Equality Community Center has hired Christopher O’Connor to manage its new Portland headquarters.
O’Connor, who will join the organization Feb. 14, is no stranger to Maine’s LGBTQ+ community; he has worked with Pride Portland! and on programs for the University of Southern Maine and EqualityMaine.
He will oversee renovation of the building at 15 Casco St. and support for new tenant organizations. In a prepared statement, O’Connor said he’s enthusiastic about joining the team and helping to bring the ECC project to fruition.
He said 15 Casco St. “is a place we can be proud of and has the potential to be developed into the hub that the greater Portland community needs and deserves.”
The former bank building, purchased last March, is being renovated to provide space for LGBTQ+ organizations and events, retail, and housing.
ECC Vice President Ophelia Hu Kinney said O’Connor’s deep roots in the community mean he doesn’t have to be brought up to speed on the project and what it means to Portland. She said he will be an “anchoring” and “welcoming” figure.
Hu Kinney said the new space is now being used on a limited basis for small events.
“There are so many dreams that are stuck in our volunteers’ minds right now that we wish we had the capacity to unveil,” she said. “So having Chris get acclimated is going to be a game-changer, I think, for the center.”