Nancy Ward, Chip Bubl join other three commissioners at Port of Columbia County

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Commissioner Chip Bubl, right, sits with Commissioners Robert Keyser and Larry Ericksen at the July 10 Port of Columbia County commission meeting.The new commissioners for the Port of Columbia County took their positions earlier this week.

At the July 10 board meeting, new Commissioners Nancy Ward and Chip Bubl were sworn in.

Larry Ericksen also remains on the board after winning his reelection bid.

The commissioners also approved new positions for each member.

Ericksen, who was previously vice president, is now the commission president. Bubl is vice president. Chris Iverson, who was president, is now the second vice president. Robert Keyser is now treasurer, a position which was previously filled by Patrick Trapp. Nancy Ward, who won the election against Trapp, will serve as secretary.

The commissioners also began discussions about local committee assignments for the commissioners. The committees include city councils, economic development groups, environmental groups, and others. All commissioners are permitted to attend those meetings, but a specific commissioner is assigned as the liaison between the commission and each so-called committee. Commissioner assignments are primarily determined by the location of the group and where commissioners live.

The commissioners started the new terms with two resolutions, both of which passed unanimously.

The commission approved an amendment to the lease with U.S. Pipe Fabrication LLC, which gives U.S. Pipe a three-year extension effective July 1. The company's lease at Multnomah Industrial Park ended in June, but the lease included two five-year extension options. U.S. Pipe requested a lease extension, but asked to shorten the term to one year.

The company and the port agreed to a compromise of a three-year term, property and operations manager Craig Allison explained. Port staff told commissioners that the company is not currently considering leaving the port, but is proceeding cautiously with new upper level management in the company.

"There was a big turnover at their corporate level," Port Executive Director Doug Hayes explained.

In May, Ward and Bubl beat incumbents who ran for re-election. In the race for Position 1, Ward, a Scappoose resident, narrowly defeated former Port of Columbia County executive director and Commissioner Trapp.

Bubl, a Warren resident who runs the Oregon State University Extension Service in St. Helens, beat 16-year incumbent Mike Avent of Rainier by 20 percentage points for Position 2.

Ericksen ran uncontested.

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