Executive Director

Disability Rights Oregon | Portland, Oregon


Disability Rights Oregon (DRO) envisions a society in which persons with disabilities have equal opportunity, full participation, and the ability to exercise meaningful choice. The non-profit organization is seeking an Executive Director to lead the organization as it continues to improve the lives of Oregonians with disabilities. The position is located in Portland, Oregon.

About Disability Rights Oregon

For more than 40 years, the organization has served as Oregon’s officially designated Protection & Advocacy agency, working to promote and defend the rights of Oregonians with disabilities. The nonprofit seeks to transform systems, policies, and practices to give more Oregonians the opportunity to reach their full potential. DRO focuses on empowering people with disabilities with information and tools that they can use to uphold their civil rights, prioritizes issues that will impact the lives of the greatest number of Oregonians, and provides limited legal advice and representation. Through its federally-granted independent monitoring authority, DRO can go into places that other organizations can’t. The organization shines a light on the conditions in jails, prisons, and hospitals to protect the human rights of people with disabilities. We challenge deeply entrenched stereotypes about disabilities and people who experience them, and strive to undermine stigmas that prevent people from fully participating in community life. DRO’s funding comes primarily from the federal government through its function as one of 57 Protection & Advocacy agencies across the country. The organization receives additional financial support from the State of Oregon and private sources. With an annual budget of roughly $2.5 million, DRO consists of 25 staff members, including attorneys, advocates, intake specialists, administrators, and support personnel. DRO is a member of the National Disability Rights Network, the nonprofit membership organization for the Protection & Advocacy agencies and the Client Assistance Programs for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the U.S.

Job Summary

The Executive Director will communicate DRO’s understanding of the challenges faced by the Oregon Disability Community our community and expand DRO’s vision and ability to meet those challenges. Specifically, the Executive Director’s duties include policy and advocacy leadership for our community and staff, oversight of the organization’s administrative and human resources and financial operations, and building the organization’s public profile and funding base.


Essential Functions/Principal Accountabilities

  • Plan and organize advocacy services. Supervise development of annual goals and objectives for all programs and annual program performance reports.
  • Manage personnel activities including: hiring, training, assignment and evaluation of staff; compensations and benefits; staff development; organizational planning; personnel policies and procedures; and promotion or termination of staff as appropriate.
  • Direct development of annual budget and monitor agency financial operations.
  • Ensure overall agency compliance with all applicable federal and state laws, and funding source regulations and policies. o Monitor the activities of the state legislature and state and local agencies, and advocate for legal and civil rights of persons with disabilities.
  • Ensure the development of new program initiatives to meet identified service needs.
  • Ensure maintenance of proper personnel, financial and services records.
  • Regularly report to the Board and other appropriate agencies on the financial and program status of the agency.
  • Communicate the programs, policies and purpose of the agency to the public, governmental bodies and staff.
  • Promote and maintain effective working relationships with advocacy groups, government officials, and other persons directly or indirectly providing services to persons with disabilities.
  • Expand the resources of the agency through appropriate fund raising, grant writing, and seeking of attorney’s fees.
  • Maintain active membership in the National Disability Rights Network as well as other state and national professional and consumer organizations as appropriate. o Coordinate media relations. o Monitor developing laws and public policies which have an impact on the agency and persons served by the agency. o Provide testimony when needed on appropriate issues. o Oversee decisions about computer purchase, networking and training. o Conduct long-range and strategic planning activities to ensure that DRO has the personnel and funding it needs for its long-term success. o Performs other duties as required.

Supervisory Responsibilities

  • Directly supervises the Legal Director, the Chief Financial Officer and the Director of Operations.

Level of Authority

  • This position directly impacts the total functioning and success of Disability Rights Oregon and has total authority over the organization. This position has full management authority over all personnel and financial activities as supervised by the Board of Directors.


Required Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

  • Bachelor’s Degree.
  • Advanced Degree in Law, Public Administration or other relevant academic degree.
  • At least five years’ experience in law or advocacy.
  • Experience in a management position in an organization with comparable or larger budget.
  • Experience in the non-profit sector.
  • Understanding the role of advocacy for persons with disabilities in society.
  • Problem solving, planning and organizational skills.
  • Public relations skills, negotiation and political savvy.
  • Management skills and leadership abilities.
  • Legislative analysis and drafting skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate with and advocate for persons with disabilities. 
  • Seasoned human relations skills. 
  • Ability to work effectively and cooperatively within a team framework.
    Demonstrated experience working with and in diverse populations, which include race, nationality, gender, sexuality, and other social identities.


Desired Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

  • Grant writing and fund-raising experience.
  • Demonstrated expertise in the use of social media.
  • Energy and enthusiasm for policy and advocacy work. 
  • Integrity and fairness in working in a complex environment. 
  • Flexibility in dealing with staff issues, balancing the needs of the individual with the needs of the organization. 
  • Ability to listen well to a variety of perspectives, including board, staff, funders and outside stakeholders.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit a letter expressing, in detail, their interest in the position and the experience that they believe demonstrates their ability to contribute to the future of DRO and its client community. The letter should be accompanied by a current resume and names and contact information for three references.

Electronic submissions are preferred. Materials should be emailed to execrecruit@droregon.org

Mailed submissions will also be accepted.

Mail to: DRO Search Committee PO Box 1625 Portland, Oregon 97207

Applications will be accepted until Friday, July 20, 2018. [If you would like to submit your application in an alternate format, please contact us at jobs@droregon.org or 503-243-2081.]


For any questions regarding our process, please call Michael Bailey, Search Committee Chair, 503 504 0318. DRO offers a competitive salary and benefits package. DRO is an equal opportunity employer. DRO encourages candidates with disabilities, women, persons of color and others who represent distinct linguistic or cultural communities to apply.

Disability Rights Oregon