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.

Aaron Johnson, Assistant Director and IT

I try to keep things running smoothly and jump in where I am most needed. It is my goal to keep The Devereux Center up to date and look for way to make the most effective use of our resource using technology (including this website). When Tara is out of the office, I step in to keep the Center running and to take care of the day to day operations.

Barbara Stevenson, Navigator (Advocacy)

Barbara is currently working on our Navigator program. She is working on materials and strategies we will be using to train others as well as the program itself. When she is in the office she is continually “advocating” for clients and walking along side them through whatever issue they are tackling that day.

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.

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.

Denise Savage, 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!

Tiger (Leon), the Man Who Does Anything

Tiger does whatever is needed. He jumps in and helps out with anything that is happening on a given day. He is also an excellent fill-in when someone else is not available for the front desk. Tiger has been around the Devereux Center for years, making him a huge asset in many areas.

Nick, Front Desk

Nick works at the front desk where clients are checked in and called for showers.

Sean Riley, Web Administrator and IT Support

Sean manages and maintains this website and our social media presence on Facebook. He designs and contributes content to various desktop publications, such as flyers, newsletters, and in-house documentation. Sean also works with Aaron to meet the Center’s IT needs, keeping our computers running smoothly.

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.