Welcome Sarah Hansen!
To mark the first day of national Preservation Month (May 1), Greater Portland Landmarks’ Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Sarah Hansen as the organization’s next Executive Director. Sarah will start her post on June 17th to allow her to overlap with the long time outgoing executive director, Hilary Bassett, who retires on June 30th. Sarah joins the organization at an exciting and critical time for strong historic preservation advocacy in greater Portland as it faces unprecedented development pressure.
Jane Batzell, chair of the search committee said, “we are ecstatic that Sarah will be Landmark’s next leader. Throughout the interview process she shared an invigorating passion for preservation and community engagement that was infectious.”
Sarah comes to Greater Portland Landmarks (Landmarks) with a breadth of preservation and coalition-building experience at the local, state, and national level. After working in the field in Colorado, Washington, and Arkansas, including a stint at the National Trust for Historic Preservation Denver office, Sarah returned to her home state in 2017 to work at Maine Preservation. Sarah serves on several boards that reflect her leadership skills and commitment to historic preservation and community development including, Maine Downtown Center’s Main Street Advisory Board, The Economic Vitality Committee of Discover Downtown Westbrook, and the Maine Alliance for Smart Growth. Her new position will also mark a return to Landmarks for Sarah. Her preservation career started with a summer internship at the Portland Observatory in 2000 before she later went on to earn her master’s degree in Preservation Studies from Boston University.
Sarah says, “I am thrilled to be joining the incredible team at Landmarks and to build on the organization’s outstanding accomplishments. I am a big believer in creative collaboration and am looking forward to working with the greater Portland region to advance preservation-minded solutions to economic, environmental and community revitalization challenges.”
Sarah joins the organization at a busy time. Landmarks is in the midst of working with neighborhood stakeholders to advocate for a historic district designation on Munjoy Hill. On May 25th the Observatory opens for its 212th year with brand new exhibits designed to enhance the visitor experience. This summer, Landmarks will conduct Maine’s first historic preservation survey with a focus on climate change and sea-level rise.
Ed Gardner, Board President, said “Sarah’s diverse experience, foundation in preservation, and love of the region makes her an ideal candidate to lead Landmarks and preservation into its next chapter”.
When Hilary learned of the board's selection she was pleased, “I’ve known Sarah since she interned at Landmarks, and she is an excellent choice to lead Landmarks into the future. Her great energy for preservation along with a wealth of experience, are tremendous assets she brings to the organization.”
In 2018 Landmarks undertook a major strategic research project to understand how Landmarks’ work is viewed and to solicit ideas about how Landmarks can best serve its community. “With these timely insights and an innovative new leader, Landmarks is poised to adapt and grow as it leads the preservation movement in the region,” adds Ed.