An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Director of Washington Department of Commerce, Lisa Brown, stepping down

Lisa Brown, the director of the Washington State Department of Commerce
Lisa Brown, the director of the Washington State Department of Commerce

The director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, Lisa Brown, is stepping down.

Under Brown’s direction, the Department of Commerce awarded millions in grants aimed at reducing homelessness and increasing the supply of affordable housing. The agency was also a key player in moving people out of Camp Hope, the state’s largest homeless encampment. She’s also worked to promote equity by launching several programs that provide resources to business owners from marginalized backgrounds.

In a statement, Brown thanked those who served under her during her four-year tenure.

“I want to thank the dedicated Commerce employees partnering with local governments, businesses, and non-profits to foster good jobs, infrastructure and access to broadband, sustainability and resiliency, housing and community capital facilities, and support for families and businesses in every region of the state,” she said. “I am proud of our work over the last four years and confident that this team will continue to excel in equitable community and economic development.”

Before leading the Department of Commerce, Brown represented Spokane in the legislature for 20 years, and served as the senate majority leader. She also was the chancellor of Washington State University's Spokane campus and taught at both Gonzaga University and Eastern Washington University.

Brown has not said why she is stepping down or announced her future plans. Her last day in the role is March 3.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.