Vanessa Nordyke

Salem city councilor Vanessa Nordyke announced Tuesday she is the new executive director of CASA of Marion County.

She will remain serving on the city council, which is a volunteer, unpaid position, but left her position as an assistant attorney general with the Oregon Department of Justice after 14 years.

Nordyke said in her position with the DOJ, she handled hundreds of cases involving child sex abuse and domestic violence.

“Those cases had a huge, life-changing impact on how I saw the world,” Nordyke said. “Abuse and trauma are much more common than people realize. There is a huge need for advocating for kids.”

She said she felt compelled to apply for the position after the departure of the previous executive director, Shaney Starr, who accepted a position with the national nonprofit leading Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children.

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