A powerful Oregon government and private sector reform agent Lee Edward Moore Sr. died on February 27, 2021, just weeks away from his 75th birthday.
A key figure who has influenced the course of Oregon history, Lee has served as a turnaround expert for major institutions including the Oregon Bureau of Labor, Oregon Department of General Service, Tektronix and Precision. Castparts.
In recent years, Portland’s housing management agency Home Forward – formerly the Housing Authority of Portland – has named its new community facility at Stephens Creek Crossing in southwest Portland the Lee E. Moore Opportunity Center, commemorating his contributions to the city.
Lee described himself as “basically a retail guy who asks a lot of questions, likes to know how things work and are put together.”
He was born on March 11, 1946 in Portland, Oregon. He was the son of Audrey Brown, originally from Arkansas. He was raised by his mother and stepfather, Lonnie Dotsey, also from Arkansas.
Moore’s parents traveled to Oregon during WWII to work at the shipyard, where Lonnie was a real Rosie the Riveter. Lee was two years old when the Vanport flood destroyed the town. You can listen to his oral history on The Skanner website.
In this film from The Wake of Vanport, Lee Moore shares his experience as a child living in Vanport at the time of the flood. Columbia – the largest housing project in Oregon history. In 1951, Lee’s parents built a house in a white residential neighborhood in St. Johns, where Lee attended Peninsular Grade School – both the old and the new. He attended Roosevelt High School, where he was All State and All City in football, from which he graduated in 1965.
He then obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marylhurst University; a certification in construction and real estate development management from the New York University Executive Development Program; and a certification in contract negotiation and resolution from the Harvard University / MIT Executive Development Program.
Lee married his wife, Pamela Ane Moore, in Edmonton, Alta. On April 10, 1978. Her life goal was to achieve an optimal balance between family, community and career.
“This was the genesis of my volunteer work,” said Lee. “Family first, because they are my life.”
His hobbies and special interests were twofold: construction projects and community service. He enjoyed camping, biking and walking.
Lee led reorganizations, but started out as a law enforcement officer who implemented programs in public schools. Working as a Portland Police Officer assigned to schools in the north and northeast parts of the city, he built relationships with children and worked with school staff to protect students from activities gangs and drug sales. Lee has also worked with Multnomah County, Clackamas County, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Department on their student contacts. For his efforts, he received a Law Enforcement Executive Policy Criminal Justice Award.
As a senior executive, Lee then served as Director of the Civil Rights Division of the Oregon State Department of Labor, where he implemented new laws against gender discrimination and more. He later lectured at Portland Community College on civil rights laws in the workplace.
In the area of construction and management, Lee has served as director of construction for the State of Oregon; also Director of the Purchasing and Distribution Division and Director of the Capital Construction Division, both within the Oregon Department of General Services. In the latter position, Lee built beautiful public works and polished his reputation for being on time and avoiding cost overruns.
He led the development of the magnificent Sprague Fountain at the Capitol in Salem; the historic State of Oregon Executive Building, also in Salem; the modernist remodeling of the Eugene State Office Building; and the construction of the Portland State Office Building, famous for being “on time and on budget”.
In the private sector, Lee worked as an on-site operations manager for Tektronix, where he helped set up and manage the transition from manual electronics to automated electronics and developed new manufacturing facilities; responsible for organizational development for Titanium Group and Precision Castparts, where he was hired to help change the management culture.
Lee also served as the Acting Director of the Oregon State Liquor Control Board, tasked with achieving better alignment between the Hearings Unit and the rest of the organization, serving as an executive until when hiring a permanent director.
He was also the very first Deputy Director of the Oregon State Lottery, where he developed and managed the construction of a major new headquarters, helped build a more efficient management structure. and won awards for building a strong bond between the lottery and Asians, Hispanics and blacks. organizations.
While in the lottery, the governor’s office appointed Lee as a senior researcher at the American Leadership Forum. For a year, this statewide organization of senior executives trains a cross-section of business, nonprofit, and government leaders, to use their collected knowledge and experience to understand important issues affecting one another. others, then suggest possible solutions.
As the Managing Director and CEO of Clackamas River Water, Lee has guided a cultural shift to revamp the agency and tame its oversized board of directors.
In one of his most defining roles, Lee served on the Board of Directors of the Housing Authority of Portland for 12 years, including two years as chairman and one year as chairman emeritus. Its objective was to better align the mission of the Housing Office with the needs of the population. This placed Lee on the team that developed three award-winning “Hope 6” programs, which were affordable housing projects developed with federal government funds. In his work on affordable housing, Lee has ensured that the needs of tenants are considered in the design and development of each unit.
While chairman of the board in 2011, Lee was invited by Portland city commissioner Nick Fish, now deceased, to come and help with the historic Williams Avenue Bicycle project, “to calm the things, ”Lee said.
As a volunteer in his youth, Lee worked on the Model Cities program as part of the Law and Justice Committee, following the deconstruction of the Black Quarter along Williams and Mississippi Streets. He later also served on the board of directors of the Neighborhood House community center serving the Northwest neighborhoods.
“It’s the ability to make the complex simple,” he said.
“Most of the time, when I went to a place that was having difficulty, my job was to go to the organization to see how to make it work better. Get people to come together and work for a common goal, put their egos aside.
Other highlights of Lee’s career include working with Skanner News publisher Bernie Foster to create the Skanner Foundation scholarship program.
Bernie Foster has worked and collaborated with Moore for many years on community and municipal service projects, particularly the Skanner Foundation scholarship program, which Foster says Moore helped establish.
“This guy was a trailblazer,” Foster said. “And he was like, ‘Bernie, follow the money.'”
Foster recalled that Lee was instrumental in raising funds for the bronze statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that adorns the front of the Oregon Convention Center. While raising support for the statue, Lee also raised tens of thousands of dollars for local black students and others to attend universities, Foster says.
Foster shared stories about the racism Moore faced while working in the halls of government, but detailed times when Moore chose to forgive his colleagues instead of asking for punishment.
“He was a great person and he will be sadly missed,” said Foster.
Lee Moore Sr. is survived by his wife, Pamela, of Tigard, Oregon; daughter Erica Lynn Gray, of Los Angeles, California; son Lee Moore Jr., of Portland; daughter-in-law Sara C. Moore of Portland; and his pride and joy, his granddaughter, Audrey Willow Moore.