PHOTO: Jessica Anderson.
BY DEBORAH MOON
Jessica Anderson, a 24-year-veteran of the FBI, is ready to be as effective as possible on day one when she becomes the Portland-area Director of Community Security on Feb. 21. She succeeds Gene Moss, who is moving into an expanded regional role with SCN, the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America.
Along with her law enforcement experience and connections, she has a deep connection with Portland, where she has lived since 2008, and with Jewish culture. When she retired from the FBI Feb. 8, she began attending trainings led by Moss and SCN nationally “to get a sneak peek at what people are receiving and to be a step ahead on the resources SCN can provide.”
“This feels like the perfect continuation of the work I have been doing,” she says, noting that for the past nine years, she has served as the Supervisory Special Agent, International Terrorism, FBI Portland. “In that position, I focused on incident response, community engagement, and education and mentorship.”
Her efforts to get to know the people in and engage with the Muslim community “so they’d know what we (FBI) do and why we do it,” led to her receiving the Friends of MET Award, in recognition of liaison with the Muslim Educational Trust, Tigard, in December 2019.
Her connection to Jewish culture and traditions are even deeper. The daughter of a Jewish mom and Methodist dad, she was raised Unitarian, but at home the family kept Jewish traditions and cultural activities. She calls Passover her favorite Jewish holiday.
“Passover is so family oriented, with the same deep traditions every year with the same people,” she says.
Her son has been co-president of the JSU at his high school and last year traveled to Israel with NCSY, an experience “he really enjoyed.”
In her new role, Anderson will coordinate with federal, state and local law enforcement, and nonprofit, public, private and other stakeholder organizations on community safety and security matters. In addition, she will serve as a liaison during crisis response and mitigation efforts.
This position is funded via a four-way partnership between SCN, the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, Oregon Jewish Community Foundation Endowment Fund and contributions from 17 different Jewish organizations across the region.
“The Jewish community is delighted to have Jessica join our team with her expertise in security and law enforcement,” says JFGP President and CEO Marc N. Blattner. “We look forward to working with her as we strive to keep our Jewish community safe.”
For more information, visit jewishportland.org/security.