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Nancy Gibson, chair of local water-services district, moving to Arizona after losing home in fire

Jennings Lodge resident Nancy Gibson, chair of Oak Lodge Water Services District, is resigning from the district board to live closer to her 94-year-old mother in Arizona.

Nancy GibsonGibson and her husband had suffered the complete loss of their house in an October 2018 fire and had been planning to rebuild their home here. But they ended up deciding to move to Clarkdale, Arizona, which has a mild climate due to its high elevation, and is only about a 90-minute drive from Gibson's mother.

"My mom is absolutely over-the-moon happy about us moving, and she hasn't been happy about anything since my dad died two-and-a-half years ago, and that's priceless," Gibson said.

With change being the only constant in the universe, Gibson is fond of saying that people have only two choices: to resist changes, or be open to tough changes potentially leading to the best possible outcome. She said that things she's pushed for Oak Lodge over the years bode well for her own personal tough change in moving to Arizona.

"We know that we've left the area in a better place, and we'll still be watching Oak Lodge," Gibson said. "Along the way were a lot of good things for this community."

Gibson and her husband, Terry, had lived for decades in Oak Lodge. During that time they've been instumental in advocating for the consolidation of the water and sewer districts, among other efforts.

Kevin Williams, vice president of Oak Lodge Water, said Gibson "has always been there to serve this community" and wished her well in future endeavors on behalf of the district.

"We are always poorer when we lose dedicated people like Nancy," Williams said. "Her knowledge of water provision and delivery to customers has helped with cost containment and has helped immensely with the consolidation efforts."

Gibson submitted a letter "with great sadness" to resign effective May 19 as the top elected official for the utility district with a $47 million annual budget providing drinking water, sewer service and watershed protection for about 30,000 people in Oak Grove and Jennings Lodge.

"My service to our community has been a true priviledge," Gibson wrote to Sarah Jo Chaplen, the district's general manager.

Chaplen said for years the Gibsons have illustrated a passion for their community, the environment, local preservation and improvement.

"Nancy and Terry were instrumental in the formation of the Boardman Wetland Complex project now under construction," Chaplen said. "As residents, business owners and volunteers, they have helped advocate for the local community and the environment we all live in. Their voices and commitment to the area will be missed."

Gibson served as both an alternate and a member of the Oak Lodge Sanitary Budget Committee from 2013 to 2016. After the consolidation of the Oak Lodge sanitary and water districts in 2017, she joined the newly formed Oak Lodge Water Services District Board and served as president of the board in 2018. She was president of the North Clackamas County Water Commission and has been active with the executive board of the Clackamas County Coordinating Committee.

Terry Gibson served on the Oak Lodge Sanitary Budget Committee starting in 2011 and joined the Oak Lodge Sanitary Board of Directors in 2013. When the districts consolidated, Terry served as an alternate on the Oak Lodge Water Services District Budget committee and attended board meetings regularly. As a representative of the Jennings Lodge Community Planning Organization, he has been an active member of the McLoughlin Area Plan-Implementation Team (MAP-IT) and successfully advocated for street lighting.

In resigning as co-chair of MAP-IT effective May 20, he wrote, "I leave this community blessed with the experience and skills learned from serving it over the last 20 years and move forward to a new community that has all the same issues that this Team has faced together over the years here."

As reported in an October 2018 news article about the blaze, the Gibsons lost their two cars, sailboat and 1,242-square-foot house at 5884 S.E. Jennings Ave. The cause of the fire remains a mystery to Clackamas Fire investigators.

Deputy Fire Marshal Shawn Olson concluded that the fire started in the home's driveway, but was unable to determine a cause of the fire.

"There was no competent ignition source identified during the layering of the fire debris," Olson wrote in a final report.

PHOTO BY: RAYMOND RENDLEMAN - By the morning of Oct. 17, Nancy and Terry Gibson's house  was destroyed by the fire.

Board vacancy

Oak Lodge Water Services seeks "knowledgeable, interested and informed candidates" to fill the position vacated by Nancy Gibson. This position will be appointed by the remaining four board member for the remaining two years of Gibson's term through June 30, 2020, after which the position will be filled by the winner of the May 2020 election. Eligible candidates must be registered to vote in the district. For more information and to fill out an application, visit oaklodgewaterservices.org/bc.


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