Irish Moss: grand opening

In partnership with Home First Development, PHC Northwest has developed another affordable housing complex without sacrificing aesthetics, safety or space. The new Irish Moss, at 14050 E. Burnside St., Portland, is a 27-unit complex, with large and roomy three-bedroom apartments of more than 1,000 square feet.

The grand opening of Irish Moss will be from 8:30 – 10 am, Friday, December 19 in its community center, 14050 E. Burnside St., Portland.

Charlie Hales, Portland mayor, and Deborah Kafoury, Multnomah County chair, will be on hand to address the significance of Irish Moss in their respective efforts to remediate Portland’s affordable housing shortage.

All are welcome to the grand opening. Light refreshments will be available. Please R.S.V.P. to Victoria Kearns, public relations coordinator, at 503-261-1266, ext. 187 or email

Ask Demiko

Demiko Cherry, PHCNW Recruitment Specialist

"Time is Valuable"

Whenever you apply for a job always remember the time of a recruiter or hiring manager is his or her greatest commodity.  It is imperative you write your resume in a manner that leaves no room for interpretation.

When you apply for a job, make sure to match up your skills and experience with the job description. You need to read the job description carefully and take the time to list all of  your skills and experience that match it.  You would be wise to think of your resume as a sculpture you are carefully constructing to display a masterful representation of your professional self.

Demiko's e-mail is:

Less is More

Job hunting advice from PHCNW's employment specialist and recruiter


by Demiko Cherry, PHCNW Recruitment Specialist

It's important to always be respectful of professional time. When you call a recruiter about an opportunity make sure to keep the conversation appropriate and timely. Avoid launching into your entire life story while you are trying to find out information about the application process. It is not a social call, it’s a professional one and it should be treated as such. Remember that the recruiter has multiple people calling them and multiple responses to give. Please keep in mind to ask pertinent questions about the position you are interest in and avoid in appropriate verbal joking. Also, avoid offering gifts or services to the recruiter; it will not bode well in the process. Remember everything that you are sharing that recruiter is analyzing and will like share with the hiring manager. Someone who doesn’t know where the professional line is drawn could be perceived as someone who may have trouble doing so on the job. All of these things are taken into consideration in a situation when making a hiring decision. Companies are often weighing risk, and in the world of business it is true that loose lips sink ships.

Cliff's Climb, "a win-win for a good cause"

Imagine mountain climbing in downtown Portland! That’s what Cliff Doran of PHC Northwest’s human resources department will be doing to benefit the American Lung Association’s “Fight for Air Climb” at 9 a.m., Sunday, January 26 at the U.S. Bancorp Tower, the second tallest building in Portland. He’s inviting financial support and endorsement of his effort by e-mail or facebook.

Doran plans to climb 160 storeys, estimated to be at least 2400 steps or a conservative 1 ¼ miles of steps.  The U.S. Bancorp Tower is 42 stories so he will be climbing, returning to the base, and climbing again, repeating until he has climbed his goal of 160 storeys.

“It’s something I enjoy doing but it also contributes to other people,” he said.

A rough rule of thumb in mountaineering is that “a fit climber” can ascend approximately 1000 feet per hour. That would mean Doran will be climbing for more than two hours. Just to get some perspective on this awesome feat,   the typical climb of Mount Hood is only double this at 5,000 feet. In short, Doran will be climbing approximately half the height of Mount Hood. But, the keywords in this assessment are “fit climber.”

Doran, who has been a Tae Kwon Do practitioner for 12 years and an instructor for more than seven, seems to meet those criteria. He has been training for the climb by running four miles every other day and climbing the 266 stairs at Mt. Tabor several times a week.

“I went climbing at Mt. Tabor where there are a lot of stairs last Sunday and yesterday (Wednesday),” he said, admitting this climb for the Lung Association is his first time participating in a charity event like this.

While Doran clearly loves the athletic challenge and has been active in other charity events, he has never done anything as rigorous as this stair climb. As most PHC Northwest employees, he shares a commitment to non-profit giving. This stair climb for the American Lung Association combines both his passions and takes it to a whole new level.

Regular online registration is $35 and there is a $100 minimum fundraising requirement per person to climb. Doran welcomes financial endorsement to meet that minimum. The American Lung Association likens the Fight for Air Climb to a “vertical foot race.” It’s a timed event that can be done by family members of all ages as well as the serious “elite” athletes. It claims stair climbing is easy on the joints and has lower impact compared to walking. It also burns twice the calories in less time than other training. To compare, 15 minutes of stair climbing equals 30 minutes of running, making it a total body workout which involves your legs, lungs, heart and upper body.

At the end of the day, Doran will be eligible for first, second or third place awards including top speed ranking. Times for everyone will be posted for all four circuit options.

Dee McCartney: “One Special Lady”


Dee McCartney, who has been PHC Northwest’s Manager of Human Resources & Risk Management for the past seven years, said good bye to her co-workers and friends at a retirement gathering last Friday.

“I’ve enjoyed working here and working with all of you. I’m really going to miss all of you,” she said, expressing gratitude especially to John Murphy. 

“She is smart and tough enough to handle the union negotiations we’ve been involved in,” John said, noting that Dee was always there, doing the tough work.

“She has the expertise, accountability and responsibility for that work,” he said, adding “This wasn’t easy work. I’m very grateful to her and am at a loss to move on. Thank you Dee.”

That sentiment is shared by PHC Northwest as a whole and especially by those who knew her best and worked with her the closest.

“She is one great HR manager and one special lady,” Terri Baker said. “We are really going to miss her.”


On to the next adventure

He was fresh out of college with a degree in network administration and eager to put his academic skills to work.

It was September 2012, when Thamer Khan came to PHC Northwest to work as an intern network engineer in the IT department. But the time has sped by and tomorrow, after a year of great work experience and many endearing work friendships, Thamer will head back out, more fully prepared for his next work adventure.

The internship gave him an opportunity to discover his own customer service skills along with tooling up even more on his computer and network building skills.

“I really like network administration; because it lets me work on things hands on and challenges me to solve the toughest problems, “he said, adding “I learned a lot here at PHC Northwest.  I learned our programs, how they’re structured and how things are run in a large company.  I also learned how to enhance my customer service skills because I treat everyone as a customer.”

He has also found a natural ability in responding to a fast turnaround network need, one which he knows he’ll need in the “real world.”

When one of the janitorial project managers had her laptop stolen from her truck, he had to quickly get her a replacement, configure it in the shortest amount of time, which he did.

“It usually takes about three days to configure a laptop, but she was in a real pinch.  I worked on it all day, and had it up and running in one day,” he said, adding that experience was one of many that taught him how to do his job well in a real life situation.

Among his top picks for his next work assignment, is to work for a privately owned company, financial institution, government or another non-profit such as PHC Northwest.

While he is excited about the next step of his career journey, he’s grateful to PHC Northwest for the opportunity to do on the job learning.

“It was an honor to work at PHC Northwest,” he said. “In addition to all the great people who work here, I am especially grateful to Raul Sangalang, director of information systems, because he saw something that stood out from the other applicants and gave me a chance, an opportunity to use my skills from college.  It was really exciting to put them to work.”

 PHC Northwest is grateful to Thamer for his hard work and friendly presence and wishes him much success. 

Saying Goodbye To Barb Lee

After 15 years, Barbara Lee, janitorial supervisor for the Bonneville Damn, is retiring.  She began working for PHC Northwest in 1999. She plans to spend more time with her aging mother and pursuing activities she’s kept on hold for too long, she said. She will be missed by many who have valued her upbeat work attitude and bubbly personality over the years.

“It won’t be Bonneville without you, Barb,” Gianni Xeros, project manager, said during her retirement party at PHC Northwest.

That sentiment was shared by others in the PHC Northwest community, who were on hand to celebrate with her. She will be missed for her hard work and positive attitude all of which have been greatly appreciated.


Interviewing 101: The Interviewer Is Always Right

By: Demiko Cherry

Interviewing is always challenging, but it becomes a conundrum when the person your are interviewing with has a different viewpoint than yourself. As much as you would like to express your point of view, the interview is not the place to do so. Here are some quick tips to help guide you through the interview and to remind you what's important:

1. Interviews are designed for candidates to share their experience, showcase their talents, and sell themselves. Candidates interested in a position should always concentrate on how they can best describe their skills and convince the interviewer why they are the best selection.

2. An interview is not the place to express your personal opinion or to take a political platform. If the interview does ask your opinion on a controversial matter, one should find the positives about that subject matter and expound on those aspects and then IMMEDIATELY vacate the conversation.

3. It’s your job not to get trapped into discussing anything that creates animosity in an interview. One common trap interviewees often find themselves trapped in is the pay discussion. If you have to talk about pay, try to do it closer to the negotiation stage. The interview really is not the place for that discussion unless the interviewer opens that door. You may discuss pay at that point carefully. If the amount of the position is already posted, and you wish to ask for more than that amount, make sure you are at the stage where you actually being seriously considered for the job. Ultimately, it’s important that pay is not the foremost concern.

4. Again, the interview is really just a discovery process for all parties. It’s not a forum for haggling over money, politics, or any other sensitive topic.

There you go! Some quick, snackable tips for you to try at your next interview. Good luck and remember - stay upbeat and positive!

Jeremy Barber, a PHC Employee, has been recognized by the Port of Portland PDX International Airport!

On Tuesday, a small crowd gathered at the Port of Portland PDX International Airport for a luncheon. This wasn't an ordinary luncheon however. It was also a chance to celebrate and award several people who work at the airport that have provided exceptional customer service over the last quarter. Honored with an award called the "PDX Make the Connection Champion" was one of PHC's own employees - Jeremy Barber. He was nominated for the award by one airport traveler who accidentally left his wallet in a men's restroom. The lucky traveler recounts what happened and the reason for Jeremy's nomination:

“One Sunday in April, I was traveling through PDX with three family members, plus my five-month-old grandson, when I stopped to use the restroom in bag claim. I washed my hands and took a couple of items out of my brief case in preparation to check in and exited the restroom to join the rest of my family. Within a couple of minutes, I realized I did not have my wallet, which contained a fair amount of cash and the rest of my day-to-day world! I hurried back down to the restroom to find a janitorial cart parked nearby, but no worker, and no wallet. Luckily, a Port Police Officer was passing by, so I stopped him and explained the situation. Using his radio, I heard him make an inquiry and a voice came back, “Ralph Graham?” WOW! In a minute my wallet - with everything included - was handed to me! I am forever grateful to Jeremy Barber, who found my wallet and did a very, very honest and right thing by turning it in! Please pass along my compliments to Jeremy, who really made this husband, father and granddad a very blessed person that Sunday evening.”

Congratulations to Jeremy for your well-deserved award!

The Connecting Communities Coalition’s Leadership Academy kicks off first class with inspiring talks by Mari Watanabe and Yvonne Chang

The Portland Alliance building on 200 SW Market Street was mostly deserted, with only a few employees of the various businesses locking up or heading out of the building. While most were headed out for the day, though, one of the conference rooms remained open. Slowly, students of the Connecting Communities Coalition’s new education program began to arrive. Sitting down in twos and threes at various tables, the students greet each other, talking excitedly about what they would learn in just a few minutes at the inaugural class of the Leadership Academy.

Officially kicked off on Tuesday, August 6th, the first class was led by two inspiring guest speakers – Mari Watanabe of the Portland Business Alliance and Yvonne Chang of Yvonne Chang Consulting. Speaking on the steps that each took to become a leader, as well as the challenges that they had to overcome to hone their leadership skills, each intertwined their experiences together to create an effective and powerful lecture for the fourteen students in attendance.

Upon completion of the lecture, the students were separated into groups and tasked with listing the stereotypes of people with disabilities, as well as stereotypes of leaders. The students came up with several examples for each, including that people with disabilities are viewed as slow and unable to be productive and that leaders must make tough calls. The lists were used as a jumping off point for a discussion on the best approaches to leadership and understanding community needs.

“I’m very excited to be here,” Says Samantha Richards, a student of the Leadership Academy, “I want to learn how to become better connected with my community.”

Next week’s class will feature a discussion on conflict resolution and communication. With guest speakers Bob Speltz and Jennifer Soulagnet from the Standard and Christina Albo from NW Resolutions, the class is expected to be an informative and invigorating class session. It will take place on August 13, 2013 from 6 – 8 pm at the Portland Alliance building.

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About Our Blog

Whether you're a job seeker with a disability seeking resources like our "Ask Demiko" column (follow @PHCNW_Careers), or an employer looking to diversify your workforce, this is the blog for you. Check back often for PHCNW news, helpful hints for job hunters, and the latest in disability employment.