Commissioners cite slew of comments from public on who to appoint to vacant seat

After interviewing three candidates for the vacant port commissioner position last Friday, commissioners delayed a vote on appointing anyone to the seat the following Wednesday.

The port has since scheduled a meeting for Monday, Aug. 13, at 8:30 a.m. with the purpose to fill the vacant seat.

During a meeting Wednesday, Aug. 8, commissioners with the unofficially renamed Port of Columbia County opted to table any decision making on who to appoint, noting the absence of Commissioner Robert Keyser, who needed time to review the record of comments received from the public.

The Friday prior, commissioners interviewed Patrick Trapp, Natasha Parvey-Leskowich and Paul Pulliam for the position.

Trapp, Parvey-Leskowich, and Pulliam were selected as the final three applicants for consideration from a list of nine applicants by a citizen advisory committee appointed by port staff and commissioners.

When the seat became vacant in early July, port staff said the goal was to have someone appointed to the board by the end of August.

Of the three candidates, two have previously served the port.

Pulliam previously served as a port commissioner and Trapp served as executive director of the agency until last year, when he retired.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Port commissioners listen to feedback from county residents Wednesday, Aug. 8 on who should be appointed to fill a vacant seat on the port board. Trapp's selection to the short list of candidates has proven somewhat controversial.

Port commissioners heard from residents Wednesday, urging them not to appoint current executive director Doug Hayes's predecessor to the board.

"I notice as I look up here that there is a lack of diversity," Brady Preheim told the three men in front of him. "Natasha [Parvey-Leskowich] is the only one who can bring that diversity to your board."

Nancy Ward of Scappoose also urged the board to consider a different candidate.

Despite opposition, Trapp also garnered support from at least three residents, including a retired marina advisory committee member and Alta Lynch of Scappoose.

"He knows the port and he knows the rules," Lynch said of Trapp.

Commissioners noted they received heavy input from the public on the appointment.

"We have three candidates that are all good candidates," Chairman Chris Iverson said Wednesday. "What I do appreciate is the fact that we had so much input. I frankly got comments for and against every candidate that's applied."

If appointed to the seat, Trapp said he'd consider running for election to retain the position.

"I'm still invested in the area," Trapp said after Wednesday's meeting. "I'm not going to run for the sake of running. If I were appointed, I think it would make sense to try to carry on in that position."

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