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News Release
Bill Russell
Bill Russell
Bill Russell, Union Gospel Mission's Director of 30 Years to Retire (Photo) - 10/13/20

For Immediate Release                                                Contact: Courtney Dodds

October 13, 2020                                                         Cell: 971-275-2334


Bill Russell, Union Gospel Mission’s Director of 30 Years to Retire

Portland, Ore., - After nearly 30 years at Union Gospel Mission Bill Russell is retiring as Executive Director but he will remain on as Director Emeritus to help complete a capital campaign for a new LifeChange Center for women and children.

Russell started his career as a prosecuting attorney in Lewiston, Idaho. As he saw many individuals go through a hopeless cycle of prison and addiction, he developed a desire to help people struggling with addiction. Opportunity came when he met Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship in 1982 and became the organization’s regional director, overseeing programs in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

After leaving Prison Fellowship in 1989, Bill came to Union Gospel Mission as Program Director to establish LifeChange – a unique recovery community of UGM that utilizes responsibility-based recovery. He became the Executive Director in 1998. During the most recent 12 years under his leadership, LifeChange has served more than 1,000 men and women. Bill also championed the launch of UGM’s Search + Rescue in 2016 – a mobile outreach that visits homeless camps five days a week and provides follow-up counseling and transportation to those wanting to exit homelessness.

Bill has been recognized for his work in the community receiving the Call to Service Award, from the President of the United States in 2007. In 2018, Bill received the prestigious First Citizen Award given by the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors (PMAR). 

Succession planning has been in the works for many years. Bill will be turning over leadership of day-to-day operations to a new executive director. Bill will stay on at UGM in the role of director emeritus leading the effort to build a new home for LifeChange for Women and Their Children that will double the capacity of the current program.

“We honor and are grateful for Bill’s unique ability to build genuine relationships with those whom UGM serves, with those who volunteer, with our donors, and with other community leaders. This is a gift Bill has given UGM unselfishly for many years,” said Leslie Goss, UGM Board Chair.

UGM has started a national search for the next executive director.

About Union Gospel Mission: Union Gospel Mission’s purpose is “Feeding the hungry, restoring the addict and loving our neighbor.” Union Gospel Mission has been serving Portland since 1927. Union Gospel Mission provides meals and care for the homeless and operates LifeChange -- a transformative recovery program for men, women and children. Contact Union Gospel Mission at 503-274-4483, ugmportland.org or on social media @ugmpdx

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Attached Media Files: Bill Russell
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