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.

Denise Savage, Assistant Director and Receptionist

Denise answers phones, basic questions, directs clients to the correct staff member, organizes and sorts, and loves to find paperwork worthy of the recycling bin! When Tara is out of the office, Denise steps in as Assistant Director to keep the Center running smoothly.

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 and organizing the pantry. 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 oft arduous process of getting into permanent housing. She also never hesitates to jump in and help out in other areas without even being asked.

Frances Williams, Head Cook

Frances prepares and plans the meals, and finds the food to do it with. She oversees the volunteers helping serve lunch and picks up our allotment from the food bank. Frances is the heart behind all of our meals.

Mark MacPherson, Front Desk

Mark’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. Mark does our clients’ laundry, maintains the restrooms, organizes supplies for client showers, handles client mail, and just about anything else that is asked of him. He is an extraordinary asset.

Sean Riley, IT Coordinator

Sean handles the Devereux Center’s technology needs. He maintains the computers, monitors the network and phone system, and administrates our data collection software. In addition, he manages this website and our social media presence on Facebook. He designs and contributes content to various desktop publications, such as fliers, newsletters, and in-house documentation.

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

Melvin Tucker
Vice President
Retired, VA

Kerry Otey
Community Member

Octavia Kazaar-Shafer
Bank Manager

John Richardson

Dr. James Martin

Bill Niese
Attorney at Law

Dianne McCauley


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.