The Harbor, an advocacy group for victims of domestic and sexual violence in Clatsop County, has a new executive director.

Terri Steenbergen, an East Coast native with a background in political work and nonprofit management, has been on the job for only a few days. She arrives at a time when the organization is seeking to further stabilize and maintain programs after expanding services last year, said Mindy Stokes, the board chairwoman.

Terri Steenbergen joins the Harbor

Terri Steenbergen

Steenbergen has experience with gender-based violence and managing big budgets, Stokes said.

A hiring committee that included board members, a representative from law enforcement and a Harbor staff member “felt Terri was the most qualified to take the agency from here forward,” Stokes said, adding, “What struck me is that she is accessible and down to earth.”

“This is the kind of work I’ve been wanting to do for a while,” Steenbergen said. She has worked for Mercy Corps in Uganda and Portland, and managed a field program in Portland to encourage voter turnout to re-elect Gov. Kate Brown.

The Harbor has weathered several upheavals and changes in recent years, including four different directors since longtime director Pat Burness retired in 2012. Molly Pringle, the group’s most recent director, stepped down because of unexpected family circumstances in December, but left on good terms.

Hoping to stabilize core services, the organization also decided to close its unprofitable Deja Vu thrift store downtown and abandoned plans for an expensive remodel of the Van Dusen Building on Duane Street — now home to artists’ studios. The Harbor moved locations and is renting office space in the former Snow & Snow law firm, across the street from the Clatsop County Courthouse.

“I feel like The Harbor has done some good expansion in the last year,” Steenbergen said.

The organization secured grants to locate advocates in health care clinics and facilities in the region and to ensure staff are effectively including minority or other socially or culturally diverse groups in their outreach. The group is also in the process of reopening a secure shelter for women and families fleeing abuse.

“I think this year we want to make sure we’re really solidifying those grants and maintaining the work we’re doing,” Steenbergen said.

Katie Frankowicz is a reporter for The Daily Astorian. Contact her at 971-704-1723 or kfrankowicz@dailyastorian.com.

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