Max Williams, the moderate Republican legislator turned prison reformer, is resigning Dec. 31 as Oregon prison director to become president of the Oregon Community Foundation, reports the Oregonian. Williams, 48, said the chance to lead the foundation, which has $1 billion in assets, was too good to pass up.
The Portland-based foundation awarded $60 million in grants and scholarships last year in all corners of Oregon, the biggest share going to programs helping children and families. Williams will replace Greg Chaillé, who is retiring after 24 years as president. Williams took the prison job in 2004 and leaves as it faces yet more budget cuts. Williams, a lawyer, was elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1998. Prison system employees were wary of a politician coming in when Williams was appointed but soon learned he was a quick study who was earnest about running the vast agency.