Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Former port commissioner Chris Iverson is expected to replace Larry Ericksen when he resigns next month.

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Chris Iverson listens to a speaker at a 2019 port meeting. Port of Columbia County commissioners plan to appoint Chris Iverson to fill the board position currently held by Larry Ericksen, who announced plans to move out of state earlier this month.

The port commission also had the option of soliciting applications for Ericksen's seat, but commissioners have instead decided to select someone outright.

Port Chair Nancy Ward said the decision to ask Iverson to return to the board was made because the port is particularly busy with projects like the Port Westward rezone approved by the county earlier this month and the NEXT Renewable Fuels biofuel facility, which is in the permitting stage.

"We have a really full plate right now. We have tremendous opportunities going on," Ward said. "We need to make sure that we can very smoothly transition into handling all the things that we're handling."

Ward said the decision to select Iverson outright "had nothing to do with the issue that came up yesterday," referring to executive director Doug Hayes' abrupt resignation.

Chris Iverson was a port commissioner for 12 years, or three terms, but did not run for re-election earlier this year.

"I've had a lot of different hats, and I'm just ready to let somebody else do it," Iverson said in March.

But after being approached by fellow port commissioners following news of Ericksen's plans to resign, Iverson decided he was willing to take on the position, he said.

"The big surprise is that he is willing to do this," said Ward.

If voted in by a majority of port commissioners, Iverson would serve through the end of June 2023.

A press release from the port stated that the board will take comment on the appointment before voting on who will finish Ericksen's term at the board's Oct. 13 meeting.

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