Trail Blazers President Chris McGowan stepping down

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2021 – 2022 City Edition uniform on September 29, 2021. Bruce Ely / Trail Blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Trail Blazers announced President and Chief Executive Officer Chris McGowan is stepping down as drama stirs from within the franchise.

After being with the team for nearly a decade, McGowan is resigning amid the investigation into Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey. Dewayne Hankins, the organization’s former Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice President, will take over as President of Business Operations.

“I want to thank Paul Allen, Jody Allen and Bert Kolde for giving me the opportunity to lead this great organization over the past nine years,” McGowan said in a press release. “In addition, I want to thank our amazing staff for their tireless dedication to creating extraordinary moments at the Moda Center and in the community and thank our players who represent everything that is good about Portland.”

In a release posted to the Blazers’ website on Friday morning, the franchise commended the work McGowan has done over the past nine years and thanked him for all of his contributions.

“We are grateful for Chris’s contributions since joining the Trail Blazers nearly a decade ago,” said Jody Allen, chair of the Trail Blazers. “I appreciate his dedication to the organization and to our fans, and we wish him well in his next chapter.”

This news is the latest chapter in a series of dramatic developments surrounding the Blazers franchise — as Olshey is under an investigation commissioned by the team for alleged workplace misconduct. However, there is no mention of the investigation or of Olshey in the Blazers’ press release.

In a statement released last Saturday morning, the Trail Blazers said the organization had become aware of “concerns around workplace environment by non-player personnel at the practice facility.”

According to a report from Yahoo Sports, employees said there had been a hostile and toxic work environment, with staffers subjected to “intimidation and profanity-laced tirades.”

The team said it has hired a firm, O’Melveny & Myers, to conduct a “full, fair and independent review,” but it did not name Olshey.

“While we cannot comment on this pending matter, we are committed to continuing to build an organization that positively impacts our colleagues, communities and the world in which we live and play,” the Trail Blazers said in the statement.

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