Animal welfare

Oregon animal welfare organizations to merge

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two of Oregon’s largest animal welfare organizations will merge this summer.

The Willamette Humane Society (WHS) and Oregon Humane Society (OHS) have announced plans to merge into a single organization with two locations, effective July 1.

“I’m very excited about what this change means for our community,” said BJ Andersen, CEO of WHS. “This collaboration will be fruitful thanks to our creative, talented and dedicated staff. When we all come together, we can do more than we could ever do alone.

The combined organization will operate as the Oregon Humane Society with two campuses, Portland and Salem. Integrating the two organizations will be an 18-24 month process.

Sharon Harmon will continue as President and CEO of OHS and two of the current WHS Board members will join the current OHS Board.

“The challenges of the past two years have accelerated the need to be innovative and find new ways to be financially viable in order to meet the needs of pets and people over the long term,” Harmon said.

“The alignment of our missions and the work we have already done together prepares us perfectly for this next step as WHS becomes part of OHS,” added Andersen. “I anticipate that we will have even more resources available to care for pets and serve our community.”

The decision to merge WHS into OHS was based on years of in-depth analysis, discussions among executives and approval by both boards. This model is an emerging animal welfare best practice that is being implemented by several prominent organizations across the country, including the San Diego Humane Society, Wisconsin Humane Society, Humane Rescue Alliance, and Washington Humane Society.

“Communities in the state’s two largest metropolitan areas will benefit from the combined experience of some of Oregon’s most skilled animal welfare professionals,” Harmon said.