After an extensive search process over the previous few months, HBA CEO Dave Nielsen is pleased to announce the hiring of Ezra Hammer as HBA’s new Director of Policy and Government Relations. The process included interviews with a candidate review committee comprised of HBA member leaders, including Kelly Ritz, Jamie Stasny, Jamie Howsley, Drake Butsch, Desi Kurtz, and Andrew Tull. Ezra comes to the position with a strong background in land use and housing policy. He most recently worked as an attorney at one of Los Angeles’ premier land use law firms, where his clients included local, regional, national, and international development companies entitling and building in the Southern California region. Prior to this, Ezra was a Senior Planner for the District 11 member of the L.A. Council. L.A. Council members have oversight of land use and planning within their district. Ezra was responsible for guiding development projects through the entitlement process, working on affordable housing and transit-oriented development policies, working with city departments on policies and directives to streamline the development process, and mediating between community groups and project applicants to help achieve results that met developer and local neighborhood needs. Ezra also served as the Director of Government Affairs for the Building Industry Association of Los Angeles-Ventura Chapter, a prominent single-family and multi-family home builder trade organization. In this capacity, he worked closely with BIA’s leadership to develop and implement legislative strategies to reduce the cost of development and streamline the regulatory process. He also managed industry relations with local elected leaders and key staff, fundraised and managed PAC committee endorsements, and coordinated with other trade organizations to maximize the BIA’s impact on local and regional races. In addition, Ezra had a strong role in managing media relations on advocacy and policy issues for the BIA. In addition to his relevant work background, Ezra demonstrates a passion for housing through his volunteer work. He has served in an advisory position to several pro-housing state legislators and on the advisory committee of Abundant Housing Los Angeles, a grassroots community-driven pro-housing and pro-affordable-housing non-profit. He also served on his local development-related neighborhood group, which advises its local councilperson on housing-related policies and development projects. After several visits, Ezra and his wife realized Portland was a strong match for their values, interests and outdoor adventure hobbies, and they are thrilled join the Portland community. Ezra replaces Paul Grove, who left after almost four years of great service to HBA last October for another career opportunity.