Spokane Journal of Business

Former HUD administrator joins Washington Trust Bank

Patterson to lead bank’s livability initiatives here

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Washington Trust Bank has hired former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regional administrator Chris Patterson to serve in its newly established role of community solutions adviser.

Patterson says that in this new role, he’ll work with the Washington Trust Charitable Foundation in developing resources for people experiencing homelessness in the Spokane area. Patterson also will collaborate with local businesses to form a coalition that will aim to address how the community focuses on livability issues.

Patterson says his position will look to provide solutions to issues associated with homelessness, including opioid addiction and mental health issues, both through Washington Trust’s philanthropic efforts and by bringing the private industry into conversations.

“The private industry has looked at things for a long time, and now Washington Trust believes ... it’s time for the private industry to really step up,” Patterson says. “We can’t leave it to just the public sector to solve. It has to be an all-hands-on-deck approach.”

Patterson most recently worked as a special adviser to Spokane Mayor Nadine Woodward. 

From 2019 to early 2021, Patterson worked under HUD Secretary Ben Carson overseeing Region IX, which includes California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, and U.S. territories and commonwealths in the Pacific Ocean.

Patterson, who grew up in the foster care system, is founder of Spokane-based BreakThrough Inc., an organization that serves people with autism or developmental disabilities by providing support and life skills training. 

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Virginia Thomas
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Reporter Virginia Thomas has worked at the Journal since 2017 and covers the health care industry. As a reporter, she loves learning about Spokane's many growing industries. She enjoys travelling with her husband, snuggling with her cats, and cross stitching.

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