Our People

Our staff and volunteers work tirelessly to keep the day-to-day operations of the Devereux Center running. Here are some of the friendly faces you may see at the Center.

Paid & Volunteer Staff

Tara Johnson, Director

Much of my career has been in public relations and administrative work. I lived in the Coos Bay area in the early 1990s and returned in 2013 from the Northern California coast. During my time as the director, my compassion and understanding of the mentally ill and homeless communities has deepened. The challenges that our clients face are amazing and at times very overwhelming. I admire their tenacity and desire to live.

Our clients are cold, hungry, and in need of support every day but we are only open to clients four days a week. This takes approximately $500/day to cover staff salaries, food, water, electric, natural gas bills and insurance. We offer laundry, showers, hot meals and navigator (advocacy) services each day. We also know that many of our clients appreciate the warm, dry place to hang out for the day. Daily, we help clients connect with our many community partners to allow assistance with health care, identification and housing.

Mel Ross, Administrative Assistant

Mel supports our director with bookkeeping, client support, mail, donation acknowledgement and helping our clients get birth certificates and ID’s. She works on other projects as needed and is always busy helping wherever she can. Mel’s cheerful attitude and friendly personality makes her a favorite with staff and clients alike.

Sandy Barton, Operations

When Sandy is not managing the People’s Place she takes care of day-to-day things at the Center, allowing Tara and the other staff answer client questions and assist with advocacy, write grants, and other seemingly endless paperwork. Sandy also coordinates volunteers, accepts donations, and works on projects such as preparing the warming center. She is also a wealth of information having gone through a period of homelessness with her daughter and two grandchildren.

Laura Fitouri, Housing Case Manager

Laura is in charge of our housing department. She works one-on-one with clients to help them through the often arduous process of getting into permanent housing. From helping with identification replacement to assistance with completing applications, Laura has assisted numerous clients find and retain housing.  She also never hesitates to jump in and help out in other areas without even being asked.

Travis Patterson,Front Desk

Travis’s primary job is working the front desk to check clients in and sign them up for daily services. In reality, he does so much more. Travis handles client mail, assists in the warming center, makes sure supplies are ready for the day and just about anything else that is asked of him. He is an extraordinary asset.

Joseph Johnson, IT Coordinator

Joseph handles the Devereux Center’s technology needs. He maintains the computers, monitors the network and phone system, supports the security cameras and administrates our data collection software. In addition, he manages this website and our social media presence on Facebook. 

Joel Johnson, Food Service Manager & Maintenance

Joel supervises the kitchen and helps with planning meals and managing the volunteers in the kitchen. He goes to the food bank and oversees our pantry. He also does many odd jobs as needed and does our maintenance and handyman work.


Board of Directors

The Devereux Center is overseen by a Board of Directors that meets monthly to discuses goals, plans and policy. Board members are not paid and serving on the board is purely voluntary.

Board Members

Jana Pickering

Bill Niese
Vice President
Attorney at Law

Marie Small
Coos Health and Wellness

Scott Cooper
Alternative Youth Activities  

John Richardson

Dr. James Martin

Board email address:  ndc.coosbay.board@gmail.com

If you are interested in being a part of the board or volunteering

please contact Tara Johnson at (541) 888-3202.

Our staff and volunteers work tirelessly to keep the day-to-day operations of the Devereux Center running. Here are some of the friendly faces you may see at the Center.