsible for the agency’s economic development strategic planning and program implementation. She succeeds Robin Roberts, who recently accepted a state position as Governor’s Community Solutions Coordinator for the Portland region.

Prior to Centura Bank, Harris from 1986 to 1993 served as the Executive Director of the Delaware Housing Authority in Dover, Delaware. She also served as a Senior Financial Analyst at E.I du Pont de Nemours and Company, Inc. in Wilmington, Delaware.

Along with the new hires, the PDC also promoted a couple of individuals.

Bob Alexander, who has been serving as the interim Economic Development Department Director since Robert’s departure in September, has been promoted to the position of Senior Economic Development Manager. Alexander will focus on implementation of economic development strategies in the city’s 10 urban renewal areas. He previously served as manager for the Airport Way urban renewal area and was instrumental along with public and private partners in development of the Cascade Station and Airport MAX projects.

Mike Ogan, formerly an Economic Development Manager with PDC, has also been promoted to Senior Economic Development Manager. Ogan will focus on city-wide and regional economic development activities, continuing his work on business recruitment and retention and development of the city’s economic development strategy.

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