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Former Governor's Adviser Whitman Selected To Head Oregon DEQ


Richard Whitman, director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Richard Whitman, director of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Oregon DEQ

Richard Whitman, a former policy advisor to Oregon Governor Kate Brown, will remain director of Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.

The state’s five-member Environmental Quality Commission on Tuesday selected Whitman, who has been acting director since October, over Leanne Mosby of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. 

Whitman is the fourth person to serve as director of DEQ in less than a year. The agency has been searching for a permanent leader since Dick Pedersen resigned from the position in March, in the midst of a scandal over the agency’s handling of revelations about toxic emissions at several locations across Portland.

Before joining DEQ, Whitman had been a natural resources advisor in the governor’s office since 2011. A native of Boston, Whitman has lived on the West Coast since 1984. He worked as an environmental attorney before his first job advising on natural resources policy for Attorney General Hardy Meyers in 1996. He has also served as the director of Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development, where his work involved climate adaptation and the state’s urban growth boundary.

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