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Local Oregon Action organizer says he was fired after 32 years

Rich Rohde known for his social justice work across the Rogue Valley
 Posted: 2:00 AM May 11, 2013

Longtime Oregon Action regional organizer Rich Rohde announced on his Facebook page Thursday that he had been fired after 32 years with the advocacy organization.

"I have been fired without notice or reasons today. ... This firing is totally unjust and totally against the professed principles of a social justice organization," Rohde posted to friends on his personal page.

Ron Williams, executive director of Portland-based Oregon Action, said Friday he couldn't comment on personnel issues except that Rohde's departure was part of bigger internal changes to foster growth in the organization.

"We're evaluating all of our programs, all our initiatives and all of our staff," said Williams.

"We set out for a new vision, new direction and new energy."

In an Oregon Action Facebook posting Thursday attributed to Williams, Rohde was lauded as a "valued, smart, courageous and dedicated organizer with great skill and vision."

"Rich has lent his skills and abilities to building a better Southern Oregon and building a strong Oregon Action contingent in Medford, Ashland and the surrounding communities," the posting said. It has since been taken down.

The posting did not say why Rohde was no longer working for Oregon Action, other than he and the organization had "parted ways after 32 years."

Rohde declined to be interviewed Friday, other than to say Williams' portrayal of his departure was "not really the truth."

Oregon Action is a nonprofit organization dedicated to tackling racial, social and economic injustice. It lobbies legislators, works with low-income people and establishes leadership programs that help community members to represent themselves.

Williams said Oregon Action is "teaching others to be leaders on their own behalf."

Williams said that assessments within the organization over time have led to a need for change to promote growth and development on a larger scale.

"We've been working on an organizer transition plan for Rogue Valley for a year and a half," said Williams. He also said that Rohde was a part of this planning.

Williams said he was not at liberty to discuss details of Rohde's departure, as employee and employer interactions are confidential.

"We value and cherish and respect him greatly," said Williams.

Shannon Houston is a Southern Oregon University intern. Reach her at shouston@mailtribune.com.


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