The Oregon Historical Society is best known for looking back at events that may have happened 50, 100 or 150 years ago. OHS is a powerful and memorable storyteller about the people and events shaping the region.
But, the story of OHS’ own history during the last 18 months is best told by others, such as The Oregonian in an May 7 editorial. The historical society has made impressive strides forward, the paper noted, highly praising Jerry Hudson, outgoing president of the OHS board of trustees, and OHS’ new executive director, Kerry Tymchuk, formerly a Principal with CFM Strategic Communications.
Hard times had fallen on the historical society.
The editorial lamented: “At the beginning of 2010, the historical society seemed in desperate circumstances, deeply in debt, staggering to a point where its Park Blocks real estate seemed its main negotiable asset.”
It was January 2011 when Kerry left his position at CFM to become interim director at OHS, later permanently taking on the job. First Hudson set the wheels in motion resulting in Multnomah County voters approving a new revenue source for the nonprofit.
The rest, as they say, is history.
“Hudson recruited Kerry Tymchuk, former Sen. Gordon Smith's state director, to become executive director, and together they persuaded the 2011 Legislature to grant the society $2.5 million to pay off the mortgage on its Gresham warehouse” the editorial said.
A lot more got done.
“Attendance is up 29 percent, the library is again open daily, and it has drawn wider philanthropic support, including $2 million from the Fred Fields will. In January and February 2011, the society offered four programs; this year, the total was 24,” The Oregonian said.
“We thought Kerry was a great fit for OHS,” says CFM President Gary Conkling. “We are proud of Kerry and salute him for the work he’s done since leaving CFM.”